April 23, 2015 · Written by Foodtolive Team
Chickpeas: Nutritional Benefits, Health Benefits, Recipes
Chickpeas’ nutritional benefits are outstanding, which explains why this particular kind of legume is a great addition to any diet. They are also known as garbanzo beans and were originally cultivated in the Mediterranean, so there is little surprise that there are plenty of chickpea recipes in Mediterranean cuisine. This particular legume also features in some African and Indian dishes.
The popularity of chickpeas can be explained by their unique taste. They can complement many salads and dishes made of rice and vegetables. Soups with this type of pea are extremely delicious and very filling.
However, the taste isn’t everything when it comes to legumes. The true value of chickpeas is their ability to provide your body with a lot of nutrients that are easy to digest and absorb. Health benefits of chickpeas are numerous and valuable, so you definitely need to include them in your diet, especially if you choose to become a vegetarian.
Chickpeas Nutrition Facts
All legumes are highly nutritious, and therefore are a necessary addition to any meat-free diet. The nutritional value of chickpeas makes them stand out even among other healthy foods.
The most relevant chickpeas nutrition facts you need to know are:
- They are one of the best gluten-free sources of protein one can find (15 grams per a cup of cooked chickpeas).
- They are an excellent source of dietary fiber (13 grams per cup).
The vast majority of chickpea recipes are well-balanced, and therefore can fit into any diet without compromising your weight loss goals.
- They don’t contain any harmful cholesterol.
- A single serving of raw chickpeas can provide you with 50% of the potassium you need to consume daily.
- Chickpeas are exceptionally rich in iron, sodium, and magnesium.
- A serving of chickpeas contains a healthy dose of vitamins A, B6, and C.
Health Benefits of Chickpeas
Chickpeas’ nutritional benefits alone make this particular legume extremely good for your health. Consuming this food on a regular basis can make some significant improvements to your overall well-being and help prevent certain diseases.
The most important chickpeas health benefits are:
- Lowering the level of blood glucose in diabetics.
A high fiber diet is known to reduce the level of blood glucose, which is essential for people who suffer from diabetes. As chickpeas are rich in dietary fiber, they can provide you with a significant part of the required daily dose that will improve your blood sugar and insulin levels.
- Strengthening your bones with minerals.
Chickpeas are exceptionally rich in minerals, especially calcium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium. All of these elements are essential for bone health. Therefore, adding chickpeas to your diet will help strengthen your bones, reduce the risk of injury, and even assist in preventing osteoporosis.
- Normalizing your blood pressure.
Potassium, an element that chickpeas are loaded with, is essential in lowering blood pressure. According to statistics, only 2% of Americans consume a healthy daily dose of potassium, so including chickpeas into your diet is equally beneficial for everyone.
- Preventing heart disease.
Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber are all-important nutrients for maintaining your heart health. Chickpeas provide you with all of these and more, as well as assisting in managing your cholesterol levels.
- Treatment of cancer.
According to the results of some recent studies, selenium can affect your liver enzyme production and remove some toxins from cancer tumors. This reduces the speed of tumor’s growth and level of inflammation caused by it. Most fruits and vegetables contain very little selenium, but chickpeas are exceptionally rich in this particular mineral.
- Reduction of chronic inflammation.
Chickpeas contain choline and an element that reduces chronic inflammation and helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes.
How to Cook Chickpeas
One of the factors that explains why garbanzo beans are so popular in many cuisines is the fact that unlike many other legumes, they are rather easy to cook. Dried chickpeas are the most popular kind you can purchase today.
Here are some simple instructions on how to cook chickpeas that are dried:
- Soak beans in a large bowl filled with cold water overnight. 12 hours should be enough prepare your chickpeas for cooking.
- After soaking your beans, start cooking them in a large pot. You’ll need to add twice the amount of water than you have in chickpeas. Bring the beans to a boil and leave them to simmer for an hour.
Always test chickpeas to determine whether they are soft enough for you. When you decide they are ready, drain them and leave for 15 minutes to cool.
Now that you have some nice, soft, boiled chickpeas on hand, you can either add them to some dish right away or store them in your refrigerator for about three days. If you want to make sure that there are always some chickpeas available for any surprise guests, you can store some of the cooked beans in the freezer.
Garbanzo beans are used in many delicious dishes and even serve as the basis for two very popular foods: hummus and falafel. Even if you aren’t much of a cook yourself, you should learn at least one chickpea salad recipe. This will ensure that you can make a simple but highly nutritious and healthy meal quickly.
Mediterranean chickpea salad definitely is one of the most delicious salads you can make really quickly. Here is what you’ll need to make it:
- About 12 Kalamata olives
- 1 cup of chopped bell peppers
- ¼ cup of chopped Italian parsley
- ¾ cup of halved grape tomatoes
- 3 sliced green onions
- ½ cup of crumbled feta cheese
For dressing you will need:
- 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt
- 1 small clove of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
- ¼ teaspoon each of cumin, salt, and pepper
When you have all the ingredients prepared, mix them in a large bowl. Mix the dressing in a cup and drizzle it over all the ingredients. Mix again and you have a great and delicious salad that provides you with all the important chickpea nutrition benefits.
Soups made of garbanzo beans are not to be underestimated. You definitely need to try at least one of them, and we believe that Moroccan chickpea soup is the best choice.
- ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 diced onion (large)
- 3 cups of chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1 cup of chopped tomatoes
- 5 ounces of baby spinach
- 1 quart of vegetable broth
How to cook Moroccan chickpea soup:
- Heat up olive oil in a large pot.
- Sautee garlic and onions in the oil until they become translucent.
- Add spices and salt the mix for about a minute.
- Add broth, tomatoes, chickpeas, and sugar.
- Stir and let the soup simmer for about 45 minutes.
- When your soup is ready, use a potato masher to mash up the chickpeas.
- Add the spinach and serve.