We'll be the first to admit that we've been a tiny bit obsessed with dried legumes of late.
It got us thinking about one staple legume—the humble chickpea—and whether it actually tastes better in dried or canned form. We've been known to soak the dried ones overnight when we have the time, but we aren't against using the canned variety in a time crunch.
So we set out to find out which one has the best flavor and texture, and blind tasted five batches of chickpeas (note: The dried ones were all cooked in the same amount of liquid). Here's what we found out.
Batch 1: Dried chickpeas, not soaked, cooked in water until tender
These took about two hours and 20 minutes to cook. They had the best flavor, with a nutty undertone. The chickpeas retained their shape and were creamy but not mushy, and the liquid came out a light golden brown color.
Batch 2: Canned chickpeas in their liquid, uncooked
Since they came straight out of the can (gross, we know!), they tasted a bit like "tuna fish," as one of our editors described. "'Metallic" and "mushy" were also used to describe them.
Batch 3: Dried chickpeas, soaked, cooked in their soaking liquid until tender
The soaked beans took only an hour and 20 minutes to cook. This batch was described as "beany" with the liquid having the cleanest and lightest flavor. The beans retained their shape the best out of any cooked variety.
Batch 4: Canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
These were described as mushy with a hint of "old person" and didn't have a lot of flavor. Out of the batches, our editors thought this tasted like regular canned chickpeas—and they were right.
Batch 5: Dried chickpeas, soaked, drained and cooked in fresh water
This batch was described as slightly astringent and very plain. It had the least amount of flavor of all the batches.
WINNER: Batch 3
Although canned chickpeas can be used in a pinch, for the best flavor, soak dried ones overnight and cook them in their soaking liquid.