Tasty, nutritious and economical, there’s a lot to love about the humble chickpea. You can eat them hot or cold, blitzed, crushed, puréed, roasted, fried, simmered or braised. With houmous now a staple in many households, you could make your own, but there’s so much more to be enjoyed – and that includes the water that comes in the can, known as aquafaba.


When you need nibbles to accompany a pre-dinner drink, look no further than that can of chickpeas. Drain them (keeping the water for another recipe), then dry between sheets of kitchen paper. Toss with olive oil and sea salt, then roast in a hot oven, shaking the tray every 10 minutes or so, until crisp and dark golden.


Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with spices such as ground cumin, paprika or mild curry powder – or try fresh herbs such as finely chopped rosemary (lovely with some lemon zest). Eat while still hot. You can also sprinkle them over soups or salads in place of croutons. When cold they are less crunchy but still deliciously moreish


Mashed, crushed or puréed chickpeas are great at binding other ingredients, making them ideal for meat-free burgers, koftas, patties, pancakes and, of course, falafel. Simply blend chickpeas and a little of their water with some other ingredients and pulse or mash until you have a thick, coarse paste. Then shape, rub with a little oil to prevent sticking and fry, bake or barbecue until piping hot.


Have you heard about aquafaba? It’s the name given to the water tinned chickpeas come in and, believe it or not, it’s incredibly useful – especially as a plant-based alternative to eggs. Just whisk it up as you would egg whites, then add sugar to sweeten for a great meringue, or pop in some chocolate for a mousse. You can also use it for egg-free and vegan Yorkshire puddings, frittatas and light cakes.