Chickpea Flour: An In-Depth Look at This Popular Gluten Free Flour
All gluten free flours are not created equal. Some have a neutral flavor and light texture that makes them a perfect 1-to-1 substitute for wheat flour while others require more specific applications. If you’re tired of dull, flavorless gluten free flours it’s time you tried chickpea flour.
You shouldn’t be surprised to learn that chickpea flour is made from chickpeas. That’s it! Because chickpeas are naturally gluten free – not to mention rich in protein and fiber – chickpea flour is too.
Learn more about chickpea flour and how to incorporate it into delicious gluten free recipes…
What is Chickpea Flour?
Chickpea flour is known as garam flour or garbanzo bean flour and it is made by grinding dried chickpeas. A staple in Indian and Pakistani cuisine, chickpea flour is commonly found in Asian and Middle Eastern groceries, but you can also make it yourself at home with a spice grinder or coffee grinder.
Chickpea flour is one of the most nutritious gluten free flours out there and also one of the most versatile. It has a fine texture and nutty flavor that make it a hit for baked goods – it also works wonders as a binder in dishes that need a little bit of stability, like fritters or veggie burgers. Its light texture also makes it a great choice for gluten free batter to make homemade fried foods.
Commercially prepared chickpea flour is made from finely milled chickpeas. If you choose to make it at home, you’ll want to start with dried chickpeas and roast them for a few minutes to develop the flavor. From there, you simply grind them in a food processor into a powdery flour then sift out the larger granules and grind what’s left in a spice grinder or coffee grinder.
Not only is chickpea flour easy to make, but it contains plenty of healthy nutrients. High in fiber and protein, chickpea flour also contains the following nutrients:
- Folate (vitamin B9)
- Niacin (vitamin B3)
Per 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces), chickpea flour contains about 387 calories. A serving this size contains 57 grams carbohydrate, 22 grams protein, 10 grams fiber, and just 6 grams fat. It is higher in fiber and protein than most other flours and has the added benefit of being completely gluten free.
Tips for Cooking and Baking with Chickpea Flour
The thing to remember about chickpea flour is that it is naturally dense. It also has a stickier texture than wheat-based all-purpose flour when you add it to liquid. As a result, it works well as a binder in recipes to replace heavy flours like rye or teff – use it in a 1:1 ratio. Though its texture is dense, however, chickpea flour makes a very light batter, making it great for everything from waffles to tempura. It also makes a great thickener for soups and sauces.
Here are some simple tips for cooking and baking with chickpea flour:
- Make a quick chickpea flour batter by whisking 1 cup of chickpea flour into ¾ cup of water with a pinch of salt – use for pancakes, crepes, or wraps.
- Add chickpea flour to recipes that use multiple types of flour to add a unique depth of flavor.
- Chickpea flour can be used as the only flour in many gluten free recipes but is particularly good for one-bowl or blender recipes for muffins and quick breads.
- Because it is stickier than all-purpose flour, chickpea flour makes a great choice for crackers, muffins, and fritters – anything that needs a light, airy texture.
- Avoid using chickpea flour in recipes that require a lot of rise like flaky pastries or fresh pasta – it’s a little bit too dense and heavy for these applications.
- Add a little chickpea flour to your veggie burger mixes to add a little extra protein and to bind the ingredients together.
In addition to working well as a replacement for gluten-containing flours in some recipes, adding chickpea flour is also a great way to increase the protein and fiber content of your recipe. Try it in homemade protein bars or breakfast bread to add a boost to your morning meal.
Gluten Free Recipes Using Chickpea Flour
Now that you have a better idea of what chickpea flour can and can’t do, you’re ready to try it for yourself! Whether you’re craving a hearty breakfast burrito or some crispy fritters, chickpea flour is the one you want. Read on to see some tasty recipes featuring chickpea flour:
1. Savory Chickpea Waffles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ½ cup thinly sliced onion
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ¾ pound diced tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- ¾ cup chickpea flour
- ¾ cup low-fat milk (or non-dairy milk)
- 1 ½ ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 large egg, separated
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onions, garlic, and thyme and cook for 3 minutes until the onions are tender.
- Stir in the wine and tomatoes then season with salt and pepper.
- Simmer for 5 minutes or until the liquid reduces by half.
- In a large bowl, whisk the chickpea flour together with the milk, the remaining oil, the cheese, and egg yolk.
- Add a pinch of salt and pepper then whisk smooth.
- Stir in the vinegar and baking powder until smooth and well combined.
- In another large bowl, beat the egg white to stiff peaks then fold it into the batter.
- Preheat the waffle iron and spray lightly with cooking spray.
- Spoon about 1/3 cup batter into the waffle iron (for a 4-inch waffle) then close and cook for 5 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove the waffle to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter.
2. Fried Chickpea Polenta
Servings: 8 to 10
- 4 cups water
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ pound chickpea flour
- Combine the water, olive oil, and salt in a medium saucepan.
- Gradually whisk in the chickpea flour until completely smooth.
- Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly as the batter heats and thickens.
- Continue to heat while whisking, scraping the sides of the pan often, until the mixture starts to pull away from the sides, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Grease a rimmed 9x13 baking sheet and pour the batter into it.
- Spread quickly with a spatula in an even layer, wetting the spatula with water as needed to get the batter in a smooth, even layer.
- Let the mixture cool until completely firm, at least an hour.
- Cut the pieces into the desired shapes and fry in a heavy skill with olive oil over medium heat.
- Fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden and crisp then drain on paper towels before serving.
3. Chickpea Flour Burger Buns
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ¾ cup water
- ¼ cup yogurt
- Whisk together the chickpea flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
- Drizzle in the maple syrup then whisk in the water and yogurt until well combined.
- Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
- Spoon 2 tablespoons of the batter into the skillet and spread in a round using a spoon.
- Cook until the surface just starts to bubble, about two minutes.
- Flip the burger buns and cook for about 1 minute on the other side.
- Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter and keep warm until ready to serve.
4. Spicy Veggie Burgers
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ½ lemon zested
- 1 clove minced garlic
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 ¼ cup water
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon zest, garlic, and a pinch of cayenne in a small bowl then cover and chill until ready to serve.
- To make the burgers, whisk the water and chickpea flour in a small pot on medium-low heat.
- Stir constantly to keep the mixture from sticking to the pan.
- After a few minutes, stir in the chickpeas, herbs, and spices then remove from heat.
- Let the mixture cool until thick enough to shape then shape into 6 even-sized patties (ideally the size of your buns).
- Heat a drizzle of oil in a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat.
- Add the burgers and cook for 5 minutes per side until crisp on the outside and cooked through.
- Sandwich the veggie burgers between the buns and serve with the spicy lemon aioli.
5. Chickpea Flour Banana Bread Muffins
- 3 cups chickpea flour
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup melted coconut oil
- ½ cup yogurt
- 4 mashed bananas
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
- Whisk together the chickpea flour, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon in a medium or large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, coconut oil, and yogurt then stir in the mashed bananas until well combined.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until well combined.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the tops of the muffins are golden brown.
Chickpea flour may not be the first thing you reach for when whipping up a quick batch of chocolate chip cookies, but it could become a staple in your gluten free pantry if you know how to use it. Perfect for light batters, quick breads, and sauces, chickpea flour is a versatile gluten free flour you’ll learn to love.