Fresh, Green Chickpeas are the New Edamame

Photo courtesy of Flickr user bitter-sweet

Photo courtesy of Flickr user bitter-sweet

I love chickpeas. I’m crazy about chickpeas.  Perhaps you remember my previous post:  Ode to the Chickpea.

Now it’s going to be easier to find the fresh, green chickpeas that I remember enjoying in Lebanon. In fact, the raw versions of the legume (also known as green garbanzo beans) are poised to be the new edamame.

I’m all for that.

The beige, creamy orbs that we know as chickpeas are left to ripen on the plant and then shrivel into the blonde pebbles that we buy in cans or bags for the dried variety. Fresh chickpeas are picked in their infancy.  They’re still  green and encased in thin, pilant pods, much like edamame (soybeans in their shells).

Typically fresh chickpeas are available only a few weeks a year in farmer’s markets and ethnic/specialty stores, but now you can find bags of fresh chickpeas in the freezer case at certain Costco stores thanks to a new product introduced by Clearwater Country Foods. Here’s how the company describes the new product:

Traditionally, the freshly picked green garbanzo bean had only been offered seasonally in regions that grew them, and were generally seen shocked and still in the pod. Now, thanks to Clearwater Country Foods, developments have been made to pick the green garbanzo beans fresh and flash freeze them to ensure nutrition, and year round availability, while providing its versatility and convenience for the consumer.  Today this fresh-picked and nutritious Garden Green Garbanzo™ is about to make its way into the homes of all health conscious Americans and people across the globe.

I’m convinced that green garbanzos will be a major trend.  Take a look at what the Associated Press just wrote about them.

Move over, edamame?  Fresh garbanzos — the moist, raw version of a legume usually dried, canned or turned into hummus — may be the new “new” thing?…Available only a few weeks a year, fresh chickpeas are prized among in-the-know foodies and sophisticated chefs for their novelty and their young, slightly vegetal taste.

“It tastes like being outside this time of year,” says Josh DeChellis, executive chef at New York’s La Fonda Del Sol restaurant, where he chars chickpeas in their pods and dresses them with olive oil and salt.

Here’s Josh DeChellis’ recipe for Charred Chickpeas that was featured in New York Magazine.

You can also find another brand of fresh chickpeas called Califresh of California in Whole Foods and other markets.  Check out their web site for some great recipes, including Green Chickpea and Tomato Bruschetta.

An article in the LA Times interviewed several chefs about green chickpeas:

Nalin Patel, owner of Maurya Indian restaurant in Beverly Hills, says they’re popular in his native Guharat, where one might eat them roasted in the shell over a wood fire or combined with onion, chile, cilantro, lime juice and salt as an appetizer or with drinks.  When Maurya’s executive chef, Jayanta Paul, cooks at home, he likes to make fresh garbanzos with mushrooms in a Punjabi-style tomato sauce.  For a summer dish, I added fresh garbanzos to Mexican calabacitas, a combination of squash, corn, tomatoes and green chiles.

There are so many different ways to enjoy green chickpeas — steamed whole to eat as snacks, mixed in bean salads, added to rice or whole grain dishes, pasta and salsas.  You can also use as you would other chickpeas for hummus. The green color also makes for an interesting twist on guacamole.

Here’s a guacamole recipe using green chickpeas from Califresh of California.

Green Garbanzo Guacamole

2 cups fresh green (shelled) garbanzos
1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup minced white onion
1 jalapeno
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon salt

Cook fresh, green garbanzos for about 3 minutes in boiling water, then rinse in cold water.  In a food processor, combine fresh garbanzos, avocado, lime juice and salt.  Puree until smooth.  Remove from the processor and blend in the cilantro, onion and jalapeno.  Transfer to a serving bowl.


Here are some other ideas for using fresh, green chickpeas:

Fresh Garbanzo Bean Salad from Taste of Beirut

Green Chickpea and Tomato Bruschetta

The Coeur D’Alene Garden Green Garbanzo Salsa

Fresh Garbanzo Bean and Smoked Salmon Pasta from Delementals

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  • Oh my! Oh my! Oh my!

