Compared to the white chickpeas we're more familiar with, the black variety (known as ceci neri in Italian) has a dark, wrinkled outer skin and is much smaller. Black chickpeas are also richer in fiber (about three times) and rich in iron. Kala chana chickpeas are darker than regular chickpeas and have a more nutty flavor. They are firmer and hold their shape when cooked.
Kala chana doesn't become soft when boiled and takes longer to cook well. According to the USDA, black chickpeas are high in fiber and have a very low glycemic index. Chickpeas come in a variety of colors: green, black, brown and red, although the most popular and recognized color is beige. They have a buttery texture and a nutty flavor.
Black chickpeas are especially beneficial for growing children and active people who participate in a plant-based diet. The soluble fiber in black chickpeas binds to bile acids and prevents them from being absorbed by the body, reducing cholesterol levels. Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in black chickpeas, offer more nutritional value than simple carbohydrates and help keep blood sugar stable due to their slower release of glucose. To increase your intake of healthy fats by eating black chickpeas, try preparing them in curry or soup with coconut milk, or serve them with a little ghee or olive oil.
Black chickpeas are richer in fiber and iron, but have a protein and carbohydrate content similar to that of chickpeas.