The Wonderful Properties of Chickpeas

· 18th June 2015

The chickpea, also referred to as the a Bengal gram or garbanzo bean, is a tasty little pea that is classified as a legume and a member of the fabaceae family. Chickpeas contain about 120 calories for every 100 grams and are an excellent source of protein and fat, making them a staple food in many vegetarian diets.

Chickpeas are also beneficial for non-vegetarians and can be used in salads to compliment healthy dishes made with a variety of meats. Whatever your diet may call for, this potent pea can be incorporated into a variety of healthy meals. Read on to discover the powerful properties of this magical little pea and discover new and creative ways on how to integrate chickpeas into your everyday meals.

Pass the peas please

Why are chickpeas so great? Well besides being packed with lots of protein and good fats, 45 grams of chickpeas equals the recommended dose of your daily fruits and vegetables. Chickpeas are also super-rich in fibre, which is an important part of keeping your cholesterol in check. Having enough fibre in your diet may also play an important role in keeping your digestive system on track and keeping diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome at bay. Chickpeas are gluten-free and rich in iron B-6 and magnesium. They also contain essential amino acids, the building blocks for protein, and are considered an essential part of any vegetarian or vegan-based diet.

To top it all off, chickpeas also contain phytoestrogens and some studies have supported that this particular nutrient may help to regulate certain hormones that can lead to breast cancer.

Breaking down the chickpea

So what is the nutritional information of the chickpea? Let´s take a look at the nutritional breakdown for 100 grams of chickpeas:

  • 120 calories
  • 1.14 grams of fat
  • 22.62 grams of carbohydrates
  • 4.95 grams of protein
  • 0 mg of cholesterol
  • 299 mg of salt
  • 4.4 grams of dietary fibre

This nutritional breakdown can be considered when buying 100 grams of mature seeds that are canned. Nutritional breakdown per 100 grams may vary slightly depending on where you purchase your chickpeas.

Dishes to peas the taste buds

Now that you know some of the amazing properties of chickpeas, why not start today by making them a staple part of your diet. Recipes that incorporate chickpeas are satisfying and full of flavour as long as you know how to prepare them. Below are two delicious recipes made with chickpeas.

Fried chickpeas

Craving something salty? Go ahead and indulge. This fried chickpea recipe will curb your salty craving and make your taste buds dance around on your tongue.

  • 30 grams of olive oil
  • 400 grams of canned chickpeas drained
  • salt to taste
  • cumin or paprika seasoning

In large saucepan heat the olive oil and add canned chickpeas until crispy. In separate bowl mix the cumin and the paprika seasoning. In a metal bowl pour fried chickpeas and mix in cumin and paprika seasoning. Once chickpeas have cooled to slightly above room temperature, serve and enjoy!

Scrumptious chickpea salad

There is nothing like a salad made with chickpeas. This salad contains all the pungent flavors from chives, red onions and bitter greens that come together to create a savoury and scrumptious salad.

  • 3 handfuls of croutons or old cubed stale bread
  • 30 grams of olive oil
  • 400 grams of canned chickpeas, drained
  • 1 leek
  • a handful of leafy greens
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 3 stalks of kale
  • 2 radishes, peeled and sliced
  • chives, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 200c and line a cooking pan with non-stick paper or grease thoroughly. Add croutons or cubed stale bed and pour over olive oil. Bake for about 15 minutes until bread is crisp and golden. Place leeks, onions and radishes on a separate pan and add olive oil. Roast for around 20 minutes and add kale leaves during the last 5 minutes until crisp. Take the roasted vegetables out of the oven and allow to cool. In a separate bowl mix chickpeas and cubed bread or croutons. Mix in the leeks, onions and radishes and add salt and pepper to taste. If you would like, create a tangy dressing on the side using white wine vinegar, honey mustard a touch of sugar or maple syrup and salt to taste. Serve immediately and enjoy your scrumptious masterpiece!

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