    I am wondering where to get hold of these in the UK. I am another chickpea fan and get through pounds of the dried variety eating them several times a week.

    I need green chickpeas in my life!

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  • Ah ha! Someone tweeted about “fresh chickpeas” and I was at a loss. I have had them canned and jarred and dried (chana). Is it wrong to run out at 8pm on Mother’s Day to get fresh chickpeas…but it would ruin mother’s day if I couldn’t find them! Very excited.

  • I just came across your blog. Love this post. The recipe looks awesome. I am not sure if I could find fresh chickpeas where I live, but I know the dried are very popular around here. Always nice to see another dietitian sharing legitimate nutrition information. I see you are an ADA media spokesperson, so keep up the good work getting the right information out there.

  • That Green Garbanzo Guacamole looks amazing!

  • I love them! I’m in Jordan now and just had fresh garbanzo beans yesterday… we roast them and eat as a snack… already took pictures and plan to blog about it this week, so if anyone is interested, check it out…
    Janet: I’m so excited to know it’s coming to Costco… I can see those green beans as the new edamamme…

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  • Nutrition to kitchen

    I recently came across fresh chickpeas at a Middle Eastern market. I thought they were so beautiful and split one open to try on the spot. Delicious! Less hearty than regular canned chickpeas, more delicate, and would be wonderful in a salad.

  • I’m missing out! Must find and eat… love it!

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  • Michelle Wolfson

    I am a huge fan of chickpeas!! Where can I get green chickpeas. I live in northeast Ohio in United States. I am A huge foodie!!! Please tell me where/how i can get these green chickpeas!!!!!

  • You know Chickpeas are a great addition to anyone’s diet. They taste so good and they are low enough in calories to eat fairly freely. Weight watchers should put these on their little “points” system!

  • Greetings from Florida! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to browse your website on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the knowledge you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my mobile .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, fantastic blog!

  • Limor

    Great blog–I love chickpeas and I have been eating them all my life–in the yellow form, never green–until recently. I ate them roasted in the shell at a restaurant. I was amazed to discover this new form of chickpeas. They were out of this world!

    I’ve been looking for them since with no success. I looked at Trader Joe’s and Whole foods. I live in Maryland–the DC-metro area.
    Can anyone tell me where I might find them, fresh or frozen?

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  • Rabia Habib

    Hi, I have a recipe for chickpea salad and would love your opinion. I soak a bowl of dry chickpeas overnight, when they are all tender I chop a large thumb-size piece of ginger into small thin strips, chop plenty of coriander and red or green chillies to own liking. Add all of the ingredients to the chickpeas and add salt to taste. I eat this almost everyday so was wondering if anyone knew the calorie content? Please let me know your thoughts on the recipe.

  • Sue

    Hi this recipe is amazing! Does anybody know how many calories in a cup of fresh chickpeas?

  • Diann

    I had the best Hummus at Ililli Restaurant NYC
    I tried to make it the same way…creamy..perfect!
    Not the same! Someone told me to use fresh chick peas. Where the heck do u find them?
    I think I had too much garlic…
    If anyone has been to Illili’s
    What is the secret?
    Thank You!

  • J

    Is the nutritional info the same as canned chickpeas?

  • Vineet

    I live in VA.. and I get fresh green chickpeas pod from an Asian grocery store called Lotte and if you guys have an Asian or Korean Store where ever you live you should be able to get the green chick peas .. I love ’em and have been a part of my life ever since I was born 🙂 I love raw or roasted and also we can use them in salad as well. They are superb for our health … so enjoy ’em 🙂

  • Mo

    I just tried your Green Garbanzo Guacamole. All I can say is yum! Thanks for the recipe.

  • Serena

    They are so easy to grow and can be grown fairly simply from dried chickpeas.

  • JM Lee

    Green frozen Chickpea is sold at Costco. Tastes so good. Works with anything you combine or eat them raw or quickly microwaved.

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