Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are popular legumes similar to pinto or cannellini beans.
The Keto diet doesn’t restrict you from eating specific foods, as long as you stay within the recommended carbohydrate intake. Chickpeas, with 44 grams of carbs per 1 cup serving (*), are not keto-friendly.
When following the ketogenic diet, most approaches suggest staying under 30 grams of carbohydrates per day (*). If you wanted to include chickpeas in your daily intake, you would only be able to eat a very small amount, less than one 28-gram serving.
If chickpeas aren’t ketogenic-friendly, what about some popular foods made out of chickpeas, like hummus or falafel? How can you make these ketogenic-friendly? And what are the alternatives to chickpeas that won’t kick you out of ketosis?
Are Chickpeas Healthy?
Chickpeas are legumes that form a big part of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern diets, often processed and consumed in the form of hummus or falafel.
Chickpeas and most legumes are considered healthy wholefood because they have a balanced nutritional profile, with fiber, complex carbohydrates, protein, and low GI.
This means eating chickpeas won’t spike your insulin (*), making it a great choice for people trying to manage their blood sugar levels as well as diabetics.
Apart from having balanced macronutrients, chickpeas contain many vitamins and nutrients including Folate, Iron, Phosphorous, Calcium, and Vitamin C (*).
This nutritional profile gives chickpeas health-boosting benefits. Chickpeas may help prevent various chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. (*)
Are Chickpeas Allowed in Keto Diet?
Even though chickpeas are healthy and a clever choice for most people, we wouldn’t recommend the consumption of garbanzo beans as a part of your keto diet.
With 13 grams of net carbs per a small 2-ounce serving, and with keto being a very low carb diet, it would be hard to incorporate them into your daily meals.
Most ketogenic diet guidelines recommend a daily intake of under 30 grams of carbs. And even though chickpeas are not as high carb as some other foods, the 2-ounce serving is a small amount of chickpeas that would use up more than a third of your daily carb intake.
We think that’s not the best keto strategy.
Besides, the keto diet is not only about controlling the daily carb intake but also consuming low-carb foods in every meal. Ingesting too many carbs at the same time could kick you out of ketosis.
When in ketosis, your body utilizes fat instead of glucose for energy, promoting weight loss and other benefits of a keto diet (*).
What About Other Beans?
Okay, now that chickpeas are out of the question, can you satisfy your craving with other beans?
Most legumes, like pinto beans or black beans, have a similar macronutrient breakdown, consisting of complex starchy carbs, some protein, and fiber. This means they are not low-carb and unsuitable to eat on the keto diet.
The legumes with the lowest amount of carbohydrates, and most suitable for keto, are black soybeans. They contain only 2 grams of net carbs in a one-ounce serving, 10 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fat (*).
Sure, they taste different than chickpeas, but they can satisfy your craving when you feel like a fulfilling dish made out of beans.
Other legumes that would suit the keto menu better than chickpeas are peas or lentils. They are both high in fiber and protein, with a moderate amount of carbs. Peas contain 14 grams and lentils 24 grams of net carbs per 1 cup serving (*).
This is not a small amount. And although we would recommend you remain cautious with your serving, eating these beans on a low-carb diet is much more realistic.
Is Hummus Keto?
While chickpeas can be a nice addition to salads and side dishes, the most popular form in which people enjoy garbanzo beans is hummus.
Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip made out of cooked chickpeas blended with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and tahini, a smooth paste made out of sesame seeds.
Hummus has great nutritional value and impressive health benefits. It has been linked to improving blood sugar control, better digestion, fighting inflammation, and lowering the risk of heart disease (*).
You are probably asking how many carbs does this dip pack in?
For a half-cup serving, hummus will set you back with 16 grams of carbs. Again, not very ketogenic-friendly.
But hear us out, that doesn’t mean that all the hummus is off-limits on keto. While the store-bought hummus will probably be too high in carbs to be compatible with keto diet recommendations, you can make homemade keto-hummus that meet the needed requirement of net carbs per serving.
How to Make Low Carb Hummus?
This popular dip forms a big part of Middle Eastern cuisine and hummus literally means “chickpeas” in Arabic (*). But that certainly doesn’t mean that hummus can only be made out of chickpeas.
While buying hummus from the supermarket attracts with its convenience, most products contain sugar and other unwanted additives.
Making your own version of the dip will allow you to have full control over the ingredients. You can also adjust the amount of chickpeas you use, or whether you use chickpeas for your recipe at all.
Swapping chickpeas for roasted veggies or other legumes will have a big impact on the resulting amount of net carbs, as well as fiber and protein.
Even though making dips from scratch often seems like a lot of hassle, this is not the case with hummus. You only need a few ingredients and a food processor or a blender and you can eat your keto hummus in a matter of minutes.
Ideas for Keto-friendly Hummus
There are many recipe variations of making keto hummus at home and you can choose the recipe that appeals to your tastebuds the most.
Hummus is naturally fairly high in fat and contains a lot of olive oil. This is good news for keto dieters. Some of our suggestions when tweaking the original hummus recipe include swapping chickpeas for roasted cauliflower, or other veggies.
Blended roasted cauliflower will give hummus the needed creaminess, but feel free to experiment with lentils or other keto ingredients.
When you add the rest of the ingredients that contribute to the popular hummus taste, like tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic, you won’t be able to taste the difference.
You can eat your low-carb hummus with other keto foods. Try the dip with celery sticks or keto crackers for a satisfying afternoon snack.
What are some of the other alternatives to chickpeas?
Dips – for the recipe that calls for hummus or other dips, you can enjoy guacamole, sour cream, yogurt, or mayonnaise, which are all high in fats and low in carbs, therefore, suitable for the keto diet.
Falafel – if you’re craving falafels, you can swap the chickpeas for cauliflower or other vegetables low in carbs.
Consider using other legumes like lentils, that would be easier to fit into your keto carb budget. We recommend coating them in almonds for that crispy satisfying texture.
Make sure you use Middle Eastern spices for an authentic flavor.
Chickpea recipes – for recipes that call for chickpeas, like curries or Middle Eastern dishes, we recommend using mushrooms.
They are versatile, low in carbs and calories, and can absorb a lot of flavor from spices, making them suitable for a wide range of recipes.
Thinking outside of the box – if you are not afraid of experimenting, the next time you get a chickpea craving, try boiled peanuts instead.
This can sound unusual, but boiled peanuts have a similar texture to chickpeas, making them suitable for a variety of recipes.
Final Thoughts: Are Chickpeas Keto-Friendly?
Eating chickpeas is not keto-friendly. Even though this legume is healthy and packs a lot of nutritional value, it is too high in carbs and therefore, not suitable for a keto diet.
If you’re craving chickpeas, try other alternatives such as black soybeans which are very low in carbs and high in protein. If you watch your serving size, peas or lentils could also fit your keto menu.
Even though most store-bought hummus would be too high in carbohydrates to suit the keto diet, it is easy to modify the traditional recipe to make your own ketogenic-friendly hummus that is high in fiber and fat and eat it as a snack with other ketogenic-friendly foods.
If you’re craving other chickpea foods like falafel or chickpea curry, you can modify the traditional recipes by swapping chickpeas for cauliflower, mushrooms, or others veggies, therefore lowering the carbs and calories per cup serving.
Chickpeas are healthy but they are not low in carbs, which makes them hard to fit the keto diet. But there are plenty of alternatives that can satisfy your craving for popular chickpea dishes, like falafel or hummus.