Besan flour is a type of flour made from chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. It is a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine, and its nutty flavor and versatility make it a great addition to many recipes.
Besan flour can be used to make pancakes, crepes, bread, and even desserts. It is often used as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour.
When combined with water or milk, it forms a paste that can be used as a binding agent or thickener in soups and sauces.
Besan flour is high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s also a good source of fiber and protein, which makes it good for boosting weight loss.
Furthermore, besan flour is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it beneficial for those with conditions like arthritis or diabetes.
See also How To Cook Chickpeas and Acidic Foods To Avoid
Besan Flour Nutrition
One cup (92 grams) of chickpea flour contains:
- Calories: 356
- Protein: 20.6 grams
- Fat: 6 grams
- Carbs: 53 grams
- Fiber: 10 grams
- Folate: 402 mcg, or 101% of the recommended daily value (DV)
- Manganese: 1.5 mg, or 74% of the DV
- Copper: 0.8 mg, or 42% of the DV
- Magnesium: 153 mg, or 38% of the DV
- Thiamine: 0.4 mg, or 30% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 293 mg, or 29% of the DV
- Iron: 4.5 mg, or 25% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 0.5 mg, or 23% of the DV
- Potassium: 778 mg, or 22% of the DV
- Zinc: 2.6 mg, or 17% of the DV
Health Benefits of Besan Flour
1. An excellent source of protein
With a cup of besan flour providing almost 41 percent of your daily requirement, it’s without a doubt one of the best plant-based protein sources for vegans or anyone on a plant-based diet.
Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps our bodies to function properly. It is involved in many important processes, including the growth and repair of cells, the production of hormones and enzymes, and the strengthening of bones.
Protein is also a key player in weight management, as it can help to promote feelings of fullness and control hunger levels. This makes it an important nutrient for those looking to lose or maintain weight.
2. Besan flour is also a good source of iron
Iron is essential for carrying oxygen around the body and for maintaining energy levels. Anemia, or iron deficiency, is a common problem, particularly among women. Adding besan flour to your diet can help increase your iron intake and prevent anemia.
3. Lowers cholesterol
Another benefit of besan flour is that it can help to lower cholesterol levels. This is again due to the high fiber content; fiber helps to bind with cholesterol in the gut and prevent it from being absorbed into the bloodstream.
High cholesterol levels are a risk factor for heart disease, so eating foods that can help lower cholesterol can be beneficial for heart health.
4. Regulates blood sugar
This is due to the high amount of fiber that it contains. Fiber helps slow down glucose absorption into the bloodstream, preventing spikes in blood sugar levels.
Besan flour also has a low glycemic index, which makes it beneficial for regulating blood sugar levels in diabetes and prediabetes.
5. Weight loss
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that subjects who consumed besan flour lost more weight and body fat than those who didn’t. The high protein and fiber content of besan may help to promote satiety and reduce calorie intake.
6. It’s gluten-free
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.
When consumed, gluten binds to receptors in the intestine and sets off a cascade of events leading to inflammation.
Choosing a gluten-free flour like chickpea flour is one way to prevent inflammation-related complications.
Besides, chickpea flour is a good option for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities.
7. Improves Digestion
Chickpea flour is a good source of dietary fiber, which can help improve digestion. Fiber helps to bulk up stools and make them softer, making them easier to pass.
Additionally, fiber can help to reduce constipation and diarrhea. Chickpea flour is also a good source of prebiotics, which are food for probiotics (good bacteria) in the gut. Probiotics help to keep the gut healthy and improve digestion.
8. Boosts Energy Levels
The humble chickpea is a powerhouse of nutrients, and its flour is no different. Packed with protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates, chickpea flour is slowly absorbed by the body, providing sustained energy levels throughout the day. It’s also high in iron and B vitamins, which are essential for converting food into energy. And if that wasn’t enough, chickpea flour is also a good source of magnesium – a mineral that plays a role in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including energy production.
9. Improves Brain Function
Chickpea flour is a good source of folate, which is important for brain function. Studies show that folate can help improve cognitive function and memory. Chickpea flour is also a good source of iron, which is important for proper blood flow to the brain. Iron helps carry oxygen to the brain and supports healthy brain function.
Besan flour is also rich in vitamin B6, which is important for brain health. It helps to produce neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that carry signals between nerve cells. Neurotransmitters are important for mood, memory, and other cognitive functions. Vitamin B6 also helps to protect the brain from damage caused by inflammation.
10. Rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that prevent or delay cell damage by neutralizing unstable molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and other environmental pollutants.
While your body does produce some antioxidants on its own, you can also get them from the foods you eat. Ground chickpeas are a good source of antioxidants, as they contain high levels of flavonoids, polyphenols, and carotenoids.
