Chickpeas are small, healthy legumes that are used by cooks to make a variety of dishes. Their neutral, versatile taste makes them a great food to have in your kitchen. They are the main ingredient in hummus, falafel and some types of tofu. They can also be added to soups and salads to increase fiber content and overall nutritional value.
Health Benefits of Chickpeas
Chickpeas are one of the most fiber-rich foods. Because of this, they are often added to light meals to make them more satiating. Fiber is also important for healthy digestion, and can reduce the risk of digestive problems like constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Chickpeas are also high in protein, which is good for muscle and works with fiber to curb hunger.
The main mineral found in chickpeas is manganese. Manganese is responsible for processing protein in your body. It also makes bone stronger and can reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in your system. Folate or folic acid is another featured nutrient. Folic acid supports cell creation and has been shown to prevent cancers, birth defects and other illnesses.
What are Chickpeas Used for?
When cooked, chickpeas make a fibrous addition to green salads and can bulk up low-calorie soups. Middle Eastern cultures prefer chickpeas in making hummus and falafels. The Burmese people in Asia often use chickpeas to make a certain type of tofu. Chickpeas can also be used as a substitute for beans for people who are susceptible to excessive flatulence.
How to Cook Chickpeas
Chickpeas are known for swelling up. They grow up to twice their size when cooked. This is why it is important to soak them for several hours prior to cooking. You can boil, slow cook and even roast chickpeas in an oven. Add a tablespoon of baking soda to cooking water to prevent flatulence.
How to Boil Chickpeas
Soak chickpeas in a pot full of water for 8 hours. Drain the water and run the chickpeas under cool water to clean.
In a fresh large pot, add a liter of water for every cup of chickpeas. Bring water to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow peas to simmer until they are soft and tender.
Drain water, rinse the chickpeas again and serve.
How to Slow-Cook Chickpeas
Wash and strain chickpeas in cold water. Do not soak overnight.
Add chickpeas and water into a pot and cook on low heat for 8 hours. For a quicker method, you can slow cook peas on high heat for 4 hours. Drain, rinse and enjoy.
How to Roast Chickpeas in Oven
Preheat oven to 200 C or 400 F. Rinse soaked chickpeas and remove any loose surrounding skins.
Grease a baking dish or line it with foil. Arrange the peas on the dish and drizzle olive oil, making sure they are all coated.
Cook until chickpeas are golden brown. They should also have a crunchy texture. Season with your choice of spices and serve.
Chickpeas can be used in any dish to add more fiber, protein and nutrients. Their versatile flavor blends well with a lot of foods. Serve in soup, salads or pasta, or grind them to make delicious hummus and falafels at home.