The magic of Garbanzo beans or chickpeas is something I’ve been aware of for years. Long before I made the move to a plant-based diet, I added them to my cooking. Now that I’ve cut out meat and dairy, I have a new appreciation of their benefits and uses.
When I think of chickpeas I immediately think of hummus and salad bars. Two delicious uses to be sure but don’t limit yourself on how you eat them. Chickpeas are an excellent way to make lots of things you might miss when you go on to a plant-based diet. Like a meat replacement (later this week I’ll give you my recipe for chickpea taco meat. Yum!), or even a replacement flour.
They are versatile and easy to cook. They have a flavor but like chicken, I find that I can use them in a variety of ways just by seasoning them different. They can be textured, or creamy, smooth or gritty to fit your recipe needs.
Want a healthy crunchy snack you don’t have to feel guilt for eating. Bake cooked chickpeas in a low oven until crunchy and toss in your favorite seasoning. (I bake mine at 300 degrees for about an hour tossing every twenty minutes and toss mine in a mixture of salt, coriander, cumin, and chili powder.) They’re like corn nuts only tastier, healthy, and not as hard on your teeth.
Chickpeas are packed in nutrition. Just two cups cover your entire daily fiber need and studies have shown that chickpea fiber is better at blood fat regulation. That means if you have trouble with cholesterol these are the legumes for you. They can help reduce total cholesterol and triglycerides.
But fiber isn’t their only great benefit. They contain, manganese ( a strong antioxidant), folate (an essential B vitamin), phosphorous ( needed for bone health), and zinc (great for the immune system). Chickpeas are also a great source of protein and iron.
With so much goodness what’s not to love? They can be a low-cost alternative protein source. A bag of uncooked chickpeas costa less than $2 at my local grocery store. But you don’t have time to soak beans you say. This is not true. Soaking can happen overnight or while your off at work. What’s more likely is you forgot to soak them. (This is completely understandable and happens to me all the time.) As a note, you can quick soak beans and it works just as well as overnight soaking in most cases but it still adds an hour to your meal prep time.
We all have hectic schedules and getting out the door in the morning can be struggle without having to remember to set a pot of beans to soak while you’re out. Well, good news! Canned chickpeas work just as well as dried for most recipes. Aside from possible BPA contamination you can find in some canned foods (check with the manufacturer to find out if they use BPA in their processing), chickpeas, unlike other forms of canned foods like vegetables, retain most of their nutritional benefits in the canning process.
So, no more excuses, get out those garbanzo beans and start cooking healthy, nutritious meals your family will love. This week, I will share test recipes I’ve found and give you one of my own. What’s your favorite way to eat chickpeas? Do you have a favorite recipe?
I am not a nutritionist, dietitian, or medical professional of any kind. I am just a regular person sharing my personal journey on a way to a healthier, more satisfying life. Consult with a medical professional before starting any new exercise or diet plan. Please see full disclaimer here.