Are you tired of using canned chickpeas in your cooking? Do you want to try making your own chickpeas from scratch but don't know how? Look no further than the trusty crockpot. Cooking dried chickpeas in a slow cooker is a convenient and easy way to have delicious, homemade chickpeas ready for use in any recipe. In this article, we will cover the benefits of using a crockpot, the best way to prepare dried chickpeas, step-by-step instructions for prepping and cooking, and tips for adding flavor and freezing leftovers.
Why use a crockpot for cooking dried chickpeas?
Crockpots offer a convenient way to cook dried chickpeas because they require minimal attention. Unlike stovetop cooking, a crockpot allows you to set it and forget it, making it easier to incorporate homemade chickpeas into your busy schedule. Additionally, because the chickpeas cook slowly over an extended period of time, they become tender and flavorful, without the need for a lot of added ingredients.
Another advantage of using a crockpot for cooking dried chickpeas is that it helps to retain their nutritional value. The slow cooking process preserves the nutrients in the chickpeas, making them a healthier option than canned chickpeas that are often high in sodium and preservatives.
Furthermore, cooking chickpeas in a crockpot allows you to customize the flavor to your liking. You can add different herbs and spices to the pot, such as cumin, paprika, or turmeric, to create a unique taste that complements your dish. This versatility makes crockpot chickpeas a great addition to salads, soups, stews, and even as a side dish.
Benefits of cooking dried chickpeas in a crockpot
In addition to convenience, cooking dried chickpeas in a crockpot has several benefits. Firstly, slow cooking is the most effective way to ensure that your chickpeas are cooked evenly all the way through. Secondly, the long cooking time allows the chickpeas to soak up all the flavor from any added spices or seasonings. Finally, cooking chickpeas from scratch saves money and is healthier than using canned chickpeas, as it avoids the added salt and preservatives found in canned goods.
Another benefit of cooking dried chickpeas in a crockpot is that it requires minimal effort. Once you have added the chickpeas and any desired seasonings to the crockpot, you can leave them to cook for several hours without needing to check on them. This makes it a great option for busy individuals or those who want to prepare a meal in advance. Additionally, cooking chickpeas in a crockpot produces a tender and creamy texture that is perfect for dishes like hummus or falafel.
Soaking vs not soaking: What's the best way to prepare dried chickpeas?
One of the first decisions you will need to make when cooking dried chickpeas is whether to soak them overnight or not. Some people prefer to soak their chickpeas because it shortens the cooking time and makes them more digestible. However, others argue that soaking can decrease the flavor and nutritional value of the chickpeas. Ultimately, the decision to soak or not is up to you and likely depends on personal preference and available time.
It's important to note that if you choose not to soak your chickpeas, you will need to allow for a longer cooking time. This is because the chickpeas will need to absorb more water during the cooking process. Additionally, if you are concerned about losing flavor or nutrients during the soaking process, you can try a quick soak method. This involves bringing the chickpeas to a boil for a few minutes, then letting them sit in the hot water for an hour before draining and cooking. This method can help to reduce cooking time and still provide some of the benefits of soaking.
Prepping your chickpeas for the crockpot: Step-by-step guide
If you choose not to soak your chickpeas, you will need to rinse them before cooking. Start by picking through the chickpeas, discarding any debris or discolored chickpeas. Then, rinse the chickpeas thoroughly under cold water. For soaked chickpeas, simply drain the soaking water and rinse them once more.
Next, you will need to add your chickpeas to the crockpot. For every cup of dried chickpeas, add four cups of water. You can also add any desired spices or seasonings at this time, such as salt, cumin, or bay leaves.
Once you have added your chickpeas and seasonings to the crockpot, it's time to set the cooking time. For unsoaked chickpeas, cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. For soaked chickpeas, cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 4-6 hours. Keep in mind that cooking times may vary depending on the size and age of your chickpeas, so it's important to check them periodically and adjust the cooking time as needed.