They also contain vitamins A and C and minerals like manganese and copper, all of which have been shown to have numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
11. Strengthens bones
Besan flour is rich in calcium, which is essential for bone health. Calcium helps to build and maintain strong bones. It also helps prevent osteoporosis, a condition that can lead to weak and fragile bones. Besan flour also contains other nutrients that are important for bone health, including phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin D.
Additionally, this flour is rich in protein which plays a vital role in bone health. Protein is required for the synthesis of collagen, which is the major structural protein in bone. Collagen provides strength and support to bones, while also helping to keep them flexible.
How to make chickpea flour
If you want to learn how to make chickpea flour at home, it’s actually very simple to do. All you need is a food processor or high-powered blender and some dried chickpeas.
To make the flour, simply add the chickpeas to the food processor or blender and process until they are finely ground. This may take a few minutes, depending on your machine. Once the chickpeas are ground, remove them from the processor and transfer them to a fine mesh strainer.
Shake the strainer over a bowl to remove any excess chickpea flour. Store the flour in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to six months. Now you’re ready to use it in all your favorite recipes!
Besan flour recipes
If you’re looking for some delicious and nutritious recipes to make with chickpea flour, here are some of my favorite ones to try:
Chickpea flour pancakes
Chickpea flour pancakes are a great alternative to traditional pancakes made with wheat flour. They are high in protein and fiber, and they have a nutty flavor that goes well with sweet or savory toppings.
To make chickpea flour pancakes, you will need:
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 plant-based milk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegan melted butter
- Optional toppings: honey, syrup, fruit, nuts, cheese, etc
To make the pancakes:
- Start by mixing together the chickpea flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
- In another bowl, whisk together the milk and oil.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
If you want to add flavor to your pancakes, try adding some shredded vegan cheese or diced green onions.
To cook the pancakes:
- Heat up a frying pan over medium heat and grease with oil or butter.
- Scoop 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan for each pancake and cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown.
- Serve with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!
These pancakes are light, fluffy, and perfect for a healthy breakfast or snack.
Chickpea flour omelet
Chickpea flour omelets are a delicious, healthy, and easy-to-make breakfast option. They are high in protein and fiber and low in carbs and calories. You can make them plain or add in any veggies or spices you like. I like to add in some shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, and green onions.
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
- 1/2 cup shredded vegan cheddar cheese or mozzarella cheese
- Nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup veggies of choice: These may include broccoli, mushrooms, onions, kale, or spinach
1. In a bowl, add all the dry ingredients. Mix well.
2. Add water gradually and whisk to make a smooth batter without any lumps. The consistency of the batter should be that of a pancake batter. If the batter is too thick, add more water; if it’s too runny, add more chickpea flour.
Finally, add your chopped vegetables and mix well.
3. Heat a pan on medium heat and coat it with oil or ghee. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the hot pan and spread it evenly to make a thin omelet.
Cook for 2 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top of the omelet and cook for 1 minute or until the cheese is melted. Fold the omelet in half and transfer it to a plate. Serve immediately.
Chickpea flour quiche
Chickpea flour quiche is a delicious, gluten-free alternative to traditional quiche. Made with chickpea flour and plant-based milk, this quiche is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Add your favorite veggies to the mix and bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes. Enjoy your chickpea flour quiche hot out of the oven or cold – it’s delicious either way!
Chickpea flour muffins
If you haven’t tried making muffins with chickpea flour, you’re in for a treat! These besan flour muffins are light and fluffy with a subtly nutty flavor. They make a great breakfast or snack and can be easily customized to your taste.
To make these muffins, start by whisking together the dry ingredients: chickpea flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: plant milk, maple syrup, and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Then, fold in any desired add-ins. Some good options include chocolate chips, berries, chopped nuts, or spices. Pour the batter into a muffin tin lined with paper liners, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes.
There’s nothing like a warm, fluffy waffle for breakfast. And when they’re made with chickpea flour, they’re delicious and packed with nutrients.
To make the waffles:
- Start by whisking together the chickpea flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
- In another bowl, whisk together the milk (I like using almond milk) and oil.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until everything is well combined.
Preheat your waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Scoop the batter into the iron (depending on the size of your iron) and cook until golden brown. Serve with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!
- My Favorite Chickpea Recipes
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Besan flour is a powerhouse of nutrients and offers a host of health benefits. This humble ingredient does everything from improving digestion to regulating blood sugar levels. What’s more, it is easily available and can be used in a variety of recipes. So, don’t hesitate to give besan flour a try the next time you’re looking to improve your health. You’ll be glad you did!
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