Curious Origins of Chickpeas

Bag of chickpea puffs in a tote

 

Chickpeas have risen in popularity recently, due to their great taste, versatile usage, and health benefits. Despite the timing of chickpeas’ recent surge in relevance, they actually have a long and storied history. For thousands of years, they’ve been used in a variety of international dishes including the popular dip hummus. Today, they’re found in the cuisines of countries including India, Turkey, Italy, and Portugal, just to name a few. In Whole Foods’ 2021 trend report, the business even calls chickpeas the new cauliflower.


While chickpeas are here to stay as a mainstream snack and ingredient, what are the origins of these delicious beans?

The Origins of Chickpeas


The origin of chickpeas dates back to around 9000 BC. Found in modern-day Turkey, these legumes quickly spread to the rest of the Middle East. From there, their popularity spread across Europe and Asia. Thousands of years later chickpeas are still commonly enjoyed in many staple dishes like Chana Masala, falafel, and chickpea bread. The diet of ancient Romans included chickpeas, where they were eaten to improve energy and strength. 


Their history includes more uses than just food, however. Chickpeas were also used for medicinal purposes to treat high blood pressure and diabetes. During World War I, chickpeas in Turkey were even made to make coffee! Today, the top producers of chickpeas are India and Australia.


Classic chickpea dishes are still popular today. To make a classic falafel, just mix crushed dry chickpeas (you can even use our Sea Salt Roasted Chickpeas) with garlic, onion, herbs, and spices into balls or patties, fry them, and enjoy! 

Modern Uses for Chickpeas


In more recent years, these tasty legumes have also been used for salad toppings, soup bases, and delicious vegan snacks. In addition to being great on their own or as an ingredient, they’ve also played an important role in vegan cooking. Aquafaba, or the liquid found in canned chickpeas, has become common as an egg substitute. Aquafaba can be whipped into a foam to replace eggs found in many baking recipes. Chickpea flour is also seeing a surge in popularity and can be used to make baked goods, vegan meals, and more.

Bowl of salad with chickpeas on top

 

Chickpeas have become standard inclusions in modern curry recipes and it’s easy to see why. Create your own chickpea curry by combining them with coconut milk, vegetable stock, and spices.

bowl of chickpea curry

 

Biena creates tasty and convenient chickpea snacks in eight different flavors. Whether you’re a chickpea aficionado or this is your first time, you’ll enjoy the great-tasting and protein-packed snacks!  Shop our products today or use our store locator to find them being sold near you.