As a legume, chickpeas are considered both a vegetable and protein food, thereby providing two important food groups at once. These nutty beans are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals -- and they provide fiber too.
Place them in a large bowl and cover with cold water. The chickpeas will expand to over double their size, so make sure you cover by several inches of water to allow for expansion. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let them soak overnight. Drain the water and rinse the beans before cooking.