Annual legume (Cicer arietinum) widely grown for its nutritious seeds. The bushy 2-ft (60-cm) plants bear pinnate leaves and small white or reddish flowers. The yellow-brown peas are borne one or two to a pod. Chickpeas are an important food plant in India, Africa, and Central and South America. They are the main ingredient of hummus, a sauce originating in the Middle East. In southern Europe, chickpeas are a common ingredient in soups, salads, and stews. A kind of meal or flour is also made from chickpeas.