Known by several names…chickpea, ceci (Italian), pois chiches (French), Bengal gram (India) or garbanzo, this legume is the most versatile bean used in many cultures. It is protein rich, full of fiber and a good source of potassium, magnesium and folate…perfect for cardiovascular health. This legume is low glycemic (won’t raise blood sugar) and has been shown to lower cholesterol.
Garbanzo beans need to be soaked first and then cooked. Overnight soaking shortens the simmering time by ½. 1 cup of dried garbanzo beans will equal approximately 2 ½ cups cooked beans. In general, for every 1 cup of beans, add three cups for soaking. After soaking, rinse and simmer with 3 cups of fresh water for every one cup of beans. This method will require 1-2 hours of simmering. I cook my garbanzo beans in a pressure cooker. This shortens the cooking time to 12 minutes. If you have not tried cooking from dried beans, give it a try and compare the taste difference with canned beans. Canned garbanzo beans are OK as long as they are organic and packed without added salt.
Below are a few recipes that I know you will enjoy from a snack, appetizer dip to my favorite, lemon bars. People just won’t believe that a dessert can be made from beans.
Chickpea Greek Yogurt Dip
Two 15- ounce cans organic no salt added chickpeas drained and rinsed or 3 cups fresh cooked chickpeas
1 small garlic clove
½ cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
2 T olive oil
1 t fresh lemon juice and ½ teaspoon lemon zest
Pinch of ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste preference
Chopped fresh mint leaves for garnish
In a food processor or blender, puree the chickpeas, garlic, oil, yogurt, lemon juice, zest and cumin. Adjust seasonings. Chill, garnish and serve with pita chips.
Makes approximately 2 cups. Serving size: 2 tablespoons.
Nutrition Info: Calories: 72, Total Fat: 2 g, Saturated Fat: 0 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 147 mg, Carbohydrate: 11 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 3 g
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Starch
Roasted Moroccan Style Chickpeas
Two 15- ounce cans organic no salt added chickpeas drained and rinsed or 3 cups fresh cooked chickpeas. …thoroughly dried. See below.
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
2 T Moroccan spice blend ( 1 t ground ginger, 1 t ground cumin, ½ t cinnamon, ½ t cayenne pepper, ½ t ground coriander, ½ t ground allspice, ¼ t ground cloves)
Spread the moist garbanzo beans onto paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Preheat oven to 3750F. On a rimmed baking sheet, spread out the beans. Season with salt and pepper. Roast the beans until crunchy, approximately 70 minutes, periodically stirring to roast the beans evenly. Cool and toss with the Moroccan spices.
Makes approximately 3 cups. Serving size: ¼ cup.
Nutrition Info: Calories: 71, Total Fat: 1 g, Saturated Fat: 0 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 179 mg, Carbohydrate: 14 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 3 g
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Starch
Flourless Chickpea Lemon Torte
2 cups garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
4 egg equivalents, 1 cup Egg Beaters® or similar egg substitute
1½ cups sugar
½ t baking powder
1 t vanilla extract
2 t lemon zest
Juice of one lemon
Powered sugar and mint leaves for garnish
Preheat oven to 350OF. Place drained beans in a food processor and puree till smooth. Add the “eggs”, sugar, baking powder, vanilla and lemon zest to the puree, and blend to combine ingredients. Coat a 9” cake pan with vegetable spray. Cut a round piece of parchment paper to fit into the bottom of the 9” pan. Pour in batter.
Bake on center rack for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out dry.
Remove and cool for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan bringing to room temperature to firm. Just before serving, squeeze lemon juice over cake and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Garnish with a mint leaf.
Serves 8. Amount per serving: 1/8 slice
Nutrition Info: Calories 239, Total Fat: 1 g, Saturated Fat: 0 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 268 mg, Carbohydrate: 53 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 6 g.
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 Very Lean Meat, 3 Starch