Garbanzo Beans, Healthy and Delicious!

| February 2, 2013

Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas is that special ingredient that adds texture, nutrients, high fiber, great taste and when dried, fried or roasted, crunch.

There are a number of healthy reasons to eat these legumes, since garbanzo beans have the highest fiber content of any other bean, as well as being low calorie and gluten free. They are a staple of both the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern diet and are widely used in Greece, Mexico, India and Italy to create and complement traditional dishes.

High in malic acid, a natural pest deterrent, garbanzo beans are easily grown organically. They are a great addition to soups, stews, salads and vegetable dishes, as well as a handy, healthy snack.

There are myriad of delicious ways to incorporate these heart healthy dynamos into cuisine with the two most popular being;  Hummus, a rich garlicky dip that’s a mainstay of Middle Eastern cuisine with growing popularity in the U.S. and Falafel, a fried garbanzo bean patty that’s eaten as a street food or fast food in much of the Middle East. Although both are readily available in both restaurants and food markets, they are easy to make at home.

I particularly like to make my hummus with tahini (a sesame paste) that adds a delicious Mediterranean flavor. Enjoy this hummus recipe as a satisfying snack with pita or celery and as a wonderful spread on sandwiches.

 

Hummus

 

hummus

Photo by Lablascovegmenu

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of cooked chickpeas/garbanzos or 2 (15 oz.) cans
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons tahini paste
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup water

Directions:

Process first seven ingredients in a food processor for about 1 minute. Add oil and water and process until smooth and creamy, making sure all the beans are pureed.

Refrigerate and garnish with regular or smoky paprika or toasted pine nuts.

 

The crispy, savory treats, known as falafel were made popular in the US as part of Israeli cuisine. This is my favorite recipe for making this crisp garbanzo bean fritter.

Falafel

 

Ingredients:

falafel

Photo by Steven Depolo

  • 1 can (15 oz.) of chickpeas/garbanzo beans thoroughly drained and dried
  • 1/2 of a sweet onion cut into quarters ¼ cup flat leaf parsley 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • a pinch of ground red chili pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic

Directions:

Put the beans into a food processor and pulse briefly to break up the legumes. Add all remaining ingredients. Pulse mixture until coarsely ground. When you have a course paste, add a couple of tablespoons of water through the feed tube and continue pulsing. The mixture should be gritty, but hold together in a ball when gently squeezed. Transfer to a bowl and let rest for 15 minutes or if making ahead of time, refrigerate.

Form the Falafel mixture into balls with about two tablespoons of the mixture (walnut size) and press to flatten.

Heat 3 inches of oil to 360 degrees F in a deep pot or fryer. Fry for about 4 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Stuff the Falafel balls into pita and top with chopped tomatoes, lettuce, and tahini. Enjoy!

 

Charlotte “Tish “Goldblatt

cgoldblatt@dailyfoodandwine.com

RAISE YOUR SPIRITS AND GET THE DISH!

 

 

 

 

 

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