Food Wisdom for Well-being: Chickpea
A fantastic ingredient for anyone cutting out, or cutting back on meat, fish, and even dairy. It's so full of protein, vitamins and minerals. Read more to find out the benefits of chickpeas...
Benefits of chickpeas:
Look after your brain health. They:-
Contain 11% of your daily magnesium intake - a key mineral for nerve function. Are a great source of Choline which plays an important role in the function of your brain. Are an excellent source of iron - helping with red blood cell production and brain development.
Aid digestion. They are:-
High in fibre: 8.3g per 1/2 a can (120g). Count as 1 of your 5 a day. Rich in plant protein: 8.1g per 1/2 a can (120g) Chickpeas are a 'prebiotic' food. The fibre they contain feeds the billions of bacteria in your gut, helping to keep it healthy. Both fibre and protein work together, helping to keep you fuller for longer.
Different ways of cooking with them:
Toss chickpeas in paprika and cumin, mixed in with a bit of oil and salt, and roast in the oven. Once cooked, use as a topping in a salad, add to a meal, or enjoy on their own.
Use chickpea 'breadcrumbs' to create a thick crisp coating. Or create a batter using chickpea flour, corn-starch, baking powder, salt, and warm water which can be used to coat a range of products such as fish, then be baked, air-fried, or fried in a pan.
Put chickpeas in a blender alongside tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and water to create a delicious hummus. Add seeds, chilli oil, roasted peppers, caramelised onions - or whatever takes your fancy.
Chickpeas are used in a wide variety of curries, and are also great in tagines, casseroles, chilli con carne and chilli sin carne.
You can bake a highly nutritious banana bread using chickpea flour. Alternatively, have a go at making Socca: a large chickpea flatbread, originating from Provence in France. Or try baking your own falafels or chickpea patties.
You know that thick liquid in cans of chickpeas? That's aquafaba and it's used in vegan recipes as an egg replacement. Make your own vegan meringues using the liquid, vanilla extract and sugar.
Chickpeas go back as far as 9,500 years ago. Found growing in the Middle East, the chickpea was sourced from strawberry plants, but now it is sourced from chickpea plants. But as you will know, the chickpea that is sourced from chickpea plants is now sourced from the supermarket in a can!
It has several names including gram, garbanzo, and besan. Chickpea is a key ingredient in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, and is perhaps best known for its use in hummus and falafels. It is also important in Indian cuisines, appearing in curries such as chana masala.
The savoury flavours created by gram flours are great for many foods - especially vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free products; coatings and batters; and Asian cuisine.
Sometimes gram flour is used in conjunction with a seed or grain-based flour, to help mask the slightly 'beany' flavour notes. That's more likely to be the case in sweet recipes.