Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans…

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Chickpeas or garbanzo beans. Just different names for the same food. But no matter what you call them these beans can provide you with a flavorful source of protein that can enhance a variety of recipes.

Using garbanzo beans (or any bean for that matter) as your protein source is one of the most impactful ways you can improve your diet. In the Mediterranean Diet, the
recommendation is to replace some of the meat in your diet with beans, nuts and seeds more often.

A half cup of cooked chickpeas – without salt – contains around 130 calories, 22g
carbohydrates, 6g fiber, 7g protein, and 2g of fat. They also contain vitamins and
minerals, including folate, potassium, and iron.

If you’ve never purchased garbanzo beans, they can be found in several different
locations in the grocery store. Select the kind you buy based on your purpose, how
much time you have and your budget.

You can find them in bags or bulk bins with other dried peas, beans and lentils. If you’re not familiar with this section of the grocery store it’s worth the investigation because any of these products can be a good source of protein. These are usually the lowest in price of any of the bean/protein sources.

You can also get canned chickpeas. These are a great convenience item, because you can just open, rinse, and eat. Your best bet is to look for reduced-sodium or no-salt- added varieties. If you can’t find these, rinsing the canned beans before using them will reduce the amount of salt by about 30%.

Chickpeas can also be found in other areas of the store. You might also see chickpea- based pastas (usually gluten-free). There are also chips, roasted and puffed snacks made with chickpeas.

Starting with dried beans is the most time consuming (and least expensive) way to use garbanzo beans. Soak the dried beans overnight covered in water. Drain and add fresh water to cover and cook slowly until very tender. It usually takes 30-60 minutes. Dried beans can also be cooked in a slow cooker or in a pressure cooker. How long you cook and how tender you let them become depends upon their final use.

Hummus, a bean dip, might be the best-known use of chickpeas. In a recent “Med
Instead of Meds” class our Family and Consumer Science Agent, Avery AshleyMaster Food volunteers making humus recipeingredients used to make humus and our Extension Master Food Volunteers demonstrated an easy and quick recipe for hummus. This recipe uses canned chickpeas, but if you have some you’ve soaked and cooked yourself, they will work well too.

Homemade Hummus

  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drain (keep the liquid)healthy homemade chickpea hummus with olive oil and smoked paprika, wooden background, top view
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (or juice from 1 large lemon)
  • ¼ cup well-stirred tahini (ground sesame seeds)
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 Tablespoons water or aquafaba
  • Dash of ground paprika (optional)

In bowl of a food processor or blender combine the drained chickpeas, lemon juice,
tahini, garlic, olive oil, cumin and salt. Process 30 seconds, scrape sides and bottom of the bowl and process another 60 seconds or until well blended and smooth. If it is too thick or there are still bits of chickpeas, add 2-3 tablespoons of water or the liquid from the beans and continue processing. It should be creamy. Taste for salt. Serve drizzled with olive oil or a dash of paprika. Good with whole wheat pita bread, whole wheat pretzels, carrots and celery sticks. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to seven days.

There is a bonus hidden in that can or pot of chickpeas. It’s the liquid that’s drained off. Don’t throw it away! It’s called aquafaba. The word comes for Latin for water (aqua) and bean (faba). The starch and protein in aquafaba make it a binding agent, thickener and emulsifier. It can be whipped with cream of tarter to make dairy-free whipped topping. It’s also used as a substitute for eggs (3 tablespoons aquafaba = 1 whole egg). You’re going to have to experiment with this aquafaba a little because the protein and starch in it can vary greatly with each batch.

Here are a few more recipe items for using chickpeas from our Med Instead of Meds curriculum: