When I start talking about chickpeas (garbanzo beans), all you carnivores get bleary-eyed and begin switching channels on me. But wait a minute. Take a second look. The more I read about garbanzo beans, a.k.a. chickpeas, the greater appreciation I have for the nutty, little nuggets. People have been eating this protein-packed, fiber-filled legumes for more than 5000 years. Now we know why. Studies show they regulate fat and blood sugar levels, lower risk of colon cancer, and boost antioxidants.
All this protection comes with eating just 1/3 cup per day. As a bonus, those studied consumed less food overall and fewer processed food snacks when they ate garbanzo beans. Hmm. . . I sense a new diet fad in the making.
I know what you’re thinking: garbanzos can be bland and about as tasteless as cold porridge. We serve them as hummus, in soups or mixed into a salad for more appeal. But unlike tofu, chickpeas often rebel at taking on the flavors around them.
Now America’s Test Kitchen has come up with a simple way to make your garbanzos more palatable. Before adding them to a dish or salad, heat the beans. The dressing can more easily penetrate the seed coat and cling to the chickpea. It’s worth a try.
After you’ve warmed your chickpeas, (90 seconds in the microwave with a little water added), take a look at the 29 mouthwatering recipes collected at HuffPo. (Two are pictured above.) Even the most ardent carnivore will find these hard to resist.
Canned garbanzos work fine in most dishes, but it’s easy to cook your own on the stovetop by adding 3 cups of water, or broth, to a pot for each cup of dried beans. The liquid should be one or two inches above the top of the legumes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer with pot partially covered for about 1 to 1 ½ hours.
If foam develops skim off; if beans need more cooking, add a bit more water and continue to cook until soft. Use in your favorite recipe or try one of those featured in this post.