“C” is for Chickpeas

Chickpeas have become one of my favorite foods. In Venezuela they are not a staple but they would appear every now and then in vegetarian cuisine. Around christmas and new year’s Venezuelans make hallacas, which are traditionally meat-based but my aunt would make a vegetarian option (my favorite) that had chickpeas. That’s probably my oldest memory regarding chickpeas; I was in my early teens. I still didn’t quite know what they were nor ate them regularly.

A little later I discovered middle eastern food and fell in love with shawarma, tabouleh, hummus, and falafel. The last two made with chickpeas.

Still it would be almost two decades before I added chickpeas to my regular diet. I know buy chickpeas regularly. I make hummus from scratch nearly every week to use as salad dressing, a substitute for mayo in sandwiches, as a dip, etc. Now that the spring seems to be here to stay I’ll start to make baked falafel with tahini sauce and tabouleh. During the colder months I regularly make chickpea stew, my go-to comfort food.

PS. Serve in a bowl and add lemon juice (your taste buds will thank you).

Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are a great source of protein, zinc and folate. They are also low in fat 🙂 while rich in phosphorus; richer than whole milk. Studies have shown that they can assist in lowering of cholesterol in the bloodstream (this is very important for me).

Chickpea Trivia: chickpeas are one of the earliest cultivated legumes: 7500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East. Evidence of their presence in the late Neolithic (about 3500 BCE)  has been uncovered at Thessaly, Kastanas, Lerna and Dimini. And there is evidence of consumption in southern France where wild chickpeas have been carbon dated to 6790 BCE. By the Bronze Age, they were eaten as a staple, a dessert, as well as raw when young by the Greeks, while the Romans knew several varieties such as venus, ram, and punic chickpeas, which they cooked down into a broth and roasted as a snack.

How do you eat your chickpeas?

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