Since 2009, the number of Americans who adhere to gluten-free diets has tripled. For companies wanting to cater to this growing demand, access to alternative ingredient options have expanded too. One such alternative is garbanzo bean flour, commonly referred to as chickpea flour. Whichever name you prefer, our new producer partner Honest Origins has got the goods.
Most Americans know chickpeas from hummus and falafel, but the legume has been used in Indian, Nepalese, Pakistanis, Italians and French cooking for centuries. In fact, the product can be traced back to Mesopotamia roughly 5,000 years ago! Cultivation of the bean began in the 16th century, and Spanish and Portuguese expeditions brought the product to subtropical regions of the world, further spreading its popularity. The popular reference for a chickpea, garbanzo, is the Spanish reference for the bean. Most chickpeas are grown in India, but you can find the plant growing in over 50 countries across the world.
What is chickpea flour?
Chickpea flour is a crushed and ground version of a chickpea. The two most popular types of chickpea flour originate from two different types of chickpea: the kabuli chickpea and the desi chickpea. Most chickpea flour is made through a process of grinding a split desi chickpea seed into a powder. This specific flour is excellent for use as a batter and requires very little added water. Kabuli chickpeas, the small, rounded pea most people are familiar with, also created chickpea flour.
What are the benefits of chickpea flour?
There’s a reason chickpea flour has taken the nation by storm. Not only is the ingredient gluten-free, but it provides a more nutritious option than traditional white flour. The product is low in sodium, high in protein, high in fiber and free of cholesterol. It works with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diets, and because of its high protein content, provides necessary nutrients for those who don’t consume meat.
Chickpea flour is also high in B vitamins and contains levels of iron, magnesium and zinc. Plus, there’s almost no flavor, so the flour blends seamlessly into all recipes, from pancakes to fried-food batter. For diabetics, the fibrous makeup of chickpea flour means that it provides slower absorption of sugar, making it a healthier option when choosing ingredients. Not to mention chickpea flour’s resistant starch makeup which allows healthy bacteria to grow, and in the long run, could prevent colon cancer, obesity and diseases.
How is chickpea flour used?
Often found in veggie burgers, soups, flatbread and batters, chickpea flour is an alternative to glutinous flour and can be used in virtually every dish white flour is found in. Chickpea flour is also a binding ingredient and can be easily combined with other types of flour. For those on a meat-free diet, chickpea flour is the perfect substitution for daily requirements of protein and can increase the fiber intake in gluten-free individuals.
Given the benefits of chickpea flour, you can’t go wrong when adding it to your products. Stay ahead of the competition and provide your customers with this gluten-free, protein and fiber-filled ingredient!