The benefits of adding chickpeas to your family’s diet

By Laura Clapper, registered dietitian at CHOC 

Incorporating chickpeas – also known as garbanzo beans – a staple ingredient in hummus, into your family’s diet can result in a variety of health benefits.

Health benefits of chickpeas

 Chickpeas have a soft creamy texture and a nutty, buttery taste.  In addition to being filling, they offer many other benefits:

  • Protein and vitamin-packed
  • Low saturated fat
  • Fiber rich
  • Naturally gluten-free
  • Good for gut health
  • Good for blood sugar control

In addition to these health benefits, they are a sustainable crop which requires less water to grow than wheat or rice, have a long storage life, and are a more affordable source of protein than meat.

How to add more chickpeas to your diet

You can add chickpeas to chili, soups, stews, salads, grain bowls and homemade veggie burgers. They can be ground into flours as well.

Chickpea flour is versatile and nutritious and is good for plant-based and gluten-free diets.

Chickpea flour has a fine texture and a mild, nutty, earthy flavor. It is good for both sweet and savory dishes. Try substituting a few tablespoons of chickpea flour in recipes that call for wheat or rice flour.

Chickpeas can be purchased canned or raw. If you choose to cook your own, you can soak them in plenty of water overnight followed by simmering for two hours on the stove. Or, you can place one cup raw, un-soaked chickpeas with 4 cups water in a pressure cooker to cook for about 40 minutes.

How to make your own hummus

Hummus is a delicious dip made from chickpeas. It is best paired with crackers, pita bread or vegetables such as celery, carrots, cucumbers and sweet peppers. Hummus can be purchased in the market or easily whipped together at home using the recipe below.

Quick and Easy Hummus

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 can (about 15oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons tahini or sesame paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Enjoy as a dip or spread onto sandwiches or wraps.

Leftover hummus may be covered and refrigerated up to one week.

Roasted Chickpeas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and line 15”x10”x1” baking sheet with foil. Drain and rinse two cans of chickpeas. Spread in a single layer over foil. Remove any loose skins. Bake until crunchy about 40-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Immediately toss hot chickpeas with oil and spice mixture. Cool completely.

Spice mixtures

  • Rosemary sea salt — Whisk two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, one tablespoon minced fresh rosemary and half a teaspoon of sea salt.
  • Orange curry — whisk two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, one teaspoon grated orange zest and one tablespoon curry powder.
  • Lemon pepper — whisk two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, one teaspoon grated lemon zest, and two teaspoons freshly cracked pepper.

Source: Taste of

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