Chickpeas can make a lot more than hummus. These mighty beans, met with some simple ingredients, can easily replace store-bought gnocchi or even that frozen pizza pie in your freezer to make a warm, amazing pizza (WAP). Let me show you what this chickpea can do, and by the end you'll be wondering where you've bean all this time.

Finding alternatives for common food items is all the rage right now. Coffee shops are now offering oat milk, coconut milk, and almond milk. Burger restaurants are serving impossible beef. The ingredients we all know and love are being turned on their heads. Pizza crust was bound to be the next go. 

I contacted Banza, a brand that creates chickpea-based products, earlier this month to see if I could get my hands on their new development: pizza crusts made from chickpeas. This gluten-free crust comes topped with roasted veggies, just plain cheese and red sauce, or completely bare, to allow you to create your own pizza. The crust is packed with 5g of fiber and 17g of protein so it seemed to me like a more clean version of the pizza crust I know and love. 

A week later, I received a large PR package from Banza and lugged it back to my large double dorm room, occupied by none other than myself. I was so excited to try these pizzas that I popped the margarita pie in the oven just the very next day.  Let's talk about it.

Banza Chickpea Crust Pizza

Sydney Barish

This pizza only takes 13 minutes to form a golden crust that is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. I would have never thought this crust was made from chickpeas had I not known before! But I'll mention what I know we were all really thinking about-- the cheese.

The cheese was stretchy and gooey and all that you could ever want. And I'll leave the rest up to your imagination.

Sydney Barish

These pizza pies retail for $8.99 and can be found in the frozen aisle of Target, Whole Foods, Wegmans, and Heinen's stores nationwide so there's no excuse not to have this sitting pretty in your freezer. 

Chickpeas aren't only good for pizza crust though. During my long, long, time in quarantine I created homemade chickpea gnocchi. It's so simple that even the amateur cook would not find it impastable. 

Homemade Chickpea Gnocchi

Sydney Barish

What You'll Knead:

1.  1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil                                                         

2. (1) 15 oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained                          3. 1 large egg yolk                                                                            4. 1/4 cup of grated parmesan                                                        5. Kosher salt                                                                                  6.  Ground black pepper                                                                  7.  1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, plus some more for sprinkling     

Let's Blend Up some Flavor!                                                          1. In a blender, combine the olive oil, chickpeas, and egg yolk until it forms a smooth consistency.                                                2. Transfer mixture into a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.                                                                               

3. Add 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour and mix with the chickpea mixture until a sticky dough forms. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time, until a soft dough forms.                                                                                           

4. Place into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.                                                                                       

5. Take dough out of the bowl and place onto a lightly floured surface and divide the dough into 4 sections.                            

6. Roll each quarter into a 3/4 inch thick rope and cut the rope into 3/4 inch long bite-sized pieces.                                             

7. Boil a pot of salted water and cook your desired portion of gnocchi until they float to the surface of the water (about 3 minutes).                                                                                            8. Drain the gnocchi and set aside into a bowl.                            9. The rest is up to you! You can crisp these little chickpea nuggets in a pan with some butter and garlic, leave them naked, or dress them with a basic pesto sauce.

Sydney Barish

And just like that, you're a pasta maker! This is such a simple recipe to make your dinner plate a little more interesting. Say goodbye to your dried pasta, you can now create your own.

So you're probably wondering where you've bean all this time. This article serves is overwhelming evidence showing the versatility of the chickpea and how it can be transformed into nearly anything. You are no longer in the dark.

Want more pasta substitutes? Check this out.

And that's how these chicks can become your new best friends. It's about time I spilled the beans.