There are few foods out there as versatile, well-known and loved as the chickpea. Depending on where you live, you may know it as a garbanzo bean, a chana, an Egyptian Pea, a gram, or if you’re extra scientific, Cicer arietinum. But you may not know the huge punch that these little beans can pack. Being a fan of them myself, I thought a little investigation into all their goodness (nutritionally and otherwise) was in order. Chkside1

Chickpeas have basically been around since the dawn of mankind. No, seriously, that long. Although they were first cultivated in the Middle East around three thousand years ago, evidence of them in the human diet have been found at archaeological sites as old as 7,500 years. There are several varieties, including red, white, black and green; while they can be grown in most sub-tropical climates, the greatest producer of chickpeas is India. And I do mean the greatest: as of 2013 they were producing 8.8 million tonnes annually. That’s more than the following nine countries’ production combined. Show offs. (Just kidding. That’s actually very cool.)