One Cool Chickpea
By Fiona Breslin
Garbanzo beans, also called chickpeas, are a staple nearly the world over. They play a leading role in a host of delicious dishes — besides their most popular performance as the pureed base of hummus — and in all forms they provide many powerful nutrients. One cup of cooked garbanzos contains 71% of the daily-recommended value of folate and 50 % of fiber. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), fiber is imperative for digestive health and may help decrease risk for colorectal cancer. The AICR also reports that these beans are an excellent source of cancer-fighting phytochemicals such as saponins, lignans, and phytosterols. Garbanzos have protein, iron, magnesium, and potassium, the latter two are often lacking in the American diet.
Central to Mediterranean cuisine and available year-round in canned and dried varieties, garbanzo beans are inexpensive and easy to prepare and store. When purchasing canned beans, Cook for Your Life recommends low- or no-salt varieties
Buy dried garbanzos from a busy store, as older beans take longer to cook. Look for beans that are whole and unbroken. Before cooking, soak dried garbanzos for at least four hours. Two cups of dried beans will yield four servings cooked. When using canned garbanzos in a recipe, drain and rinse them under running water to remove excess salt.
Garbanzos have a slightly mealy consistency and a nutty flavor. Eat them cooked, cold, or raw and sprouted. Try them cooked in a delicious and nourishing recipe such as Moroccan Style Chickpea and Chard Stew or pureed into our easy, homemade version of traditional Hummus spread. Eat the dip with crunchy carrot sticks, olives, and a drizzle of virgin olive oil.