If chickpeas could speak, they would say to rice: “You complete me.” As reported in The Journal of Nutrition, the protein quality of chickpeas is increased when they are consumed with rice, as opposed to when they’re consumed alone.
Why? Well, pulses like chickpeas are low in the essential amino acid methionine, and anti-nutritional factors in chickpeas can also influence methionine bioavailability in the body.
On the flip side, rice contains higher amounts of methionine that is more bioavailable. So, when you team the two up, you get a meal with a higher protein quality. With rising interest in plant-based eating, it would be useful to see how other pulse-grain combos perform—say, for example, kidney beans and quinoa, or lentils and bulgur. There could be lots of great nutritional hookups out there.