Chickpeas are best known for their starring role in hummus, but these fiber- and protein-packed pulses can also give a nutritional boost to dessert recipes like chickpea cookies and chickpea blondies.

You're probably already a pro at sneaking good-for-you ingredients into your treats, whether it's adding kale to your cocktail, cucumber to your ice pops, or zucchini to your chocolate cake. The next step? Making desserts out of—wait for it—chickpeas.

If you’re scratching your head right now, trust us, we are not kidding. Not only are chickpeas part of the super-healthy pulse family (which includes lentils and dried peas in addition to chickpeas), but they also have a delightfully neutral flavor that lets them easily disappear into baked goods. So while you’re likely used to whirring chickpeas with tahini to make hummus or tossing them onto salads, they’re also great for adding a nutrient boost to sweet treats.As a bonus, if you’re gluten free or vegan (or making dessert for someone who is), all of these chickpea dessert recipes fit the bill.

Cinnamon-Cranberry Chickpea Blondies

Watch the step-by-step tutorial in the video above.

Yield: 16 bars

1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup smooth natural almond butter (about 4.5 oz.)
6 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 cup pitted dates (about 1.6 oz.)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins (about 2.75 oz.)

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8-inch square pan with coconut oil.
2. In a food processor, combine all ingredients except cranberries. Pulse a few times to mix. Scrape down sides of bowl, then process until batter is smooth, stopping to scrape down bowl as needed. Fold in cranberries.
3. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden around the edges and just set in the middle. Let cool in pan on a wire rack, then cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. Cut into squares and serve.

No-Bake Chickpea Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Yield: About 28

1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup pitted dates (about 2.25 oz.)
1/4 cup smooth natural cashew or almond butter (about 2 oz.)
6 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. almond milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (about 3 oz.)

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place all ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor; blend until smooth.
2. Transfer to a bowl and fold in chocolate chips. Freeze until dough is firm enough to scoop. Use a small cookie scoop to portion dough onto baking sheet; use lightly moistened fingers to press into cookie shapes. Store leftovers wrapped and refrigerated or frozen.

Secret-Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Yield: Serves 5

  • 6 oz. at least 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped (use dairy-free chocolate to keep it vegan, such as Hu Kitchen Simple Chocolate bars)
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup aquafaba (liquid drained from a 15-oz. can of chickpeas)
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. instant coffee
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Place chocolate and coconut oil in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from heat; let cool. (Note: Make sure the chocolate mixture is as cool as possible without firming up, otherwise it can seize when added to the aquafaba in step 3.)
2. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat aquafaba and salt until soft peaks form. (This can take up to 15 minutes, so don’t worry if it seems like it isn’t going to happen.) Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine maple syrup, coffee, and vanilla; stir until coffee dissolves. Lower mixer speed to medium-low and drizzle in maple mixture. Beat again for 1 minute.
3. Remove bowl from mixer. Pour in cooled chocolate mixture and fold together with a flexible spatula until all chocolate is combined and no streaks remain; be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl thoroughly. Work quickly to prevent the aquafaba mixture from deflating too much.
4. Spoon mousse into 5 small bowls and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. (If refrigerating longer, cover loosely with plastic wrap.)