After centuries of existence as an understated protein powerhouse, chickpeas are having a moment.

A staple of cuisine from the Mediterranean, where it was first cultivated, the legume adds depth to curries and is at the root of creamy hummus and fluffy falafel. When roasted and seasoned, chickpeas are a delightful snack, salad topping and garnish, a crunchy option popular with both home cooks and chefs. You'll find them at restaurants across the Twin Cities, both on the menu and the marquee. (The Four Seasons' Socca Cafe gets its name from the chickpea crêpe socca.)

One of chickpeas' best assets is their ability to flex in a variety of diets. Rich in fiber, carbohydrates, proteins and minerals, chickpeas are a frequent stand-in in meatless meals. Don't toss its starchy liquid; aquafaba is a surprisingly effective replacement for eggs, a boon for those with allergies. And chickpea flour, now widely available, gives cooks another gluten-free alternative.

Find chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) dried or canned, but be sure to keep them on hand. There's a reason they've hung on so long.