They serve so many purposes for me. As a single person cooking for one, I like that I am able to work one can into several, completely different meals. I always rinse and drain the chickpeas before use. Here are a few of my favorite uses:
1. Soup: Chickpeas go great in soups, both broth-based and pureed, and go particularly well with sweet potatoes and butternut squash, (add chickpeas near the end of cook time).
2. Green Salad: Toss in with mixed greens, sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, crispy prosciutto, and a basil vinaigrette.
3. Salad (good for lunch to-go): Toss in with pearl barley, golden raisins, toasted almonds, green onion, and a red wine vinaigrette.
4. Pasta: Sauté the chickpeas with garlic, red onion and spinach, toss with farfalle and a simple brown butter sauce.
5. Braised Meats: Add to a slow-cooker meal with lamb, onion, tomatoes, curry, warm spices, and dried apricots.
In short, the possibilities are endless. These are just a few of my personal favorites, but you can find plenty of recipes containing chickpeas, such as Chickpeas with Spinach recipe (pictured), on MyRecipes.com.