Chickpeas have been blended into hummus, mashed into alternative protein and utilised for their leftover water (aka aquafaba) to make everything from vegan mayonnaise to desserts. Next year, however, could see even more varied applications for this nutritious legume.
Hummus milkshakes are already a thing over in that trendsetting city of New York. The team at Hummus & Pita Co created the vegan and gluten-free beverages earlier this year, made from chickpeas, tahini, banana, dates and almond milk. The burgeoning chain started offering the dessert-style shakes in five flavours: original, chocolate, strawberry, pistachio and butter pecan, before moving into seasonal versions like a pumpkin pie hummus shake (introduced in time for Thanksgiving).
Continuing the trend of turning this savoury eat into a treat is the emergence of sweet hummus. In the US, a brand called Delighted By is on Amazon and in Whole Foods, selling a vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free version of hummus in flavours like snickerdoodle, vanilla bean, chocomint, chocolate chip cookie and brownie batter hummus.
This dessert came to prominence when the entrepreneur behind it, Makenzie Marzluff, received $600,000 in funding for her company after appearing on Shark Tank (America’s version of Dragons’ Den). Mazluff described the range as tasting like cookie dough and suggested using the pots as a dessert dip, spread or even as a healthy frosting on a cupcake.
Sweet hummus has its own UK contender, too: a start-up called Hou, which was inspired by the US brand.Food Sparkt alked to its co-founder Harry Tyndall back in August about the chocolate, mixed berry and banoffee flavours it was planning to peddle. Tyndall touted the products as a bread spread, topping for muesli, accompaniment to fruit or pudding.
But it’s not just sweet concepts that are tackling the chickpeas. On the savoury front, green chickpea guacamole is set to grow – although that version of the legume isn’t as familiar to UK consumers. Waitrose did, however, incorporate it into a salad earlier this year.
Another extreme example could be chickpea fries, which E&O Kitchen & Bar in San Francisco serves up withchillies, anise, ginger and curry aioli.
Does Sparkie want a hummus shake with his chickpea fries?
Interestingly, I just saw some things akin to this recently: chickpea-based milkshakes being created in order to find a similar texture to freakshakes without all the dairy. Overall, I think the idea has sound footing, but I am not entirely sure how a regular consumer would react. The utilisation to create texture in dairy-free products will have an immediate market as long as the flavour isn't overbearing. Ingredion showed off some protein powders and functional ingredients based on chickpeas and beans a while back and the results of their use looked very positive too.
Sweet hummus might be a difficult sell beyond one-shot sales for the novelty value. At least in this country, chickpeas are sold purely as a savoury food and that mentality can be difficult to shift, based on other ingredients I have worked with that have defined roles like this. It’s possible but will take time.
In addition to this,I am also seeing the beginnings of commercial aquafaba usage, so overall I think that chickpeas seem to be fairly good as far as alternative uses go.