Call Them Garbanzo Beans or Chickpeas

These beans are the tops in nutrition and versatility

By: Teresa Laurenzo

Call Them Garbanzo Beans or Chickpeas

Eating better is a constant struggle for some, but comes easily for others. Whichever group you find yourself, garbanzo beans can be one of the best go-tos a healthier diet can hope for. Much can be said for these little legumes—they’re a rich source of protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins. They aid in digestion, weight management, and can aid in reducing the risk of several diseases, including Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. They even combat inflammation since they’re loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. And talk about fiber—they contain half the daily value of fiber per cup. Wow. That’s quite a track record for a legume.

Easy to Add to Your Routine

The delicious, buttery and nut-like flavor of garbanzos makes a versatile ingredient in everything from hummus to soups, curries, falafels and salads. To get more into your diet, you can easily add them to any salad, like a Mediterranean salad, or make an easy dahl by simmering garbanzos with tomato paste, curry spices and chopped walnuts served over brown rice. And, simply add them to your favorite vegetable soup to enhance texture and nutritional content.

What Can You Do with a Garbanzo Bean?

But, what else can you do with them? I like them simply roasted for a snack. Just rinse and drain a can of garbanzos in a colander and shake off the excess moisture. Spread them out on a parchment or non-stick foil lined baking pan, making sure they’re in a single layer. Spray or sprinkle with a little olive oil and your favorite spices, I use a blend of equal amounts of freshly ground pepper, paprika, celery seed, coriander, oregano and cumin. Short on time? Sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning, or Italian seasoning—whatever you’re in the mood for. Roast in a preheated 400? oven for 20-25 minutes. Check them toward the end of cooking time as oven temps vary. Let cool and enjoy a crunchy, toasty snack. Refrigerate the leftovers in a resealable bag or container and use to sprinkle on salads. To be honest, I make these roasted garbanzos every weekend, then they’re ready all week to sprinkle on lunch salads or for a healthy snack.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Make it Homemade

Another thing I tried recently is making my own hummus. I love hummus but find the store brands to be a bit expensive. I made a homemade batch and was thrilled with the results. I ended up making several different flavor combos just to see which I liked best. Turns out its a tie between roasted red pepper and carrot hummus. If you’re a hummus fan, try this recipe (below) or look up all of our delicious hummus recipes. Hummus is easy and so satisfying to make. It keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Treat yourself, family, and friends to a tasty homemade appetizer or use as a spread for wraps or sandwiches.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Makes 2 cups

1 extra large, or 2 medium red bell peppers
1-15.5 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp. salt
⅛-¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. paprika
2 cloves minced garlic
½ tsp. dried parsley

1. Preheat oven to 425?. Quarter red bell peppers lengthwise and remove stems, membranes, and seeds. Place cut sides down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast 25 minutes on lower rack until lightly charred and softened. Remove from oven and carefully bring up the foil around the peppers and seal. Let sit for 15 minutes. When peppers are cool enough to touch, easily remove the skin with your fingers. Discard the skins.

2. While peppers are roasting and cooling, combine the garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, paprika, garlic, and parsley in a food processor. Add prepared peppers. Cover and process about 4 minutes or until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary.

3. Refrigerate hummus in a covered bowl. Serve with pita wedges and raw veggies. Or, use as a spread for sandwiches or wraps.

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