This week’s featured food is the Chickpea, also known as the Garbanzo Bean.
The chickpea is a legume, or bean.
Its name is derived from the Latin word for chickpea, cicer.
Chickpeas are one of the earliest cultivated legumes: 7,500-year-old remains are reported to have been found in the Middle East, where they are enjoyed as a staple food. 1
There are many ways to eat
chickpeas. They can be consumed raw when young, soaked and boiled, or ground into a flour. During World War 1, they were grown in some parts of Germany, roasted, and brewed like coffee. Some varieties of chickpeas can even be popped and eaten like popcorn. They are used whole in salads, ground into crispy falafel, soft tofu, or flatbread, used to batter fried foods, or roasted and candied. 2
Chickpeas are a source
of zinc, folate, phosphorus, fiber, protein, and carbohydrate. 3, 4
This week’s recipe is for Falafel. This mediterranean favorite is a great way to enjoy legumes as a finger food. They are a complete meal in themselves, containing protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables. Traditionally dipped in tahini sauce or tzatziki yogurt sauce, ranch/caesar dressing and even ketchup are also options.
Variations – Falafel Wrap: Warm medium sized flour tortilla in skillet. Line several falafel in the center of the tortilla, and top with julienned cucumber, tomato, lettuce, and favorite sauce/dressing. Wrap as one would a burrito. Serve warm. Veggie Burger: Make the patties a bit bigger, fry in a skillet, and serve in a bun. Latin-style: Substitute black beans, cilantro, and chili powder.
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Yield: ~20 falafel
1 – 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
1/4 cup parsley, minced
1 Tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar
2 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
Optional: 1/4 cup onion, minced
Optional: 2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons white flour (or 2 Tablespoons whole grain flour)
olive oil for hands & baking sheet
favorite dipping sauce
Optional: vegetables for dipping
food processor or a bowl & fork
1. Place ingredients in processor / bowl, except for flour, olive oil, and dipping sauce.
2. Blend together ingredients until paste consistency, scraping processor sides with scraper if needed.
3. Add flour, and pulse / stir until incorporated.
4. Form “dough” into ~1″ balls with oiled hands. Place on lightly oiled baking sheet.
5. Bake ~20 minutes in preheated 400F oven, flipping once when sheet side is golden brown.
6. Serve warm with favorite dipping sauce & vegetables.
1. Zohary, Daniel and Hopf, Maria, Domestication of Plants in the Old World (3rd edition), Oxford University Press, 2000, p 110.
3. Pittaway, JK; Robertson, IK; Ball, MJ (2008). “Chickpeas may influence fatty acid and fiber intake in an ad libitum diet, leading to small improvements in serum lipid profile and glycemic control.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 108 (6): 1009–13.