Never Underestimate the Power of the Chickpea

27 Oct

Chickpeas: Versatile and Multi-Purpose Legume

The Amazing Chickpea

You may not realize it – certainly not just by looking at it – but the little chickpea (also known as the garbanzo bean) is pretty amazing. This legume has been around for hundreds of years, devoured through the ages for its health benefits and high nutrition level. Chickpeas are a mighty source of protein, favored in particular by vegans and eaten in great quantities around the world. The chickpea is loaded with dietary fiber – your colon will thank you; the equivalent of one cup of cooked chickpeas offers half the recommended amount of daily fiber.

There are many ways to add chickpeas to your diet. Canned chickpeas make access to the versatile legume super easy when preparing hummus or almost any other chickpea-based dish. Some people prefer cooking the beans themselves for added freshness, but when a quick fix is needed – for instance, when your salad is begging for an original topping – canned chickpeas are quick, easy, and tasty.

Hummus: The Quick Dip

Although we’ve already established that chickpeas can be used for a myriad of tasty dishes, hummus is perhaps its most well-known incarnation. And while the hummus shelf in the supermarket is loaded with varieties, there’s nothing like the homemade version. Here’s an easy recipe (using canned chickpeas):


  • 200 gram/7 ounce canned chickpeas
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed is preferable)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 4 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil (for serving)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika or zaatar (for decoration)


  1. Drain the chickpeas and rinse under cold water. Reserve a few whole chickpeas.
  2. Combine the chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, tahini, and water in a food processor, and blend to the consistency of creamy purée. (Blend for less time if you prefer a chunkier spread.)
  3. Add more lemon juice, garlic, cumin or salt to taste and blend again.
  4. Spoon onto a shallow plate or bowl, and smooth with the back of a spoon. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with paprika or zaatar, and scatter with reserved chickpeas. Serve with crackers or pita bread.

Chickpea Omelet – Breakfast with a Twist

  1. Place any quantity of dried chickpeas in a food processor, and process into a powder-like flour (2-3 minutes).
  2. Sift the mixture to separate the fine flour from the hard bits that did not get ground up. (To further refine the flour, process with a spice grinder, a few tablespoons at a time.)
  3. Store in a cool, dry place.

I love a chickpea omelet in the morning (or any time) – it’s a tasty substitute for a real-egg omelet when there are no eggs to be found or just for a change of pace. Here’s how to make a tasty batter:


  • 1 1/2 cups chickpea flour (see above)
  • 3 Tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped vegetables, such as spinach, roasted red pepper, kalamata olives, or tomatoes (optional)

Preparation (for two omelets)

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  1. Mix all ingredients well and form a batter. (Batter can be refrigerated at this point.)
  2. Mix 1/3 cup batter with 1/3 cup water. Allow to stand for a few minutes to thicken.
  3. If desired, stir in optional vegetable at this point.
  4. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Spoon in half of the batter and spread it evenly and thinly in a circle (about 4 to 5 inches in diameter). Cover the pan and cook, until the top loses its shine and the bottom is light to medium brown. Flip over and cook the other side, covered, for another minute or two. Repeat with remaining batter.

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