the magical chickpea

The Magical Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean)


Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans as I knew them, were a daily staple in my childhood. We ate them every single night in our salad. Growing up vegetarian, these were one of our standard forms of protein as were all legumes and nuts. Further, chickpeas are inexpensive running under $1 a can. We buy cases of them at Costco to keep on hand. What I didn’t realize is how versatile and honestly, magical, chickpeas are, especially for a gluten, dairy, egg and nut free lifestyle! They are a must with any vegan lifestyle as well. Chickpeas are the most widely grown legume in the world second only to soybeans, and they are a staple in Mediterranean, Indian and African cooking. So let’s start off with the health benefits of these nutrient packed beans!

Chickpeas are an excellent source of fiber and protein. Believe it or not, just 1 cup of these contains roughly 1/3 of your daily requirement! And why is fiber important? Because it makes you feel full longer and it helps keep the pipes running smooth (if you know what I mean). High fiber means you eat less in the long run and it also keeps your blood sugar stable and helps to lower cholesterol.

They are also high in iron and protein which is something that most vegetarians lack since meat is the most common way to get these essential nutrients. Chickpeas are a great clean source of protein with a very low rate of allergens. Just one cup of chickpeas has more protein than 2 eggs! So let’s get on with the eating part of this. How exactly do you eat chickpeas? That is EASY! Let’s get started with the simplest way which is to just add them to your salad. As I said above, every single salad I had as a child had chickpeas in it. And I have carried that on in my own family. When our son was little, he would sit on the counter and just eat them straight out of the can while I was making dinner. They are soft and creamy and just delicious!

For a super affordable, delicious and crunchy snack that tastes a bit like cornuts, you can make seasoned roasted chickpeas. These can be sweet or savory, depending on your use. Savory crunchy cornuts are a great crouton substitute in salads, especially Caesar salads. They are also great as a sprinkle on creamy soups. One flavor variation that is always a hit is ranch chickpeas. If you can tolerate dairy, these ranch chickpeas by A Zesty Bite are great! Ranch Roasted Chickpeas

Image result for zesty bite crunchy ranch chickpeas

 

As for a sweet crunchy snack, you can’t go wrong with cinnamon and sugar. Try these delicious Roasted Cinnamon Sugar Chickpeas by Sally’s Baking Addiction for a great snack to pack in your kids lunchbox!

For more great crunch chickpea flavor variations, check out this great site! 14 Delicious Crispy Roasted Chickpea Variations

Chickpeas are always in our gluten, dairy, egg and nut free pantry. We use them for sauces, snacks, binders, toppings, just about anything you can think of. Really, they work in almost anything! The last thing I want to mention is Aquafaba which is something I discovered about a year ago and will change the game for you when baking top 8 free. If you don’t know what aquafab is, don’t feel bad, I hadn’t heard of it either until about a year ago What the heck is it? Brace yourself….it is the liquid brine that chickpeas are canned in. Now I don’t know who ever thought of trying this liquid as an egg alternative, or how something this odd works, but it does. This brine that we all throw out is magic and whoever discovered it’s magical benefits is a culinary genius! Aquafaba replaces egg; 1 egg = 3 tablespoons of aquafaba. Would you believe it even makes meringues?!

 

If you don’t believe me, check out this great article from the Vegan Society on 20 great things you can make with aquafaba.

20 Amazing Things You Can Do With Aquafaba

LET’S GET TO THE RECIPES!

SWEET:

Vegan Chickpea Cookie Dough

Other Great Dessert Recipes with Chickpeas

SAVORY:

Pasta with Creamy Chickpea Sauce- This has been on our family’s rotation for almost 20 years now. We loved this way before we even knew about our son’s food allergies!

Chickpea Burgers – these great meatless burgers by The Minimalist Baker are delicious!

Chickpea “Chicken” Salad – this is great plant based alternative to the usual chicken salad. My kids don’t like the bell peppers so we just take them out. This recipe is from Ohsheglows which is a wonderful blog with tasty, creative recipes!

BBQ Chickpea Chopped Salad with Avocado Ranch – So great for the summer!

Easy Chickpea and Vegetable Curry with Quinoa – We love curry in this house so this is great for a meatless monday.

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