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Pantry Must-Have: Chickpeas

I aspire to be a person who always uses dried beans rather than canned, but I’m just not always that organized.  I’ll keep working towards this goal; in the meantime, I always buy canned chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans).  When they’re on sale, I stock up. 

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.