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Are Chickpeas Low Carb? Facts and Substitutes

If you’re on a keto or low-carb diet, you might be wondering : are chickpeas low carb? 

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a popular legume that blesses us with delicious dishes like hummus and falafel. They’re one of the most common ingredients in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. And as someone with Middle Eastern roots, you know I love any dish starring chickpeas!

In this article, we’ll delve into the nutritional breakdown of chickpeas, how many grams of carbs they have, and whether or not they can fit into a low carb diet.

Nutritional Value of Chickpeas

Part of the legume family, chickpeas are a nutrient-dense food that offers various health benefits. 

They are not only a good source of protein, but a good source of plant-based protein, making them a great option for vegans and vegetarians. In fact, a half-cup serving of chickpeas provides nearly 20 grams of protein. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, chickpeas also have high fiber content, are full of healthy fats, and contain essential amino acids that greatly benefit your overall health. They are also a rich source of vitamins and minerals such as iron, potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin C.  

Crackers dipping in a roasted garlic dip recipe.
Roasted Garlic Dip, a low-carb alternative to hummus.

Are Chickpeas Keto?

The answer? Not really, no. Sorry ☹️

Because of chickpeas’ high carb content, they don’t easily fit into a strict keto diet. However, that doesn’t mean you have to completely avoid them if you’re following a low-carb lifestyle. 

So, how many grams of net carbs do chickpeas actually have? Let’s break down the macros. 

A half-cup serving of canned, drained, COOKED chickpeas contains:

  • 2g fat
  • 25g total carbs
  • 7g protein
  • 13g net carbs 

Looking at the numbers, it’s clear that chickpeas aren’t cut out for a ketogenic diet, which typically recommends limiting net carb intake to around 20-50 grams per day, depending on your macro goals.

Even so, you can still have a small amount of chickpeas in moderation. Just make sure to track your carb intake and portion size. I personally like to sprinkle a little on my salads or use them as a topping for power bowls, but nothing more than that. They make a great addition for some extra flavor and texture without going overboard on carbs.

For some flavorful and nutrient-packed power bowls, check out my Homemade Gyro Bowl, Mediterranean Buddha Bowl, and Halal Cart Chicken and Rice Bowls!

Mutabal recipe in an orange bowl with sides and garnish.
Mutabal (Middle Eastern Eggplant) Dip, a low-carb alternative to hummus.

My Favorite Keto-Friendly Alternatives for Chickpeas

​Now, you may be thinking, “But what do I use instead of chickpeas in my favorite recipes!?” Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered. Here are some delicious keto-friendly alternatives to chickpeas that you can use in your recipes:

  • Cauliflower: This is one of the best low-carb vegetables! It has only 1.1 grams of net carbs per 1/2 cup and can be used to create dishes like cauliflower hummus, falafel, or this delicious Whole Roasted Cauliflower.
  • Edamame: Another high-protein legume, edamame has a lower carb count than chickpeas, with only 5 grams of net carbs per 1/2 cup serving. They can be used in salads, stir-fries, or as a delicious snack. You still need to keep an eye on your portion size, though.
  • Black Soy Beans: These beans have a similar texture to chickpeas and contain 2 grams of net carbs. They can be used in dishes like chili or soups.

These are all great options, but there is one legume I believe is the king of all the rest when it comes to keto-friendly alternatives. And that is…

Lupini Beans

​Lupini beans, also known as lupin beans, are a nutrient-dense legume with only 1 gram of net carbs per half-cup serving. They are high in fiber, protein, and various vitamins and minerals, making them one of the best keto-friendly foods.

In fact, I love lupini beans so much that it’s the #1 ingredient in Kaizen, my low-carb pasta brand! In one serving, my low-carb pasta packs 20 grams of protein, 15 grams of fiber, and only 6 grams of net carbs. And the best part? You won’t even tell the difference in taste or texture from regular pasta. 

Since my Kaizen pasta was such a hit, I went on to create Kaizen lupini rice and Kaizen lupin flour, both equally low in carbs, high in nutrients, and just as tasty. Try my Kaizen products and use code SHREDHAPPENS to save 20% on any purchase!

You can also use lupini beans to make low-carb hummus, which is honestly a way better choice than cauliflower when it comes to keto hummus alternatives. They have the same creamy consistency as traditional chickpea hummus and taste just as delicious! 

Lupini beans also frequently appear in many of my favorite creamy dip recipes and are often a topping to my salads to add some extra protein and texture. Try it with my Roasted Garlic Dip with Feta, Mast o Khiar (Persian Yogurt Dip), Easy Labneh Salad, or Mediterranean Cucumber Salad

So, with all that said, chickpeas may not fit into a strict keto diet, but there are plenty of other delicious and healthy alternatives out there. With these options, you can still enjoy some of your favorite dishes (even pasta!) without feeling guilty or sacrificing flavor.

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