Fresh Chickpeas

However, something made me take a closer look, and notice the little hand-written sign announcing that they were fresh garbanzo beans. Now, I’ve got a pretty good bet that I’m not the only one that didn’t know that garbanzo beans grew in little pods with just enough for one or two beans.


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If you had asked me, I would have said that they probably look something like edamame or maybe fava beans when they grow. But no, the bushy plants just get covered in little fuzzy pods no bigger than a quarter. Well, of course, I couldn’t pass those up.

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Once home, we got busy shelling them. It’s kind of a lot of work, although considerably less than shelling fava beans and much more fun. It’s the plant equivalent of bursting bubble wrap, complete with a satisfying Pop! every now and then. It’s possible it is just me, but I found it completely addictive. Which I suppose is good, because with only one or two peas per pod, you do have to pop a lot to get even a tiny bowl.

In fact, even after shelling the whole bunch that I bought, I really only had enough for a tiny bowl of hummus. But it was some mighty fine hummus!


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Fresh Chickpea Hummus

This recipe is adapted from one I found on the San Francisco Chronicle website. That article suggested warning your guests that the green, creamy dip is not guacamole. I didn’t think much of it until I finished making my version… and lo and behold, it looks exactly like guac! Except that this spread doesn’t immediately go brown on the edges.

1 pound fresh chickpeas, shelled

Juice of 1 large lemon

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/2 bunch Italian parsley, stems discarded, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup tahini

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt, freshly ground pepper to taste

Piment de Esplette (optional)

Shell chickpeas and discard the skins. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook the chickpeas until they are just tender but not too soft, 3-5 minutes. Strain and run under cool water.

Place chickpeas in a blender or processor with the lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and tahini. Pulse until the beans are coarsely chopped. Start to drizzle in the olive oil slowly, while blending. If the mixture seems to dry, add a bit more olive oil and lemon juice. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Continue to process with on-off bursts until mixture is pureed, scraping down the sides as needed.

Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. I prefer it served at close to room temperature, so remove it from the fridge about an hour before you want to serve it. Make a swirl on the top with the back of a spoon, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with a bit of piment de espelette or a seasoned salt* if you wish.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

*I have two great suggestions for you if you are looking for some yummy salts! First, I had the pleasure of shooting for Orcas Alchemy’s website. Orcas Alchemy specializes in flavored sugars and salts, and everything I tried was delicious. In particular, I love the raspberry sugar. So beautiful! Secondly, Secret Stash Sea Salts have some of the most intriguing flavor combinations. I just picked up the Almond Cardamom at the Queen Anne Farmer’s market last week. Yum!

  • http://thesophisticatedgourmet.blogspot.com Kamran Siddiqi

    Lovely photos (as usual). I can’t stop drooling over that hummus! I think this would be a lovely thing to put out at my step dad’s b-day party on Saturday. I am cooking everything from scratch and I am even baking the cake from scratch. Today, I was actually testing out to chocolate cake recipes that I like. I was seeing which one was better, but I’ll talk more about that on my blog.

    I can’t wait to try put this out (I’ll tell you how it holds up)! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.

  • http://tnlocavore.typepad.com Kristina

    I’m so jealous! I would love to get my hands on some fresh garbanzo beans.

  • http://hungrygrrl.com hungrygrrl

    Evan kleinman talked about fresh chickpeas on good food a few weeks ago. Apparently in india they roast them pod, leaf and all on the coals! Will have to make it up to qafm next week to try some.

  • http://www.cookingandme.com nags

    wow!! never seen the fresh kind before!

  • http://peachkitchen.blogspot.com peachkins

    I love going to the farmer’s market. Your photos are amazingand those fresh garbanzo beans look amazing too!!

  • http://junglefrog-cooking.com Simone (junglefrog)

    What a coincidence! I was just wondering a few days ago, where the chickpeas come from… I mean; I am so used to seeing them in jars and cans, but I’ve never ever seen them fresh! Neither did I know they are called garbanzo beans. Still no idea how that would be called in dutch, but I am going to be looking out for them, now that I know what to look for!

  • http://www.palatetopen.com Jennifer

    This is a magnificent discovery with a first-rate hummus recipe to match.

  • http://camferroni.typepad.com Cam

    Ah, purple chair hummus;-) It was really really good….

  • http://fresh365.blogspot.com fresh365

    Nope, you are definitely not the only one who didn’t know they grew in pods! Chickpeas are my favorite- I would love to find these!

  • wes

    Wow! I’ve never seen fresh garbanzos before. I only recently discovered the dry form (only experience previously was canned). I’m thinking that I might have to try planting a few of the dry ones and grow my own fresh chick peas. Yummy, yummy, yummy. I can’t wait.

  • Keira

    Those pictures are beautiful! I’m sure it was worth the effort of shelling for fresh chickpeas. mmm think of all those lovely nutrients… Last year I grew black beans and kidney beans in my backyard; the bushes filled up probably a 3×5 ft garden plot, and I got such a small amount of beans! But it was a very rewarding experience. I let them dry on the bush, in the pod, and at the end of all the peeling away layers I came out with a couple of jars of beans. Happy adventuring/cooking.

  • http://wwwsecretstash.blogspot.com Janna

    Beautiful photography, as always, Lara. I still have left-over chickpeas from last week’s market that I haven’t used yet! Yikes. This recipe inspires with ideas of what I can use them on next. Thank you.

    Hope all is well with Kameron and Cole.

  • http://www.familyfriendlyfood.com/ Nurit – 1 family. friendly. food.

    wow, I have just realized that I have never seen *fresh* chickpeas before. Sounds like somehting I must try.

  • http://cookingwithdia.com Cooking With Dia

    mmm I love chickpeas, they are in everything I eat.

  • foodie

    Yummy…and such an easy recipe! Thank you!
    By the way, when I was a child, street vendors used to sell those chickpea bushes in the streets in Turkey, which you could start eating right there and then if they were freshly collected from the fields. Or you could just roast them, and sprinkle with either black pepper or red cayenne pepper before eating those warm, wonderful delights…

  • http://www.yummyfoodies.com yummyfoodies

    :-0 i never saw fresh chick peas, so im stunned! WOW!
    and the humus must be way better with these! pitty we dont have those at the markets here…

  • inindia

    Fresh chick peas are great. I had some raw right from the field in Maharashtra, India. Like you, I also walked by them in the market, not knowing what they were. But… those in your picture are rather bedraggled. They are sweeter and less mealy when they are truly fresh — Like regular peas freshness is everything. They shouldn’t have yellowing, wilted leaves. Speak to the greengrocer!