Ingredients in the News

Are Chickpeas the New Cauliflower? More on This Versatile Legume

Healthy diets don’t change over time—but some food and ingredient trends are continually changing. As health professionals, your clients expect you to have all the answers when it comes to the latest food trends. To keep you in the know, we are offering updates on "ingredients in the news." This issue’s featured ingredient: chickpeas.

The humble legume is taking the grocery store by storm. In particular, chickpeas have moved to center plate as a source of plant-based protein and as a grain-free pasta alternative.

"Upgrade" Carbs

Chickpeas are gaining popularity roasted as snacks, baked into chips, and shaped into pasta. Cup for cup, chickpea flour provides a similar calorie content, fewer carbohydrates, nearly three times the dietary fiber, and almost double the protein compared to semolina (the wheat flour traditionally used in pasta).* For those who love pasta, but want to reduce their refined flour intake, chickpea and legume-based pastas are one good substitute. Naturally gluten-free, replacing wheat-based starches with chickpeas can be an option for folks with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. 

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"Plantiful" Protein

Legumes, which include chickpeas and beans, are a common protein source for people following vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. Though chickpeas don’t technically provide a “complete protein,” when consumed with a variety of other plant-based proteins throughout the day, they can contribute to an adequate protein intake. (For more on how complete proteins are determined, click here.)

Shifting the focus of meals to vegetarian proteins can be an environmental as well as a nutrition win, since plant proteins tend to use fewer resources than animal proteins to produce. The World Resources Institute reports that beef production requires 20 times more land per unit of edible protein than common plant-based protein sources.


Always advise clients to check the food label for the most accurate information.

World Resources Institute, 2016.

Disclaimer: Conagra Nutrition does not provide medical advice. Information is intended for educational purposes only. For specific nutrition guidance, please consult your regular healthcare provider or a registered dietitian.