Are Chickpeas Keto?

Written by Tony Lozzi
on February 24, 2021

Are Chickpeas Keto? 

Not really, no. While it's possible to eat just about anything on a keto diet and "stay in ketosis", chickpeas aren't exceptionally keto-friendly. A single serving has around 13g of net carbs, and though garbanzo beans/chickpeas are healthy and full of protein, that's simply too many net carbs.

Can you make chickpeas work on a keto diet? It's debatable, and in very small quantities, but fortunately, other options fill a similar role as chickpeas for keto dieters. Let's investigate chickpeas, how they fit into keto, and what some alternatives might be.

Keto Rating: Bad

It needs to be stated that chickpeas are very healthy - they're full of iron, protein, and healthy fiber that's great for your gut. Even with the fiber content, they have, however, their net carbohydrate profile is simply too high for most keto dieters. Again, however, it's not that they themselves are unhealthy, it's just that you'll have trouble fitting them into your macros.

Examining chickpeas for keto dieters

Per 2-ounce serving, chickpeas are a nutritional powerhouse. They're packed with protein, healthy fat, fiber, and folate, along with iron and other trace minerals. So far so good, but they also have around 16 carbs, 13 of which are net for the same serving. Additionally, this is per 2-ounce serving, which is a very small amount of food. Most of the time, whether you're eating them roasted or in falafel, chickpeas are going to be in much greater serving sizes.

This makes their carb-to-benefit ratio too high to really consider for keto dieters. There are substitutes which we will look at, including versions of hummus and falafel that taste like the real thing without all the carbs. 

Chickpeas for the keto diet

Keto is not just about keeping your carbs in check - you also don't want too much carbohydrate to hit your system at the same time. It's possible to push yourself out of ketosis simply with too high of a blood glucose swing all at once. While it won't take long for your body to process these carbs and get you back on track, it's still a scenario that's best to be avoided.

The problem with chickpeas for keto is that when you eat a serving - if you only eat just 1 serving - you're ingesting a large number of carbs. Since it's virtually impossible to eat a small number of chickpeas and feel satisfied, they should be avoided altogether.


Chickpea Nutritional Facts

Per 1 cup serving:

  • Calories: 50
  • Fat: 0g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Carbs: 11g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Dietary Fiber: 6g
  • Sugar alcohols: 0g

For keto dieters who want the taste of beans or to use them in recipes where beans are needed, there are alternatives, like black soybeans:

Black soybean nutritional facts

Per 1/2 cup serving:

  • Calories: 120
  • Fat: 6g
  • Protein: 11g
  • Carbs: 8g
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Dietary Fiber: 7g
  • Sugar alcohols: 0g

Black soybeans are a slightly more fibrous version of traditional soybeans. They're great for keto because, in the various applications where you'd want beans, they're nearly indistinguishable. While they don't exactly taste like chickpeas, they can fill that desire for a beany dish as a side. Their biggest benefit for keto is the roasted snack you can pick up and crunch on.

Keto-friendly versions of chickpea recipes

While you can't have chickpeas, two of the most famous chickpea recipes are still totally doable in keto: falafel and hummus. In fact, keto hummus is better in a lot of ways because it's still delicious and you can eat more of it without worry about the carbs.

Keto hummus

  • This recipe by quintessential keto recipe gurus Ruled.Me is a delicious take on hummus that uses roasted cauliflower, blended until it's silky smooth. All of the traditional flavors are there, it's healthier than regular hummus, and you don't need to worry about carbs. It goes great with crisp veggies or pork rinds as a dipping instrument.
  • Keto Diet App has an interesting yet delicious version of hummus using soaked macadamia nuts and avocado. It's a great sub if you don't want cauliflower which admittedly gets old on keto sometimes.

Keto falafel

  • While it's harder to approximate a keto falafel than it is hummus, it is doable with some cauliflower and spices. This recipe from I Breathe I'm Hungry is a great side dish or main course when you want to eat a Mediterranean classic without the carbs.

Chickpeas are out, but there are other options for the keto diet

Even though chickpeas are healthy and delicious, they're not a good fit for the keto diet. They're too high in carbs for too small of a serving. Luckily, there are alternatives in both black soybeans, cauliflower, and other imaginative combinations of foods for your favorite chickpea recipes.

Although you can't enjoy chickpeas by themselves, roasted black soybeans are a great keto snack, and keto versions of falafel and hummus will have your cravings for the real thing sated. 

Using these alternatives can provide you with the tastes you love that you might be missing with keto.


Interested in keto snack ideas? We've listed 120+ options!

Published:  February 24, 2021  
Author: Tony L
Tony Lozzi is a keto adherent who lost over 200 pounds cutting carbs and lifting weights. He has researched low carb eating for over 10 years and runs, a keto blog dedicated to helping others lose weight with keto. He lives in the US with his wife, kids, and various cats..


Written by Tony Lozzi

Published: February 24, 2021