Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Alien Ingredient #15: Fresh Green Chickpeas

I reckon my body is probably 50% chickpeas, so many do I eat. Chickpeas are no doubt my primary protein source and one of my favorite foods. I've never seen a chickpea plant or pod before, though I have seen pictures. That is, never until just recently when I saw a bunch of green ones in the pods at the market.

I assumed that like the other green shell-on legumes with which I am familiar, green peanuts and green soybeans (edamame), green chickpeas would be very good to eat out of hand after just shelling them. And I was right. They are delicious with a nutty vegetal flavor that reminds me of raw Kuta squash. They remind me slightly of raw green peas and the nuttiness also conjures slightly underripe avocado. I also tried boiling them like peanuts or edamame in salted water and they were equally delicious. Finally, I tossed half the remainder into fried rice and half into an ersatz risotto. Delicious!

Vote: yum, yum, yum!


  1. Ed, Deirdre & Phil of Harvest Thyme Herb Farm grow chickpeas. I know they are too far for regular deliveries to the restaurant, but I am just saying....

  2. Who knew? Obviously you did! We have lamented often that we did not live closer. I'll probably try growing some this year in my little garden.

  3. Wow! Sylvie, thank you for the referral.


    We have indeed grown these little gems and from a farmer's standpoint they are worth whatever you paid for them at market. The plants are lovely, with gray- green, downy, bi-pinnate leaves on bushy stems and small white flowers. The leaves have the unique ability to combat drought by drawing moisture from the air and so they are always damp even on hot, dry days. Young shoots are edible too, with a lemony flavor. But the green garbanzos ripen stepwise on the plants, not all at once, and their small staure makes harvesting the whole plant at once the only feasible option when you have a large planting. We heap the plants on our picnic tables and harvest the ripe, green, swollen pods, sacrificing some of the smaller unripe pods. Once the pods have started to turn a dull yellow (which happens quickly!) the beans are too hard for fresh eating and should be left to dry on the plants. Definitely a labor of love! Seed can be found at Seeds of Italy, We plant them at the same time we plant peas, which will be in the next week or so. Can't wait to hear how they grow for you!

  4. Deirdre, thanks for the tips. Who knew?