Chickpeas – The Answer For 2015

Whether you are a vegetarian, flexitarian, paleo practitioner, or just interested in an inexpensive high fiber, high protein staple, chickpeas, (also known as garbanzo beans) are the answer for you! Not only are they delicious and easily available, the ways in which you can use them is almost endless.

Of course there is good old hummus with its many variations, but because of their mild flavor, chickpeas lend themselves to almost any dish you can imagine, and probably a few you never dreamed of. Check out this recipe for Braised Coconut Spinach & Chickpeas with Lemon – served over a sweet potato!  There is also recipe for Chickpeas and Chorizo Soup from The Kitchn that has been calling my name – along with ten other sumptuous garbanzo sporting recipes.

If you want to be super thrifty, you can soak and cook your own chickpeas for pennies, (One pound of dry chickpeas yields about four pints.) But in my book convenience rules, and seriously, you just can’t beat pulling out a 92 cent can of Wild Oats Organic Chickpeas, adding some stove time and sitting down to a great meal.

My most recent garbanzo adventure was a roasted red pepper hummus that did not hang around for after dinner engagements.

The list of healthy benefits associated with chickpeas is almost as long as the list of uses. According to Medical News Today, “A one-cup serving of raw chickpeas provides 50% of daily potassium needs, 2% vitamin A, 21% calcium, 13% vitamin C, 69% iron, 2% sodium, 55% vitamin B-6 and 57% magnesium. Additionally, chickpeas contain vitamin K, folate, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, choline and selenium.”

The type of fiber specific to garbanzos is a non-soluble one that “stays with you,” almost all the way through the digestive process. As a result, chickpeas have been proven to reduce cholesterol, curb hunger and aid in reducing calorie intake by helping you stay satiated.

A study by “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” reports that, women who ate legumes like chickpeas were 40 percent less likely to get type 2 diabetes than women that who didn’t.  That equals Can do!

Entire books have been written on the health benefits of this humble crop. See Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD, author of “IBS – Free at Last!” – But really, the best reason to eat them is that they taste great! Try them as a meat replacement in salads, soups stews, braised, curried, or in traditional meals like Chana Masala.

Feeling adventurous? Check out the colorful variations of our beloved tan or yellow Kabuli chickpea, the dark Desi, or the green harbhara. Studies have shown that these cousins of the garbanzo are even higher in beneficial antioxidants than their more familiar fellows. No matter what your diet or food preference is, no doubt you would be hard pressed to find another non animal protein source that is that is more nutritious, versatile and satisfying. Finally, I’m loving this list of recipes from Canadian Living!

To find out more about this lovely legume:

Recipes with chickpeas

What are the health benefits of chickpeas?

What’s New and Beneficial about Garbanzo Beans

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