Are chickpeas rich in protein?

Chickpeas are high-quality, plant-based protein. They aren’t a complete protein, though, as they lack an essential amino acid.

Are chickpeas high in protein?

Chickpeas are good sources of plant-based protein. Cooked chickpeas contain 8.9 grams of protein per 100g, while a serving of chickpeas contains 14.5 grams of protein![1]

All chickpea-based foods are rich in protein

Chickpea flour (besan) is rich in protein as well. It contains 22.4 grams of protein per 100g. Just for comparison, all-purpose wheat flour contains about 40% less protein. It contains only 13.1 grams of protein per 100g.

You can find a wide variety of chickpea flours on Amazon.

Moreover, you can find chickpea pasta. It’s also high in protein. It contains 19 grams of protein per 100g! Chickpea pasta is a great way to boost your daily protein intake!

Hummus is a popular Middle East spread usually made of chickpeas blended with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. It’s a good dietary source of protein, containing 4.9 grams per 100g.

Tahini is also a great plant-based protein source!

Falafel is another popular chickpea-based Middle East fast-food. They’re deep-fried balls usually made of chickpeas, herbs, and spices. Falafel has a pretty high protein content as well. It contains 8.2 grams of protein per 100g. Just a patty contains 1.4 grams of protein!

Does cooking affect the protein content of chickpeas?

Cooked chickpeas contain significantly less protein per 100g than dried chickpeas. In fact, dried chickpeas contain 130% more protein than cooked chickpeas. They contain 20.5 grams of protein per 100g. That’s because dried chickpeas have less water. Cooked chickpeas are 60% water, while dried chickpeas are less than 8% water.

Actually, the digestibility of protein of chickpeas increases during cooking.[2]

Are chickpeas a high-quality vegan protein?

The digestibility and the overall quality of protein of foods is measured with the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) index. High-quality proteins, like milk, eggs, and soy protein, have PDCAAS values of 1.

Plant-based foods have much lower PDCAAS values. Chickpeas are among the best vegan protein sources, though. Actually, chickpeas are the best plant-based protein source, second only to soy and pea.[3]

Chickpeas have a PDCAAS value of 0.78. Other beans and legumes have much lower values.

Are chickpeas a complete protein?

Foods that contain all 9 essential amino acids are a complete protein! All foods from animal-derived sources are complete protein.

On the contrary, most plants aren’t a complete protein. They lack at least one essential amino acid. So, we have to eat a wide variety of vegan foods in order to get all essential amino acids.

Actually, chickpeas aren’t a complete protein. They lack the essential amino acid tryptophan. Also, chickpeas have low amounts of methionine and threonine.[4]

We have to consume chickpeas with other protein-rich foods to eat a complete protein. Meals high in a complete protein are necessary for muscle growth and weight loss.

Amino acids
(g per 100g)
Chickpeas aren’t a complete protein.

Eat chickpeas with cereals to create a complete protein

First, you could combine beans with rice to eat a complete protein. Rice has more threonine than chickpeas.

Also, you could eat a slice of whole wheat bread with chickpeas to eat a complete protein. Wheat is rich in the essential amino acids tryptophan and methionine! On the other hand, cereals are low in the essential amino acid lysine, which is found in abundant in chickpeas, as well as most beans. Chickpeas contain 0.91 grams of lysine per 100g.

Quinoa, soybeans, amaranth, buckwheat, pumpkin, chia and hemp seeds, are the most common plant-based foods with a complete protein. You could add them to your favorite chickpea recipes for consuming a complete protein.

Chickpeas also taste great with mushrooms, which are good vegan sources of protein!

Moreover, you could combine chickpea flour with wheat flour in your recipes in order to eat a complete protein.

However, you shouldn’t eat high amounts of chickpeas. Especially, if you want to lose weight. They’re pretty high in carbs and calories.

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