Difference Between Garbanzo Beans and Chickpeas

Garbanzo Beans vs Chickpeas

If you type garbanzo beans on Google, the results that it returns also include chickpeas, and in every informative site that talks about one of these two, the other name automatically gets mentioned. This confuses many, especially in the west, where this legume is making waves of late because of its nutritional properties and being so good for those having diabetes. In the US, this legume is sold under the name of garbanzo beans as well as Chickpeas that is what confuses the population. This article attempts to remove all doubts once and forever.

The world’s largest producer of chickpeas happens to be India where the recipe made of these chickpeas is commonly found in restaurants. People call it chana masala and thus chickpeas are referred to as chana with two distinct varieties being available, Kabuli, and Desi chana. Kabuli chana is lighter and rounder variety while desi chana is dark brown in color and called kala chana, Bengal gram, or simply local or native in India. The legume is versatile in the sense that it can be dried, and its flour used to make breads (called roti in India), or it can be cooked and made into a recipe. It is often eaten as a salad with other items. Sprouts of chickpea are considered to be very rich in protein and vitamins and sold in Indian cities as a snack, mostly during summers. Desi chana, when split and cooked, is eaten as chana dal, and is a common dish to be eaten as curry with rice. Garbanzo beans are known all over the world for their rich fiber content, and its ability to be a staple food for those afflicted with blood sugar.

In the western markets, it is common to find canned garbanzo beans as Kabuli chana or desi chana. Desi chana seems to have a dark coat that is also thicker than the coat of lighter ones used for making salads. Desi chana has far more antioxidants than Kabuli chana.

Garbanzo beans are known as Bengal gram, chickpeas, and Egyptian peas depending upon their source country. These beans have a buttery texture and an irregular shape that resembles the head of a ram and, therefore, being referred as small ram in some places. The taste of these beans is nutty.

The origin of garbanzo beans is traced to Middle East some 7000 years ago from where it spread to India and Africa. The beans became very popular in India, which is currently the largest producer of these beans. These beans were grown by Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians because of their taste and health benefits.


There is no difference between what are called Garbanzo beans or chickpeas and the only difference lies in their names depending upon their country of production. In Spain, people call it garbanzo while, in UK and nearby countries, it is called chickpea. In India, it is called Bengal gram and the two varieties, the Kabuli and Desi are names that are used in varieties sold in the west. Both garbanzo and chickpeas come from the same plant species called Cicer Arietinum.