It’s a dip! It’s a salad! What is it? It’s garbanzo beans!
We like garbanzos for lots of reasons. We like them because they offer protein, folic acid, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, calcium, some B vitamins, and fiber. But, mostly, we like them because they taste good.
Depending on your time, you can stock several cans of prepared garbanzos (also called chickpeas or ceci beans). The up side to canned garbanzos—ready in a minute. The down side—extra sodium. If salt is not too much of an issue, canned garbanzos work just fine. If you’ve got more time, or if salt is an issue, purchase dried garbanzos.
You can make up a batch of dried garbanzos that will last for several days in the refrigerator. To prepare them, wash off the amount you’ll need. Figure that one cup of dried garbanzos will yield about 2-1/2 cups cooked garbanzos. Cover with cold water and allow them to soak for at least three hours. Rinse the soaked garbanzos, place in a pot, cover with water, put on the lid, and allow them to cook on medium heat for at least one hour, or until soft. Drain and refrigerate until ready to use.
Garbanzos can be the basis for a quick hot or cold meal or for snacks. Add them to cooked brown rice, leftover pasta, and stuffing. You’ll also be adding flavor and nutrients. You can even purée leftover garbanzos and stir into your favorite salad dressing.
Tossing prepared garbanzos with soy sour cream makes a great fast dish. If you’ve got any chopped onion or tomato hanging around, add just a little bit for flavor. If not, this dish stands well on its own. Pair with a green salad or a fruit salad and some crackers or pita bread. If you have leftovers of this dish, purée it for a chip or vegetable dip.
Garbanzo or chickpea dip is easy. Just purée (in a blender or food processor) garbanzos with a dash of lemon juice, olive oil, paprika, and a little freshly minced garlic or garlic powder. Let this cool in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. Serve this dip with bread sticks, crackers, chips, or sliced vegetables. You can also use it as a sandwich filling with pita bread, tortillas, or any bread you can roll.
To transform your dip into Mediterranean hummus, add tahini (sesame seed paste), which you can usually find in Middle Eastern or kosher markets or in the gourmet sections of many grocery stores. Be sure to refrigerate tahini after opening.
If you are into crunch, drain prepared garbanzos, and blot dry with a paper towel. Heat a large non-stick skillet and spray with vegetable oil. Add garbanzos and toast over high heat. You can add chili pepper, curry powder, garlic powder, or any of your favorite spice blends while the garbanzos are cooking. Toast until crunchy on the outside. Eat these by themselves as a snack, add them to a plate of pasta or a green salad, or use as one of the ingredients to stuff a sandwich.
Garbanzos can perk up leftover vegetable soup; just add them as you reheat the soup. Or create a Moroccan tangine (stew) with baby carrots, zucchini, pearl onions, and button mushrooms. You can usually find frozen vegetable mixes like this. Stew the produce in the crock pot with vegetable broth, canned chopped tomatoes, black pepper, garlic, and a bay leaf. Add the garbanzos about 20 minutes before you are ready to eat. Prepare some instant couscous (takes about 10 minutes, tops!), and you’ve got a hot, fast dinner.
The Vegetarian Journal published here is not the complete issue, but these are excerpts from the published magazine. Anyone who wishes to see everything should subscribe to the magazine.
Thanks to volunteer Stephanie Schueler for converting this article to HTML.
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