Everyone had an opinion about our upcoming chickpea taste test. And by an opinion, I mean just that—like, the same opinion. “I vote for Goya!” one staff member chimed in. “Are you going to do it blind?” another asked. Should I? “Yeah, you should. Because I’m going to pick Goya. Brand loyalty.” A few days later, as I was opening cans, more commentary: “It’s got to be Goya.”
What is this? A chickpea club no one invited me to? (Also, doesn’t a chickpea club sound fun? Do you want to start one with me?) I’ve eaten plenty of canned garbanzos—more than I’ll ever admit, even to you—but I’m not committed to any one brand. I mean, they’re all, more or less, the same. Right?
We decided to put it to the test. Five cans, facing off: Which one is Goya? You tell me. (And by you, I mean my co-workers, who, very generously, ate very many chickpeas for this test.)
These were favorited by no one. Several mentioned “no salt” (not true, guys, but noted), while others remarked that they were “bland.” They were also noticeably firmer than their competitors. While this makes them well-suited for cooking—say, an olive oily braise—they won’t get an invite to our salads anytime soon.
Does organic mean less delicious? (Asking for a friend—the comment section is below!) Like the Trader Joe’s variety, these chickpeas were largely described as underseasoned. “Not a fan!” one remarked. The adjectives “bland,” “mealy,” and “mushy” were also thrown around.
One lone taste tester marked these the “Clear winner!” (And also underlined each word, just in case.) No one agreed with her. One person said these chickpeas tasted “canned, metallic.” Another called them “slimy.” A few did commend their effort, though: “Tastes very chickpea-y.” And “strong chickpea flavor.”
I’ll cut to the chase: Most of our taste testers declared these their favorite. One drew a heart. Another, a star. The beans were praised for being well seasoned and creamy—a friend to salads everywhere. Side note: This test took place over a couple hours, as staff swung to/fro editorial land at their leisure. As other chickpeas started to oxidize and turn grey, these ones, somehow, stayed perfectly rosy-beige.
A little curveball for all you Goya loyalists. Bon Appétit’s Basically declared these “The Best Canned Chickpeas.” Over here at Food52, we disagree. “These taste like meat,” one fan noted. “Yum.” Others, meanwhile, declared them underseasoned, from “neutral flavor” to “blandest so far.” Some considered their composition lackluster, from “kind of mushy” to “too much skin.”
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Are you loyal to one brand of canned chickpeas? Is it Goya? Discuss in the comments below!
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.