As our Neanderthal ancestors advanced through the Prehistoric Ages, they transitioned from a hunting-and-gathering lifestyle to an agricultural one.
In the rich soils of the Fertile Crescent, a region in the Middle East along the Mediterranean Sea cited as the origin of civilization, eight “founder crops” sprung up. Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, were one of these crops, laying the groundwork for the emergence of agriculture.
Among the advent of writing and the wheel, these early civilizations grew chickpeas, mashed them in pottery and made hummus, a snack that has existed some 11,000 years. Today chickpeas have transcended beyond the pita to cookies. That’s right, we said cookies!
If you’re looking for a healthier dessert alternative, look no further than these tasty chickpea cookies. This vegan chickpea chocolate chip cookie recipe is built on a rich history, and it comes with zero guilt (and also zero gluten). It doesn’t require advanced baking skills or too much time.
Before we get into the recipe, let’s look at why chickpeas make a great alternative base for cookies.
Chickpea Cookies Make a Healthy Dessert Alternative
Now, we know what you’re thinking. Cookies? That doesn’t sound healthy to me. When we’re talking about chickpea cookies, they can actually be a healthy alternative to your traditional cookie.
Chickpeas are an important legume and a healthy, nut-free, gluten-free alternative to the tube of cookie dough at the grocer. They provide good sources of protein to maintain weight and fiber to regulate blood sugar levels. They also contain a naturally-occurring enzyme called a Bowman-Birk inhibitor (BBI), which has shown promising results in the lab for cancer chemoprevention.
In vitro studies that tested various legumes found that chickpeas “significantly inhibit[ed] the viability” of breast and prostate cancer cells. As research continues to unearth the benefits of chickpeas and the remaining founder crops, it becomes apparent that plant-based alternatives are making headway.
Over in California, Berkeley-based vegan snack company The Good Bean offers chocolate-covered roasted chickpeas in dark, milk and mocha flavors. Just north in Portland, Oregon, Little Chkpea sells innovative vegan ice cream flavors (Szechuan strawberry, mint matcha, blackberry basil) made from chickpea milk. Countless blogs abound with chickpea dessert recipes: chickpea flour thin mints, vegan meringues, dark chocolate chickpea brownies and truffles.
With hardly any saturated fats (0.1g), coupled with their subtle, nutty flavor and grainy texture, chickpeas make for an ideal, plant-based vegan cookie dough. From an ecological standpoint, chickpeas shine as exemplars in sustainability because they require little water, unlike their nut (almonds) counterparts. You can remind yourself of these benefits as you sit in front of your freshly baked chickpea chocolate chip cookies and indulge in another serving.
Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
This cookie recipe, free of refined sugars and gluten, allows you to indulge and satiate your sweet tooth without the guilt. With an option to swap out the cashew and peanut butters it calls for, this chickpea chocolate chip cookie recipe can easily meet the demand of those nut-allergies. Just replace the cashew or peanut butter with a dairy or seed butter. These cookies are also vegan – so those of us on animal-free diets can also enjoy these cookies.
What You’ll Need
- food processor
- baking sheet
- parchment paper or non-stick spray
- 1 can of chickpeas (15.5 ounces)
- ¼ cashew butter*
- ¼ peanut butter*
- ½ cup of oats, oat flour, or blanched almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon of salt but if using canned chickpeas that already come salted, only add a pinch of salt
- ½ cup of chocolate chips or small, coarsely chopped pieces from a chocolate bar
- ¼ cup honey, maple syrup or agave syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sea salt flakes or coarse salt to sprinkle on top (optional)
*cashew and peanut butters can be swapped for dairy or seed butter.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease with a cooking spray.
3. Drain, rinse and strain chickpeas in cool running water.
4. Add all ingredients except for chocolate chips and sea salt flakes to the food processor.
5. Process until evenly blended and a dough forms. Use a spatula to scrape any unmixed ingredients on the sides.
6. Add the chocolate chips to the food processor and lightly pulse.
7. Scoop out the dough with a tablespoon or ice cream spoon and place onto the baking sheet.
8. Lightly press down each scoop. Chickpea batter does not spread in the oven like conventional cookie dough does and garnish with sea salt flakes.
9. Bake the cookies in the oven for 15 minutes.
10. After the cookies are baked, remove the tray and let the cookies sit for five minutes.
11. With a spatula, transfer the cookies to a cooling rack then enjoy.
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