Chickpeas- aka garbanzo beans- are finally getting some credit. With hummus making a dash from the foodie to the mainstream scene, more and more of us are dippin’ and divin’ into chickpea bliss.
But these magic little beans are still underrated. We could use them way more than we do to add protein and fiber to dishes or healthy snacking. They are vitality dynamos and so super easy to use!
They are also delicate on our bank account. Buy them canned and pre-cooked for less than $1, and dried beans are the cheapest form of protein per ounce.
Bodacious Tip: Buy a bunch of cans when they are on sale. Make them a kitchen staple and a great last minute meal protein option.
In addition to being inexpensive, they also rule because they are loaded with fiber, potassium, and iron. Many of us occasionally have trouble taking a poo. Admit it. There are days we are like, What is going on down there? This clog is worse than DC traffic!
Inadequate fiber and water at play here? I think yes, sir.
The minimum requirement for fiber per day set by the Dietary Reference Intakes is about 14 gm/1000 calories or about 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.
One recent study showed only 8% of us are actually meeting the recommendations for whole grains and fiber. Since higher fiber diets are associated with weight loss and satiety- a feeling of being full- our low fiber diets may be one reason why we’ve seen such an increase in obesity over the last couple decades.
With about 6 gm of fiber for 1/2 cup- which is a 2 oz protein equivalent- chickpeas are a great source of both pectin (which is soluble and viscous fiber) and hemicellulose (insoluble and resistant fiber).
Insoluble fiber helps bulk our stool as it travels through out digestive system. Bulkier stool pushes on the sides of our colon, telling our colonic neurons, Hey! I’m here! which then triggers a bowel movement. Hallelujah!
Soluble fiber is also a worthy friend. In one study, soluble fiber of 2 to 10 g/d was associated with a small but significant decrease in total and LDL cholesterol. It binds to bile in our digestive track and pulls it out of the body, forcing our bodies to pull from our circulating cholesterol to make more bile, thereby lowering overall cholesterol and protecting our arteries.
But for those of us that aren’t used to eating fiber or beans, digestive upset may be a concern. If you have tummy trouble, don’t let that keep you away from these firm, little guys.
Simply rinsing canned beans or soaking dried beans overnight can help decrease saponin, a gas-producing complex carb. Make sure to throw away the soaking water and use fresh water when boiling dried beans. This will help decrease the gut fermentation of those sugars and decrease your bloated feeling.
Also, portion control helps. Use only about 1/2 cup at a time, which has 134 calories, 6 gm of fiber, and 7 gm of protein. I eat them all the time with no issue because my digestive track has built enough healthy gut bacteria by being fed fiber on a regular basis.
It takes our body time to build a gut to accommodate fiber. Be patient- any gassiness subsides and our digestive systems will thank us. Also, increase water as we start adding fiber.
To cook dried chickpeas, use 2 cups water for 1/2 cup dried beans. Bring water to a boil, add beans, then lower temperature and cover. Cook for 1 hour and 5 mintues, and this should yield 1.5 cups.
Or do what I do most of the time- buy cans. They are precooked. Fabulous. Just open, rinse in coriander, add to recipe.
With their mild, nutty flavor and very firm texture, they can be roasted better than other beans and even develop a delightful crunch.
They are also commonly mashed into dips. Conventional hummus provide about ~210 calories and 10 grams of fat per half cup- but it is mostly heart healthy unsaturated fat! Be mindful of portion size if trying to lose weight or make your own with less added fat.
This week, I roasted chickpeas and portioned them out into 1/2 cup portion-control bags.
I grabbed them on the way out the door and added them to my lunch salad one day, noshed on them for my 3 pm snack with apple chips I dehydrated another day, and used them for a quick dinner with my roasted beet puree and roasted veggie bowl a different evening.
Here is a good tutorial if you want to try roasting.
I roasted with hot pepper sauce, garlic, a bit of olive oil, and black pepper this week. Cumin and indian spices also work well. Really anything works!
For my beautiful beet puree, I added canned and drained beets, minced garlic, sesame oil, rice vinegar and black pepper to a blender and went to town. I used it instead of a salad dressing. Delicious with the crunch of the chickpeas!
Here is a bit of inspiration to help guide you down a path of chickpea affection and adoration.
Have a bodacious day.