National Chickpea Day Date in the current year: April 21, 2024

National Chickpea Day Chickpeas are a staple food in some regions and a key ingredient in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. If you love chickpeas and chickpea dishes, don’t forget to celebrate National Chickpea Day on April 21.

The chickpea (Cicer arietinum) is a legume that belongs to the subfamily Faboidae of the family Fabaceae. Its wild ancestor is Cicer reticulatum native to southeast Turkey. Chickpeas are believed to have been domesticated in what is now Turkey around 9,500 years ago. From there, they spread to the Mediterranean region and then to the Indian subcontinent. Today, chickpeas are cultivated in many parts of the world; the world’s largest producer of chickpeas is India, followed by Turkey, Myanmar, and Pakistan.

There are two main chickpea varieties: desi chana and kabuli chana. Desi chana is the principal chickpea variety in the Indian subcontinent; it is also grown in Ethiopia, Iran and Mexico. Desi chickpeas are small and dark (green, black or speckled) with a rough coat. Kabuli chana, also known as garbanzo bean or white chickpea, is larger and lighter-colored with a smoother coat. It is mainly grown in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Northern Africa, South America, and parts of the Indian subcontinent. A less common chickpea variety, ceci neri (black chickpea) is grown exclusively in southern Italy. It is darker than even desi chana and around the same size as kabulic chana.

Chickpeas are valued for their nutritional benefits. They are an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber, folate (vitamin B9) and certain dietary minerals (manganese, iron and phosphorus), as well as a moderate source of thiamine (vitamin B3), vitamin B6, zinc and magnesium. When chickpeas are cooked or germinated, their proteins become richer in essential amino acids such as isoleucine, lysine, and tryptophan. Due to their high nutritional value, chickpeas are often used as a meat substitute in vegetarian and vegan dishes.

Chickpeas are a key ingredient in several cuisines. They can be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, salads, stews and curries, falafel and other deep-fried snacks, hummus (chickpea dip), polenta-like porridge, and even confections. Chickpea flour, also known as gram flour or besan, can be used to make bread, unleavened pancakes, various snacks, and sweets. In addition to being consumed by humans, chickpeas are used as animal feed because of their high nutritional value.

National Chickpea Day has been celebrated every April 21 since 2020. It was created by HIPPEAS, a Los Angeles-based producer of organic chickpea snacks. There are many ways to celebrate this amazing holiday: you can learn more about the health and nutritional benefits of chickpeas, go out to your favorite Middle Eastern or Indian restaurant, cook chickpea dishes at home, buy some chickpea snacks, and spread the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtags #NationalChickpeaDay and #ChickpeaDay.

Other chickpea-related holidays include International Hummus Day and International Falafel Day. International Hummus Day is celebrated annually on May 13 in honor a popular Middle Eastern dip made with chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice, and garlic. International Falafel Day is observed on June 12. It is dedicated to Middle Eastern chickpea fritters and sandwiches filled with them.

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National Chickpea Day, food days, food holidays, observances in the United States, chickpeas