Cute as a Chickpea

chick peasIt’s possible to eat chickpeas  for breakfast, lunch and dinner in homes and restaurants across the globe.  Easy to grow  and packed  with vitamins and protein, chickpeas deliver delicious  nutrition for practically pennies.

A Nutritional Profile to Brag About

To put  it in technical terms, chickpeas rock! One half cup of cooked chickpeas  clock in at about 160 calories and 9 grams of almost fat-free protein.  While it has about 30 grams of carbs equal to two slices of bread,   chickpeas contains enzymes  that limit blood sugar spikes  associated with other carbs.

That same 1/2 cup of chickpeas also includes zinc, folates and 8 grams of fiber– about 20% of recommended daily intake.   But wait there’s more.   That little   serving of  chickpeas   has 50 grams of calcium.  Nice.  Since studies have  shown that a high protein/ low fat diet is associated with fewer wrinkles, I think that chickpeas  have earned the right to be called a beauty food.

These days its hard to pick up a cookbook or menu and not find  a dish that uses  chickpeas.   In an Indian restaurant chick peas are ground into flour called besan and is used for crepe like pancakes  dosa or fried into  balls called pakora.  In fact throughout Southeast Asia, chickpeas   in stews, snacks and batters are the major source of protein in the meal. In Spain they are added to stews and salads  while in the Middle East  they are ground up into hummus,  fried as falafel and added to couscous platters.

There  is  certainly no shortage of great chickpea recipes, but there is  a lack of  good tasting nutrition packed snacks.  Here is my new favorite adapted from SteamyKitchen.com.

Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients:  one 15 ounce can chickpeas ( aka garbanzo beans), 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, sea salt and onion powder to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 400F.  Drain the can of chickpea,s rinse in a strainer  under running water and shake well to remove  excess moisture. Place two layers of paper towels on a baking sheet, spread out beans to a single layer  and top with more paper towels.  Roll the beans around  with the paper towels to  both dry them and remove the thin skins of the beans.  Remove the paper towels and loose skins, but  keep the chickpeas on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle olive oil over beans and massage  them with your hands to coat  them evenly with oil. Roast for 35 minutes until beans are deep golden brown and crunchy.  Remove tray from oven and  sprinkle with sea salt and onion powder to taste.  Serve warm.

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