You want to know something a bit shameful? I’m not a fan of plain chickpeas. As an avid cook, I feel like I should love them, but they’ve never been my favorite. Whenever I eat chickpeas, I need them to be doctored up in hummus or falafel. It seemed a shame to not reap the benefits of this versatile legume, so I thought of a few things to do with chickpeas to make them a bit more palatable.

Easily remove the skins with a towel

vegetable, cereal, legume, meat, pea, chickpeas, garbanzo, corn
Christin Urso

This hack is essential for any hummus lover. To remove the skins of the chickpeas, rinse them under water and then pour the drained chickpeas onto a kitchen towel. Gently but vigorously rub the towel against the chickpeas until the skins loosen and fall off. This is also great to do before making roasted chickpeas.

#SpoonTip: Your towel will be covered in chickpea skins, so wipe them off before they dry to the fabric.

Use the chickpea water as an egg replacer

Megan Prendergast

Known as aquafaba, the water in a can of chickpeas can be used as an egg replacer in most recipes. To do so, simply use three tablespoons of the water in place of a single egg.

#SpoonTip: You can also use aquafaba to make meringues.

Bake for a healthy snack

vegetable, nut, pasture, cereal, legume, hazelnut, tigernut, chickpeas
Kristine Mahan

Remember those roasted chickpeas I mentioned before? You need to make them, pronto. After rubbing off the skin, drizzle a little oil over the chickpeas and sprinkle on your favorite spices. I personally like a blend of chili powder, garlic, and cumin, but you can use whatever you want. Pop them in the oven at 375ºF for 20 minutes and then let them cool completely before devouring.

Buy dried chickpeas to save some cash

sweet, money, coins, cash, us dollars, currency
Anna Arteaga

Instead of paying a dollar or more per can of chickpeas, buy them dried and cook them yourself. You can cook them on the stovetop for a few hours or pop them into a slow cooker. If you make the chickpeas in bulk, let them cool before popping them into mason jars to freeze.

Add baking soda to soften the chickpeas

milk, sweet, salt, cereal
Jedd Marrero

When cooking your own chickpeas, add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water to soften them even further. You’ll need to rinse the chickpeas thoroughly before eating them though, as the baking soda can leave a funny taste on them.

Buy chickpea flour

flour, cereal, rice, milk, tapioca
Jocelyn Hsu

Chickpea flour is a great gluten-free flour alternative for baked goods and can also be used to thicken soups and creamy sauces. It’s high in protein and the flavor of the chickpeas is masked once it’s baked into something.

Make healthy “cookie dough”

chocolate, cream, peanut butter, sweet
Sara Brown

Eating cookie dough by the spoonful is one of life’s joys, but the raw egg in it is a real downer. For a healthy cookie dough, puree 1 cup drained chickpeas, 1/3 cup peanut butter, and 2 tablespoons of honey until a dough-like paste has formed. Add in some chocolate chips if you’d like a little something extra.

This won’t taste exactly like Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie dough, but it’s great if you’re in a pinch and need something sweet.

If you’re not a chickpea fan like me, I guarantee you’ll like them after trying these hacks. Chickpeas are fairly neutral in flavor, which makes them a great base for many soups and snacks. Give one of these chickpea hacks a go, and see if you can put your own twist on them. After all, half the fun of cooking is making up recipes, right?