Are chickpeas rich in protein?

Chickpeas are excellent dietary sources of high-quality protein. They contain almost 9 g of protein per 100g.

How much protein do we need per day?

The recommended daily intake of protein for most people is 0.8 g per kg (2.2 lbs) of body weight.

Only active people need more protein. People with minimal, moderate, and intense physical activity should get at least 1.0 g, 1.3 g, and 1.6 g of protein per kg (2.2 lbs) of body weight, respectively.[1,2]

For instance, an 80 kg (177 lbs) person doing moderate physical activity should get approximately 100 g of protein a day. On the other hand, a 59 kg (130 lbs) person who follows a sedentary life needs only 59 g of protein a day.

Protein deficiency is rather unlikely, though. People who consume adequate amounts of calories and follow a well-balanced diet, probably consume more protein than they need.

Are chickpeas high in protein?

Chickpeas are good sources of plant-based protein. Cooked chickpeas contain 8.9 g of protein per 100g, while a serving of chickpeas contains 14.5 g of protein![3]

All chickpea-based foods are rich in protein

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

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 g of protein per 100g. Just a patty contains 1.4 g of protein!

Hence, the regular consumption of chickpeas as well as other chickpea-based foods can really help us meet our daily needs of protein.

Does cooking affect the protein content of chickpeas?

Cooked chickpeas contain significantly less protein per 100g than raw chickpeas. In fact, raw chickpeas contain 130% more protein than cooked chickpeas. They contain 20.5 g of protein per 100g.

That’s because raw chickpeas have less water. Cooked chickpeas are 60% water, while raw chickpeas are less than 8% water.

However, negligible amounts of protein are destroyed during soaking and cooking of beans. Protein isn’t vulnerable to heat.

Cooking makes protein of chickpeas more bioavailable

The digestibility of protein of chickpeas increases after cooking. Cooking decreases the amounts of certain compounds that inhibit its absorption.[4]

Are chickpeas high-quality protein?

Chickpeas are among the best plant-based protein sources.

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. However, chickpea is the best plant-based protein source, second only to soy and pea.[5]

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

What’s the amino profile of chickpeas?

Foods with high-quality protein contain high amounts of all 9 essential amino acids. We have to get these amino acids from foods. The human body can’t synthesize them.

If food contains high amounts of all 9 essential amino acids, it’s a complete protein! All foods from animal-derived sources are complete protein.

In contrast, most plants aren’t a complete protein. They lack at least 1 essential amino acid. So, we have to eat a wide variety of 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.[6]

Amino acids
(g) per 100g
Histidine0.24
Isoleucine0.36
Leucine0.48
Lysine0.91
Methionine0.12
Phenylalanine0.42
Threonine0.06
Tryptophan
Valine0.38
Essential amino acids in chickpeas.

We have to consume chickpeas with other foods high in protein with a different protein profile.

Eat chickpeas with cereals to create a complete protein

First, you could eat beans with rice. Rice has more threonine than chickpeas.

Also, you could eat 1 slice of whole-wheat bear with chickpeas. 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 g of lysine per 100g.

Other beans high in protein are lentils, fava beans, and of course soybeans.

Quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, barley, pumpkin, chia and hemp seeds, are the most common plant-based foods with a complete protein. You could add them in your recipes in order to improve the protein quality of a meal.

Chickpeas taste great with mushrooms as well. Mushrooms are also rich in protein!

Chickpeas are good for weight loss. They’re great as a late night snack as well.

Moreover, you could combine chickpea flour with wheat flour in your recipes in order to “create” 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.