Chickpeas are a helpful source of zinc, folate and protein. They are also very high in dietary fiber and hence a healthy source of carbohydrates for persons with insulin sensitivity or diabetes. Chickpeas are low in fat and most of this is polyunsaturated. One hundred grams (about 3.5 ounces) of mature boiled chickpeas contains 164 calories, 2.6 grams of fat (of which only 0.27 grams is saturated), 7.6 grams of dietary fiber and 8.9 grams of protein. Chickpeas also provide dietary phosphorus (49–53 mg/100 g), with some sources citing the garbanzo’s content as about the same as yogurt and close to milk.
Recent studies have also shown that they can assist in lowering of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Cooking chickpeas from dried is so easy, and less expensive than canned, that you’ll want to cook your own from now on! The night before I cook them, I put the rinsed peas in a large bowl and cover with water. I put in enough water that there is about 1-1⁄2 inches above the peas. In my house, I cover the bowl with a large bread cloth, to keep anything from accidentally falling in. (And to keep the cat from drinking the water… EWWWW!)
The next morning, I discard the water and put the peas in a large pan, then cover with water to about 1-1⁄2 inches over them. Put them on the stove and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 hour, skimming off any foam that appears.
If you live at a high altitude, they may have to cook longer. If you live at a REALLY high altitude (Denver!) you may want to use a pressure cooker.
Cooked chick peas can be frozen. I usually make about two pounds at a time. I put them in 2-cup containers, with some of the cooking liquid, in the freezer. I keep them on hand all the time, to use for Hummus and other yummy recipes.
A traditional ingredient in Hummus is Tahini, which is a paste of ground sesame seeds used in North African, Greek, Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine. It is made of hulled seeds. East Asian tahini is made of unhulled seeds. It is served as a dip on its own or as a major component of hummus.
Tahini is an excellent source of copper, manganese, and the healthy fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6. It’s relatively high levels of calcium and protein make it a useful addition to vegetarian and vegan diets. Compared to peanut butter, tahini has higher levels of fiber and calcium and lower levels of sugar and saturated fats.
I like Once Again Organic Tahini the best. It has 0 mg of Sodium, which around here is very important and the only ingredient in it is ground up sesame seeds. When you first open a jar of tahini, there is usually some separation with oil floating on top of the solids. Use a butter knife and stir it thoroughly, then keep it in the refrigerator after it’s opened. It will still separate some, so you will need to mix it again each time you use it.
My Basic Hummus Recipe
1⁄3 cup Tahini
1⁄4 cup lemon or lime juice
2-3 cloves garlic
1⁄4 tsp salt
2 tbs chopped, fresh, flat-leafed parsley
pinch of paprika
1 tbs olive oil
2 cups cooked chick peas, drained (reserve liquid)
Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, you can add the liquid saved from the chick peas a tablespoon at a time, as needed.
I normally add the following seasoning, but it isn’t absolutely necessary, I just think it gives more depth to the flavor.
Mrs. Dash Table Blend, to taste
onion powder, to taste
Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
2 tbs fresh parsley
1 tsp basalmic vinegar
1⁄2 tsp thyme, dried
For Green Chili Hummus add or substitute the following:
Use lime juice instead of lemon
one Hatch, Anaheim, or other “long green” chili, roasted, peeled and seeded
one Jalapeno, roasted, peeled and seeded (or amount to taste)
2 tbs fresh cilantro
For Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, I add a whole roasted red pepper, peeled and seeded.
You could add other things, depending on what you like and make a spinach, artichoke, or garden veggie hummus! The basic recipe is simple enough that you can use it as a base for your creativity!