Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

chickpea Cicer arietinum, a small legume which was first grown in the Levant and ancient Egypt (the earliest finds date from c.8000 bc), but is now an important food in many parts of the world, especially the broad band of countries extending from India through the Middle East to N. Africa and the Mediterranean—where it was disseminated perhaps by the Phoenicians and certainly by the Romans. It also has some importance in ethiopia. In Spanish-speaking lands, it is called the garbanzo, that name deriving from the ancient Greek erebinthos.