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Perhaps the most unlikely of ingredients to rise to fame in recent years is aquafaba, which is essentially the liquid left over from cooking chickpeas, or even just the drainage from a can of chickpeas which of course is normally just thrown away. The gloopy water has a similarly viscous properties to egg whites and can be used in a similar way for a number of recipes, for example whipped up to form a meringue.
Chickpea flour, or gram flour as it's often called, is a healthy gluten-free option to use in a number of ways such as to make flat breads, frying batter or adding bulk and flavour to falafel. One of the most interesting applications though is mixed with water as a substitute for egg in a Spanish omelette. In fact this vegan version of the classic tapas dish can be created even more cheaply and easily than the original and is great to include on your menu for customers with an egg allergy.
Used to add a meaty bite to soups and stews, chickpeas have traditionally been employed to provide depth to vegetarian and vegan dishes. Due to the high protein content both their texture and flavour is reminiscent of meat and they are also similarly filling too. Chefs are now using them as meat substitute for fast food options too though, for example the topping in a Moroccan-style veggie burger or mixed in with nachos or dirty fries.
Surely the chickpea's most famous application is mashed with tahini, lemon and garlic to form one of the world's favourite dips, hummus. With its healthy properties and versatility the enduring popularity of hummus seems unlikely to fade any time soon, not least because it's so easy to adapt by adding new flavours. Pick from the seasons to keep your dips fresh throughout the year with beetroot, avocado, pea and carrot hummus.
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