When your chickpeas are fully cooked, they should be tender and easy to mash with a fork. If they are still firm, continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes and check again. Once they are fully cooked, you can use them in a variety of dishes, such as hummus, salads, or stews. Store any leftover chickpeas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How long does it take to cook dried chickpeas in a crockpot?
The cooking time for dried chickpeas in a crockpot can vary depending on whether or not they were soaked. For un-soaked chickpeas, it can take anywhere from six to eight hours on low heat or three to four hours on high heat. For chickpeas that were soaked overnight, the cooking time will be closer to four to six hours on low heat or two to three hours on high heat.
It is important to note that the age of the dried chickpeas can also affect the cooking time. Older chickpeas may take longer to cook, even if they have been soaked overnight. Additionally, adding salt to the cooking water can help to soften the chickpeas and reduce the cooking time.
Once the chickpeas are cooked, they can be used in a variety of dishes such as hummus, salads, and stews. They can also be frozen for later use. To freeze cooked chickpeas, simply drain them and let them cool completely before placing them in an airtight container or freezer bag. They will keep in the freezer for up to six months.
Tips for perfectly tender and flavorful chickpeas from the crockpot
To ensure that your chickpeas are perfectly tender and flavorful, there are a few tips to keep in mind. Firstly, avoid adding any acidic ingredients until the end of cooking, as these can prevent the chickpeas from becoming tender. Secondly, be sure to season your chickpeas generously with salt and any desired spices to enhance the flavor. Finally, test the chickpeas for doneness before removing them from the crockpot. They should be soft and easily mashed between your fingers.
Another important tip to keep in mind is to soak your chickpeas overnight before cooking them in the crockpot. This will help to reduce the cooking time and ensure that they cook evenly. Additionally, you can add a bay leaf or a piece of kombu seaweed to the crockpot while cooking, as these can help to further tenderize the chickpeas and add extra flavor. With these tips, you'll be able to create perfectly tender and flavorful chickpeas every time!
Adding spices and flavorings to your chickpeas in the crockpot
One of the best things about cooking chickpeas in a crockpot is the ability to add a variety of spices and flavorings to customize to your tastes. Some popular options include cumin, coriander, garlic, and onion powder. You can also add fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme. For a bit of heat, try adding chili powder or cayenne pepper.
Another great way to add flavor to your chickpeas is by using different types of broth or stock instead of water. Vegetable broth, chicken broth, or beef broth can all add a unique depth of flavor to your dish. Additionally, you can add a splash of lemon juice or vinegar for a tangy twist. Don't be afraid to experiment with different combinations of spices and flavorings to find your perfect chickpea recipe!
Creative recipes using cooked chickpeas from the crockpot
So now that you have a batch of delicious, homemade chickpeas, what can you do with them? The possibilities are endless. Toss them in salads, soups, or stews for added protein and texture. Mash them up for use in falafel or hummus. Or, try roasting them in the oven with a bit of olive oil and your favorite seasoning for a crunchy snack.
You can also use cooked chickpeas as a base for vegetarian burgers or meatballs. Simply mash them up with some breadcrumbs, spices, and an egg or flax egg to bind everything together. Form into patties or balls and bake or fry until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Another idea is to add cooked chickpeas to your favorite pasta dish for a boost of protein and fiber. They pair well with tomato-based sauces or pesto.
Storing and freezing cooked chickpeas from the crockpot
If you have extra cooked chickpeas, they can be stored in the fridge for up to a week in an airtight container. Or, you can freeze them for up to six months. To freeze, simply place the chickpeas in a freezer bag or container, label and date them, and pop them in the freezer.
Cooking dried chickpeas in a crockpot is an easy and delicious way to add homemade flavor to your meals while saving money and avoiding the additives in canned goods. With a bit of patience and some added spices, you'll have a batch of perfectly tender, flavorful chickpeas ready for anything.
One great way to use your cooked chickpeas is to make homemade hummus. Simply blend the chickpeas with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil until smooth. You can also add other ingredients like roasted red peppers or sun-dried tomatoes for extra flavor. Homemade hummus is a healthy and tasty snack that can be enjoyed with veggies, pita chips, or spread on sandwiches.