The chickpea (Cicer arietinum) is a legume of the family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. Its seeds are high in protein. It is one of the earliest cultivated legumes: 7,500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East.
Chickpeas are an excellent source of the essential nutrients, iron, folate, phosphorus, protein and dietary fiber. Chickpeas are low in fat and most of this is polyunsaturated. The nutrient profile of the smaller variety appears to be different, especially for fiber content which is higher than in the larger light colored variety
One hundred grams of mature boiled chickpeas contain 164 calories, 2.6 grams of fat (of which only 0.27 grams is saturated), 7.6 grams of dietary fiber and 8.9 grams of protein.
Other common names for the species include garbanzo bean, ceci bean, channa and Bengal gram.
Below a few easy recipes
This easy dip recipe is great to make sandwiches for your lunchbox, or simply to serve with breadsticks or pitta.
2 tbsp lemon juice or more
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
100ml/3½fl oz tahini (sesame seed paste) optional
4 tbsp water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp paprika
4 rounds of pitta bread
Drain the chickpeas and rinse. Reserve a few whole chick peas for serving.
DRY THEM! This is the most important part. Whether you use canned or dried, drain the chickpeas, and then rub them thoroughly between two or three paper towels and make sure they are dry. Remove any loose skins that happen to come off the beans.
Combine the chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, tahini, and water in a food processor, and blend to a creamy purée.
Add more lemon juice, garlic, cumin or salt to taste. Turn out into a dinner plate, and make smooth with the back of a spoon. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and scatter with the reserved chickpeas.
Sprinkle with paprika and serve with pita bread, warmed in a moderate oven for three minutes, and cut into quarters.
I sometimes prepare as well a nutmeg version (instead of the cumin)
Be skimpy with the oil. Usually I just spray them lightly with olive oil spray, but if you don’t have a spray, measure the oil and don’t overdo it.
For a lighter version just use vegetable broth instead of tahini.
CHICKPEA PESTO SANDWICH
1 ¼ cup torn, packed basil leaves
1/3 cup slivered or sliced almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon salt
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
1. Put all the ingredients for the pesto in a food processor and blend.
2. Mash up the chickpeas in a medium bowl so that they kind of look like a paste but some chunks of bean are all good.
3. Grate the carrot into the bowl and mix with the chickpea paste.
4. Add about a ⅓ cup of the pesto and stir until everything is coated then taste. Makes three sandwiches
OVEN ROASTED SPICY CHICKPEAS
These baked chickpeas are both, plus a tasty and healthy snack. Just toss them with a little olive oil and some spices, then roast in the oven until crunchy. They’ll stay crispy for a few days stored in a resealable bag at room temperature.
- 15-ounce/3 cups chickpeas thoroughly drained and rinsed (about 3 cups)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients until evenly coated. Spread the chickpeas in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 30 to 40 minutes.