Chickpeas and Kidney Disease

Chickpeas are widely grown and consumed in many parts of the world because of their nutrition content and versatility in cooking. Chickpeas are a great source of plant-based proteins, fibre, vitamins like folate and vitamin C, as well as minerals like iron and phosphorus. Chickpeas are a stable in many dishes around the world like hummus, falafel, curries and soups. They are not only nutritious but delicious making them a great choice for plant-based diets. But you may be wondering, what about chickpeas and kidney disease?

Preparing Chickpeas and Kidney Disease

Dried chickpeas and canned chickpeas can both be used in a variety of dishes, but they require different preparation methods due to their different states. 

1. Dried Chickpeas: Dried chickpeas need to be soaked before cooking to rehydrate them and reduce their cooking time. After soaking, you can cook the dried chickpeas in various ways. You can boil the chickpeas in a large pot or you could even use a pressure cooker to reduce even more cooking time.

2. Canned Chickpeas: Canned chickpeas are pre-cooked and ready to use, so they require minimal preparation. Just make sure to drain and rinse the chickpeas as this helps remove excess sodium. While canned chickpeas are already cooked, you can heat them if desired. You can do this by simmering them on the stovetop in a sauce or by microwaving them briefly.

Nutritional Value of Chickpeas

Dried chickpeas generally have a slightly higher nutrient content, especially in terms of protein and fiber, because they are less processed and don’t have added sodium. Canned chickpeas are more convenient and require less preparation time, but you should be mindful of their sodium content if you’re watching your salt intake (important for CKD risk reduction). Rinsing them can help reduce sodium levels or look for no added salt options.

Reducing Potassium in Chickpeas

It iss possible to significantly reduce the potassium content in legumes, such as chickpeas and lentils. This is important for individuals with CKD who need to watch their intake of potassium and phosphorus because it means they can still include these foods. Traditionally, kidney disease patients were advised against consuming legumes due to their high mineral content, but a recent study has provided a safe method for them to enjoy legumes.

The method involves soaking dried chickpeas and lentils for at least 12 hours, discarding the soaking water (which contains potassium), and then cooking them either in a pressure cooker or by boiling in fresh water. This process lowers the potassium content. However, it’s important to note that phosphorus is not as effectively reduced through soaking, but recent research indicates that the phosphorus in legumes is poorly absorbed by the body. Check out this article for more information.

Enjoying Chickpeas and Kidney Disease

Curry is a popular dish originating from the Indian subcontinent but also enjoyed in many other parts of the world. It typically consists of meat, vegetables, or legumes cooked in a flavourful sauce or gravy, which is often seasoned with a blend of spices and herbs. It is a great way of enjoying chickpeas and kidney disease.


Chickpea Curry

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 29 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 white onion, medium 1 grated, 1 chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP ginger, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, no added salt, drained and rinsed
  • 1.5 cup water
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice


  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until the onion is lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the grated onion, garlic, ginger, and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
  • Add the cumin and cinnamon, and heat for about 5 minutes. Stir while heating.
  • Mash 1 cup of chickpeas, using a potato masher or fork. Add the mashed and remaining whole chickpeas to the pot. Stir to mix evenly.
  • Add the water and lemon juice and stir. Let simmer for 10 minutes, covered.
  • Serve over rice, or with naan bread and a salad.


This recipe was adapted from The Complete Renal Diet Cookbook.
Per serving: Calories: 185; Protein: 6g; Total fat: 8.5g; Saturated fat: 1g; Total carbohydrates: 23g; Fiber: 6.5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Phosphorus: 103mg;

This article was written by Natasha Arabian, Nutrition Student Volunteer. This article was reviewed by Emily Campbell, RD CDE MScFN.

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