Chickpeas pack a nutritious punch

ANASTACIA SAMPSON

Garbanzo, more commonly known as the chickpea, is far more than a ‘chick’ or a ‘pea’.

This nutty-tasting legume has been ’in-chick’ for thousands of years.

Today, there are two main types: the desi – which is darker, smaller and high in fiber – and the kabuli type, which is light brown.

Chickpeas are a wonderfully versatile food, rich in protein and fibre, just like many other legumes.

Foods such as these help one feel fuller and less likely to snack on sugary or refined carbohydrate-rich snacks.

This ancient food that stems from the Middle East is also packed with minerals and vitamins.

Scientific research shows chickpeas to be extremely valuable in supplying the essential micro-mineral manganese, which is known to have a role in stabilising blood sugar levels.

Chickpea flour, mixed with a little water and then lightly fried, can be transformed into a pizza base or pancake.

One can even add cinnamon and a bit of honey for a sweeter treat, or a pinch of salt, black pepper, paprika or dried herbs with finely chopped onion for a more savoury and delightful snack.

There is so much that can be prepared with chickpeas, including a delicious hummus spread.

Adding cooked or sprouted chickpeas to salads is also both delicious and nutritious.

Cooking dried chickpeas from scratch can take some time so it’s best to always soak them overnight to reduce the cooking time.

Try roasted chickpeas for an especially yummy snack.

The remaining liquid left over after cooking chickpeas is called aquafaba and is an ideal substitute for egg white.

So if you suffer from egg intolerance or are vegan, you can still prepare and enjoy treats such as meringues.

In fact, chickpeas are so versatile they have even be used as a coffee substitute.

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