If you were to ask me for one food that’s delicious, filling, nutritious and versatile enough for various cuisines, I’d have to say chickpeas! Seriously, with some soaking and pressure cooking, you’ll have with you something that you can turn into curry, puree, hummus, salad or anything else.
Chickpeas are among the world’s earliest cultivated foods. Chickpeas are high in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals (calcium, potassium, molybdenum, phosphorous, iron, zinc, magnesium). They are a very good source of protein, carbohydrates and fiber and have zero cholesterol. The buttery texture and nutty taste make chickpeas among the most popular vegan sources of protein.
Nutritional Benefits of Chickpeas
- Helps babies grow well and reach their milestones on time
- Promotes proper brain development
- Helps to improve digestion
- Prevents constipation
- Lowers bad cholesterol
- Encourages proper absorption of nutrients
- Prevents heart disease
- Strengthens bones and muscles
- Prevents anemia
- Strengthens the immune system
Can I give my Baby Chickpeas?
Chickpeas are an excellent source of protein and other nutrients which are crucial for baby’s healthy growth and development. Chickpeas can be introduced to babies between the age of 8-10 months, as introducing earlier may cause gas in some babies. If there is no history of allergies and you are sure your baby can handle it, you can try introducing it after 6 months. It’s important to follow the 3-day rule and start with a very small amount of cooked and mashed chickpeas.
Soak the chickpeas in water for 8 to 10 hours before cooking for best results. Avoid giving raw chickpeas as it can be poisonous, hard to digest and can cause a choking hazard. The protein in chickpeas is similar to soy protein, so it might trigger allergies. Take the baby to the doctor if any of the allergic symptoms appear:
- Headaches and migraines
- IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Tiredness/ Fatigue
- Itchy skin
- Runny nose
- Difficult breathing
- Tiredness and fatigue
Varieties of Chickpeas
1. Desi Chickpeas – Desi chickpeas are darker and smaller, with a rough exterior and yellow interior.
2. Kabuli Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) – These are the most common variety, larger and lighter with a smooth exterior.
3. Black Chickpeas (Bengal Gram): These are smaller in size, are dark in color and denser.
4. Green Chickpeas: These are fresh, tender and sweet like green peas and not as common as other varieties.
5. Chana Dal: Chana dal are made when desi chickpeas are hulled and split, and look like yellow split lentils.
6. Chickpea Shoots: Chickpeas when kept in a humid environment and sprout shoots, also called microgreens.
7. Chickpea flour: Chickpea flour is also known as besan or chana ka atta and is a lightweight flour.
Choosing and Storing Chickpeas
Chickpeas are available in markets either dried or canned. Either kind is healthy, since chickpeas don’t lose their nutrients when canned. Make sure to rinse and drain the chickpeas well before use, to wash away the sodium and the canned taste.
While buying dried chickpeas, take care that they are whole and unblemished, stored in a covered pack with no moisture damage. Dried chickpeas stay good in airtight containers kept in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months. Cooked chickpeas can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to three days.
Chickpeas are gluten free but if you are buying chickpea flour, be careful since most milled flours share the same equipment and the chickpea flour can be contaminated with glutinous flours.
Chickpeas Recipes for Babies and Kids
2. Spinach and Chickpea Puree from The Crib
3. Fruity Chickpea Puree from Homemade Baby Food Recipes
4. Chickpea Patties for Babies from Simple Bites
7. Chickpea Nuggets from My Plant Based Family
8. Chickpea Oat Crackers from My Kids Lick the Bowl
9. Baked Chickpea Snack Sticks from The Belly Rules the Mind
10. Chickpea Salad from Ruchi’s Kitchen
11. Child Friendly Hummus from My Fussy Eater
12. Veggie Chickpea Sticks from Healthy Little Foodies
13. Chickpea and Mint Waffles from Tarla Dalal
14. Chickpeas and Turmeric Rice from Oh My Veggies
15. Chickpea Banana and Chocolate Slices from My Kids Lick the Bowl
16. Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies from Organic Life with Kids