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Healthy chickpeas pack a protein punch

Chickpeas, like most other pulses, are a good source of cholesterol-lowering fibre. In addition, their high fibre content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making them a good choice for people with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.

When combined with whole grains such as rice, chickpeas provide a fat-free high quality protein.

Two different types of chickpeas are produced, each with a separate use. The first is the garbanzo type, which includes large-seeded, ram-head shape, cream to white-coloured seeds with a thin white seed coat. Garbanzos are often made into snacks in South Asia, ground into hummus in the Middle East or canned whole for salad bars in North America.

The second is the desi type, a small-seeded one with a thick, hard and coloured seed coat from green to purple, brown or black. It is often exported whole to India and made into chana dal or ground into flour.

Hummus is a popular dip or addition to a vegetarian sandwich and easy to make at home. Use canned or dried chickpeas.

How to cook dried chickpeas

The volume will usually double after cooking. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Turn off the heat, add a teaspoon or two (5-10 mL) of baking soda to the water and dried chickpeas. Be sure the water covers the peas by at least two inches (5 cm). Soak overnight.
The next day, drain and rinse the chickpeas. Put them back in the pot with water to cover by at least two inches (5 cm) and bring to a boil over medium heat. Maintain the boil until they are tender, about 25 minutes.
Drain, cool and use as desired.

Tip: Make the smoothest and creamiest hummus by peeling the chickpeas. Place the cooked peas in a large bowl of water. Rub them between the palms of your hands and the hull will come off. Drain, then discard hulls.

Basic Hummus

  • 1 – 19 oz. can chickpeas, drain liquid and save
  • 1/4 c. tahini 60 mL
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2.5 mL
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice, to taste 60 mL

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Puree to a smooth paste and add only enough of the saved liquid to thin. Serve in a shallow bowl with olive oil drizzled over it. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges and serve with pita bread and fresh vegetables. Source: Adapted from A Taste of Lebanon by Mary Salloum.

Hummus Flavours

Enhance traditional hummus with different spice combinations:

Roasted Red Pepper: add purchased roasted pepper in a jar or roast your own. Puree with the chickpeas or chop and add later. Add smoked paprika to taste.
Caramelized Onion: finely slice a yellow onion. Heat a saute pan over medium and add oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add onion and slowly cook until the onion turns a delicate brown. Puree with the chickpeas or chop and stir in later. Deglaze the pan with a little white wine or water to scrape up the browned bits and add them to the hummus. Garnish with toasted pine nuts.
Chipotle Lime: buy chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and add one and some sauce to the chickpeas and puree together. Use lime juice rather than lemon juice in the hummus. Garnish with toasted pumpkins seeds.
Sundried Tomato: purchase sundried tomatoes packed in oil. Coarsely chop one or two and add to chickpeas and puree together. Sundried tomato pesto may also be used. Garnish with chopped sundried tomatoes and fresh oregano.
Chickpea Shawarma Dip: dress up traditional hummus with this parsley tomato salad for a light meal or an appetizer for a barbecue.

Parsley Tomato Salad

  • 1 c. packed finely chopped parsley 250 mL
  • 1 c. diced cherry or roma tomatoes 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced cucumber 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced red onion 125 mL
  • 1 tsp. red sumac 5 mL
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice 60 mL
  • 1/4 c. olive oil 60 mL
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • sriracha, to taste

Combine the sumac, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and sriracha in a medium sized bowl and whisk together. Prepare the vegetables and add to the same bowl. Toss vegetables with the dressing.
To make the crispy chickpea snack, preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
Add well-drained chickpeas to a mixing bowl. Top with oil, sugar and spices and toss to combine, then spread on a bare or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until deep golden brown and fragrant. Set aside.
In the meantime, prepare the garlic sauce by adding all ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisking to combine, only adding enough water or almond milk to thin so it’s pourable.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add more garlic for more zing, salt for savouriness, lemon juice for freshness and dill for a more intense herb flavour.
Lastly, prepare parsley tomato salad by adding parsley, tomato and onion to a small mixing bowl and tossing with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
To serve, spread hummus on a serving platter or naan and top with parsley salad, crispy chickpeas and garlic dill sauce.
Serve with pita, pita chips or raw vegetables. Source: Adapted from The Minimalist Baker.

Crispy Chickpea Snack

  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, well drained 500 mL
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil 15 mL
  • 1 tsp. raw sugar 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper1 mL

Garlic Herb Sauce

  • 1/4 c. hummus 60 mL
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice 15 mL
  • 3/4-1 tsp. dried dill 4-5 mL
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • water to thin

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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