Chickpea breadcrumbs are a single ingredient gluten-free and grain-free breadcrumb alternative. You can use chickpea crumbs in place of classic breadcrumbs in any recipe to add flavor, protein, and fiber while keeping the same crunchy breadcrumb texture.
I am a huge fan of all things chickpeas – hummus, falafel, socca bread, chickpea croutons, and now chickpea breadcrumbs. I am not sure if I should call them chickpea breadcrumbs or chickpea crumbs?
Anyway, lately, I have seen quite a few recipes calling for chickpea crumbs by Watusee. I think it’s the only company that currently sells chickpea breadcrumbs. To be honest, I have never tried their chickpea crumbs because when I looked at the ingredient list – “chickpeas” – I figured I could make the “breadcrumbs” at home at a much lower price. For the price of one package (which is $10!), you can buy enough chickpeas to make five times that amount.
As you might suspect, chickpea crumbs do have a slight chickpea flavor, but the flavor is not overpowering. If you add these breadcrumbs to a recipe with stronger flavors, you can’t taste them at all. The texture is very similar to panko breadcrumbs. It has the course little pieces of the crumbs and the ‘crispy’ texture due to its flaky nature.
Tips for Making Chickpea Breadcrumbs (Chickpea Crumbs)
This recipe calls for only one basic ingredient:
- Chickpeas: you can use either dried or canned chickpeas. The advantage of using canned chickpeas is that other than rinsing, there’s no prep involved. However, dried chickpeas excel in flavor. Dried, soaked chickpeas have a more subtle flavor with nutty undertones. Canned chickpeas have a more of a metallic, bean-y taste.
- Seasoning (optional): you can keep the chickpea crumbs plain or add seasoning. Adding a little bit of parsley, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, and salt, can transform the chickpea crumbs into those savory breadcrumbs you can get in the store.
How to Make Chickpea Breadcrumbs
My method for how to make chickpea breadcrumbs is really simple. Here’s how it goes:
- Soak. Add the dried chickpeas into a bowl, cover them with water, and let them soak for ~ 24 hours. This step is really important because if the chickpeas aren’t sufficiently softened, they will not break down easily. Once soaked, drain the chickpeas and rinse them thoroughly. Note: if you decide to cook the chickpeas, a shorter soaking time is perfectly fine.
- Process. Add the soaked chickpeas into a food processor and pulse them until chopped. If you’re using cooked chickpeas, be careful not to purée the chickpeas. The chickpeas should retain some of their texture.
- Bake. Spread the processed chickpeas into a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake them at 350°F/176°C until dry, for 15-20 minutes. Make sure the chickpeas aren’t too crowded otherwise they won’t dry out properly. Use two baking sheets if needed.
- Process. Transfer the baked chickpeas into the food processor once again (the chickpeas will be somewhat clumped together at this point) and process them until you get a breadcrumb-like texture. The texture will depend on what you’re using the chickpea crumbs for. If the purpose is coating or binding, do a finer pulse (I usually use my Vitamix to do the final pulse). If the purpose is topping, you can do a coarser pulse.
How to Use Chickpea Breadcrumbs
By now, you’re probably wondering how these crumbs perform in different recipes.
Chickpea breadcrumbs are drier than regular breadcrumbs. This can be a good thing because they don’t really get soggy. The downside is that they stay quite dry. So, if you’re using the chickpea crumbs for coating, bread very lightly.
Chickpeas are a very good binder. So, you if you need grain-free breadcrumbs for binding, chickpea crumbs are a great option.
Finally, you can these crumbs as a topping, which is a widespread preparation in Southern Italy. The story goes that poor Italians began to grate stale bread over pasta when they couldn’t afford Parmesan. Though breadcrumbs might have been poor man’s cheese at one point, that’s no longer the case. In fact, chickpea breadcrumbs can provide a lot of flavor and add a nice crunchy texture. The key is to sauté the breadcrumbs with a little bit of olive oil, minced garlic, freshly chopped herbs, and some lemon zest until fragrant and golden brown.
How to Store Chickpea Breadcrumbs
- Refrigerating: transfer the chickpea breadcrumbs into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 month.
- Freezing: transfer the chickpea breadcrumbs into an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months.
Recipes with Chickpea Crumbs
I use chickpea crumbs in many of my recipes including:
If you try any of these recipes, please, leave a comment and rate the recipe below. It always means a lot when you do.
- 1 cup dried chickpeas , soaked*
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning (optional)
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder (optional)
- 1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
- Preheat the oven. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven. Heat the oven to 350°F/176°C.
- Process. Add the soaked chickpeas into a food processor and pulse them until chopped. If you're using cooked chickpeas, be careful not to purée the chickpeas. The chickpeas should be coarse, not smooth/paste-y,
- Bake. Spread the processed chickpeas into a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake until dry to the touch, for 15-20 minutes. Make sure the chickpeas aren't too crowded otherwise they won't dry out properly. Use two baking sheets if needed.
- Process. Transfer the baked chickpeas into the food processor once again (the chickpeas will be somewhat clumped together at this point) and process them until you get a breadcrumb-like texture. The texture will depend on what you're using the chickpea crumbs for. If the purpose is coating or binding, do a finer pulse (I usually use my Vitamix to do the final pulse). If the purpose is topping pasta or other dishes, you can do a coarser pulse.
- Bake (optional). If the chickpea crumbs are still moist at this point, transfer them back onto the baking sheet and bake them until completely dry, 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, you can also leave the baking sheet in the hot oven (that has been turned off) for additional 20-30 minutes.
- Season (optional). If you'd like to season the chickpea crumbs, add the dried herbs, garlic powder, and salt and toss until combined.
- Store. Chickpea crumbs keep well in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. For longer term storage, freeze in an airtight container for up to 6 months.