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Chickpeas give snacks and salads a healthy boost

Adding one-half cup or 100 grams of cooked chickpeas, beans, peas or lentils to your daily diet can provide a significant contribution to the recommended daily intake of protein, fibre, B vitamins and minerals like iron, potassium, manganese and folate.

The United Nations declared 2016 as the International Year of Pulses to increase awareness of the nutritional and environmental benefits of increased pulse consumption and production.

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, get their name from the chicken beak-like point on the side of the seed.

They are a dry edible seed legume found in the pulse crop category along with peas, beans and lentils.

Chickpeas are a dry seed so they need to be soaked and slowly cooked to make them edible.

Check them before rinsing or soaking, remove seeds that are shriveled or have broken skins and discard pebbles, dirt clumps or twigs. Place in a sieve and rinse.

For every one cup (250 mL) of chickpeas, soak with three cups (750 mL) of water.

Soak eight hours or overnight in the refrigerator. For a quick soak, place the chickpeas in a large pot and bring to a gentle boil for two minutes, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for one hour.

Once soaked, drain and rinse the chickpeas. For every cup of chickpeas, add 2 1/2 – 3 cups (625 to 750 mL) water. Place in a large pot and slowly simmer 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Each cup (250 mL) of dry chickpeas will yield 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) of cooked chickpeas.

To prevent foaming while cooking, add one teaspoon (5 ml) of oil to the cooking water.

Seasonings like garlic, onion or herbs can also be added while cooking. Acids slow the cooking process, so tomatoes or vinegar should not be added until the chickpeas are tender.

Cooked chickpeas can be stored in the freezer for up to six months. Separate into one or two cup (250 or 500 ml) portions and lay flat in freezer bags or small containers.

Canned, pre-cooked chickpeas are convenient and ready to use. Rinse and drain before using to reduce any sodium added during the canning process. They store well in a cool, dry place for up to one year.

Chickpea purees can be used in dips and baking. Place cooked or rinsed and drained canned chickpeas into a food processor.

For every one cup (250 mL) cooked, add 1/4 cup (60 mL) water. Blend to make a smooth puree, with a consistency like canned pumpkin.

If needed, add one additional tablespoon (15 mL) of water at a time.

Puree can be frozen in plastic bags and kept for several months.

Chickpea flour can be used in a variety of recipes and is a great ingredient to use in gluten-free recipes or to boost the fibre in baked goods.

Chickpea Hummus

Hummus is a Middle Eastern staple popular in Europe and North America.

  • 2 c. cooked chickpeas 500 mL
  • or 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 540 mL
  • 1⁄3 c. tahini paste 75 mL
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice 60 mL
  • 3 tbsp. canola oil 45 mL
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin 2 mL
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
  • 1/3 c. water mL
  • 1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce 2 mL
  • or
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. chili powder 1 – 2 mL

Place chickpeas in blender or food processor with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, oil, cumin and salt. Puree, adding just enough water to make creamy, smooth mixture. Use more than 1⁄3 cup water if needed.
Add hot pepper sauce or chili powder to your liking.
Serve in a bowl with pita cut into wedges or tortilla chips. Garnish the top of the hummus with a light sprinkling of chili powder.
Another option is to use tortilla chip scoops. Place a spoonful of hummus in the scoop and top with cucumber and tomato slices or carrot and celery sticks. Mini tart shells could also be used. Bake and allow to cool completely before adding hummus and vegetables.
Hummus also makes a great sandwich filling along with lettuce and tomatoes on a multi-grain flat bread. Use hummus as a mayonnaise substitute in sandwiches.
Note: Tahini is sesame seed paste sold in the Middle Eastern food section or the peanut butter section of your grocery store.
Unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter may be used to replace tahini.
Yield: 15 – 20 servings. Adapted from www.pulsecanada.com.

Vegetarian Chickpea Sandwich Filling

This filling tastes like an egg salad sandwich filling without the eggs. Other raw, chopped vegetables can be added or used to replace the celery.

  • 2 c. cooked chickpeas 500 mL
  • or 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 540 mL
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 large dill pickle, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. mayonnaise 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice 15 mL
  • 1 tsp. dried dill weed 5 mL
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pour chickpeas into a medium-sized mixing bowl and mash with a fork. Mix in celery, onion, pickle, mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper and any other vegetables desired. Refrigerate for two hours or overnight. Serve on crusty whole grain rolls or flat bread, with lettuce and tomato. Yields four servings. Source: Adapted from allrecipes.com.

Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 c. crunchy natural peanut butter 250 mL
  • 1 c. brown sugar 250 mL
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 5 mL
  • 1/2 c. chickpea flour 125 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum 1 mL
  • 1/8 tsp. table salt 0.5 mL

Place rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 350 F (180C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In medium bowl, beat peanut butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Add chickpea flour, xanthan gum and salt, beat on low speed until well blended. Shape half of the dough into 15 one-inch balls and place two inches apart on cookie sheet. Flatten each ball with a fork to half-inch (1 cm) thickness.
Bake until cookies are lightly browned and firm, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough. Yields 30 small cookies. Source: Adapted from pulsepledge.com.

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

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