It is especially important for vegetarians to consume beans a few times a week – and chickpeas (garbanzo beans) boast benefits like high fiber, antioxidants, folic acid, and minerals (manganese, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium). A trace mineral molybdenum aids in the body’s detoxification systems. Use them to add protein to salads, soups, or vegetable dishes, to improve your cholesterol and help regulate blood sugar.
A lot of recipes I’ve seen tend to use canned chickpeas. The problem with canned beans is that they are not fresh, so they lose a lot of their nutritional value. They can lose up to half of the nutrients in the manufacturing process, and then another 5-20% while sitting on the shelf. Canned products are loaded with sodium and harmful preservatives.
To ensure that your beans are fresh, you can get in the habit of cooking them yourself. It requires some prep, but is still relatively simple. Dried beans can be purchased very cheaply. Soak them in a large pot of water overnight. Drain this water when you are ready to cook them, using fresh water. The soaking process makes them more tender, and activates the enzymes, activates the “seed”. From this point they are ready to be either cooked or sprouted.
Cook them covered in at least three times the amount of water, letting them simmer for about 30-60 minutes (depending on the amount). Poke them with a fork to tell if they are ready – they should become tender all the way through and not lose their shape. If you are making a soup, you can add the veggies in at this point, and the beans will keep cooking until they form almost a paste. This makes a nice curry type soup or stew. Otherwise, you can take them out while they are still firm, rinse them and store them in a sealed container in the fridge. This way you can use them in meals throughout the week.
- 1 cup spinach
- 1/2 cup chickpeas (cooked or sprouted)
- 1/4-1/2 cup fermented or pickled cabbage (sauerkraut)
- 1 green onion, finely diced
- handful of halved cherry tomatoes
The proportions can be changed depending on how big you want your salad (This one makes a personal sized salad). Toss all the ingredients and add your favourtie light dressing, or a simple dressing of olive oil, vinegar and a sprinkle of rock salt.
- 1 cup (cooked) chickpeas
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp natural rock salt
Add all ingredients to a food processor or high-powered blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with chopped veggies, whole grain crackers, toasted pitas, or just about anything. Experiment with different flavors in your hummus by throwing a roasted pepper into the blender, olives, extra garlic, or even spinach.