The World of Chickpeas Part 1

Chickpeas are actually a legume, often called a garbanzo bean.  They may be bought dry and in bags, or ready to use in a can.  If you buy your chickpeas in a can at the grocery store then you would most likely be familiar with the common sight of a cream coloured, round bean.  This is known as the “kabuli-type” chickpea.  There is another variety known as the “desi-type” chickpea that is either tan to black in colour and slightly irregular in shape.  For the sake of simplicity I will use the term chickpea for both types.

Chickpeas are a good source of fiber, with only 1/2 cups being needed to meet our daily requirement.  Fiber is important for maintaining a healthy colon, and helps to control our blood sugar levels, and can lower our fat and cholesterol.

But what can you do with chickpeas?  Since they are a bean, they are great in soups and stews.  Coming from a can, you would add them close to the end of your cooking time, just to warm them up a bit.  In salads they make a beautiful garnish and add a soft texture with a slightly nutty taste.

Below, I have included 2 recipes for chickpeas:  One that gives them a crunchy texture with a hint of spice that makes them a great alternative for snacking.  The other is a basic hummus that can be spiced up with extra garlic, cayenne pepper or your favourite seasoning.  This works great served as a dip for veggies or chicken strips, spread on fajitas or sandwiches, as a thickener for stews, or when thinned out more, as a salad dressing.

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