Friday, March 16, 2012

What I've been doing with Chickpeas

It took me a while to finally realize that I fully enjoy chickpeas (or Garbanzo beans, as the can says.) I was always a big fan of hummus, which -- in case you were not aware -- is very much made of chickpeas.

The great thing about chickpeas is that you can essentially add them to any meal in any way, or you can have them as a snack. They are very versatile, and they are chock full of PROTEIN! They are more delicate in texture, and taste-wise they are by no means overbearing.

Chickpeas are also WICKED CHEAP. 99 cents for a can at Whole Foods -- that's probably the least expensive thing there! So, as I've been on a kick with this funny little 'peas' that are actually 'beans,' I thought I'd share some simple ways that you can get chickpeas into your diet and up your daily protein intake.

I stumbled upon a simple snack recipe from for Crispy Roasted Chickpeas. I had about half a can of chickpeas leftover from a previous use and I thought that this would be the perfect way to use up the rest.

It's very simple to make these. All you have to do is drain a can of chickpeas and dry completely. Remove any skins that come off. Then, lay them out on a baking sheet and toss with about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake in a hot oven, I did 375 degrees since my little stove gets hot so quickly, for about half an hour. Once they are crispy and smelling delicious, remove from the oven and toss in your favorite seasoning. I used Lawry's seasoning salt and basic black pepper.

These were addicting and I would have eaten the whole bowl if I didn't knock half of it on the floor...

Better FOR you than chips, and much more filling. Give them a try when you need to fulfill that 2:30 snack craving!

In Rice and Quinoa
I feel like I am ALWAYS buying bags of rice and quinoa. It goes so quickly around here, but I really prefer these carbs over pasta. So when I was trying to think of ways to stretch my rice and/or quinoa, I thought -- DUH. Chickpeas. I cook my rice and such in a rice cooker. So once it's about 3/4 of the way cooked and the water level has dropped significantly, I pile a handful of Chickpeas on top of the rice/quinoa and mix it all together once it's done. This allows the chickpeas to get nice and tender, and the flavor is soft enough to blend nicely into the rice. I definitely got the BF on board with this trick -- so either this really does hide the chickpeas, or he enjoys them as much as I do!

In Salads

Chickpeas come out of the can ready to eat. This means that you are allowed to get really creative with vinaigrettes, toss the chickpeas in the dressing, and add a protein punch to your salads. They take on flavors really well and are a nice compliment to all those crispy veggies. When I am feeling extra healthy, I try to replace my croutons (weakness!) with chickpeas in a salad. Think: feeling fuller after a salad?! Chickpeas can help with that.

How do you like chickpeas?! Have you done anything creative with them recently? One of my favorite bloggers, Ashley, author of "The Vegetable Life" blog, put them into twice baked sweet potatoes. I'm making these on mouth is ALREADY watering!

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