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Aside from being an exceptionally tasty treat, chickpeas are a super versatile source of protein that can slip into almost any dish under the sun (yes, even desserts).

So, if you’re craving a little legume love in your life, we’ve covered the best ways to cook ’em as well as ensuring they’ll blend into a variety of different meals so there’ll be something in here for a rainbow of different appetites.

Mashed up in the form of hummus

One of the more traditional ways to consume this little miracle pea is to blitz it up smoothly with a few helping ingredients to take the shape of this iconic dip. When these beans soften, they turn into a silky paste, which is the star of this dish.

Add a little fresh lemon and garlic, olive oil, tahini, cumin and salt, and you have yourself a delectable savoury treat.

Stews/curries

Chickpeas are a great way to bulk up curries and stews. The best way to incorporate these peas is to throw them straight into the pot early on, allowing them to slowly absorb the other flavours.

For canned chickpeas, ensure they’ve been drained and rinsed before adding them to your dish. However, for dried chickpeas, make sure they soak for a little before throwing them in the pot.

Chickpeas are frequently used in many Indian cuisines – especially South Indian curries, as this legume is a super accessible alternative to meat, providing a hearty, complete protein source in many plant-based dishes.

Falafels

The plant-based solution to a meaty kebab, you can also add falafels to wraps, salads or scoff ’em down on their own with a bit of coconut yoghurt. Falafels are extremely easy to make as well, especially if you have a food processor on hand. All you’ll need is some chickpeas (of course), diced onion, parsley, cumin, salt, pepper, chickpea flours and green pepper for a spicy punch. Combine all these ingredients, then roll the mixture into small balls, then fry it up, baby!

Protein bars

Power Hungry has one of the most heavenly protein bar recipes if you’re looking for an ideal snack on the go.

Add some rinsed chickpeas to a food processor, along with some dates, creamy peanut butter, vanilla extract, vanilla protein powder, pepitas and dried cranberries. Then scoop the mixture into a pan and let it refrigerate for a few hours.

Soups

Chickpeas are super tasty in soups while also offering a tonne of protein and nutrients. Minestrone-style chickpea soup is always a solid go-to, but you can also whack them in a hearty vegetable soup, Tuscan tomato chickpea soup or a Mediterranean chickpea soup.

The perfect way to warm your soul on a frosty winter night.

Pan-fried

Get a pan or a decent-sized skillet and fry up these babies. Heap up some oil in the pan to ensure chickpeas get super crispy and crunchy on the outside.

For a little more of a kick, add some middle eastern spices, salt and pepper and voila – you have yourself a delicious snack. You can even add these pan-fried peas to roasted veggies because they can turn pretty much anything into a proper meal.

Baked

Popping some chickpeas in the oven is another way to get them exceptionally crisp while making a high fibre snack.

Again, don’t skimp on the olive oil and season to perfection. Leave the chickpeas in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, occasionally checking on them. For additional zesty flavour, squeeze a little lemon juice after they’ve cooked for a bit of acidity.

You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten roasted chickpeas on the couch in your undies.

We haven’t even scratched the iceberg that is chickpea desserts, but picture chickpea cookie dough, choc chickpea brownies, and choc chip chickpea blondies.

Don’t knock it ’til you try it.

For a bunch of other ideas (including a tuna-less tuna sandwich), head on over to VegKit for inspo.

Image: iStock / DronG