A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Low-Fat and High Fiber Garbanzo Beans

No, although very similar, these beans have nothing in common with any character from Sesame Street.  Garbanzo beans, or chickpeas (both the same thing), are a fun, tasty, and versatile ingredient in many dishes. 

Whether served sweet or spicy, cold or hot, there are many benefits provided by chickpeas:
  • Fat free source of protein, folic acid, manganese, iron, copper, magnesium and molybendum.
  • Lower risk of heart disease: Regular consumption of chickpeas or garbanzo beans can lower bad cholesterol and total cholesterol levels.
  • Iron: Chickpeas can boost your energy because of their iron content. Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells. 
  • Weight Loss: Due to high fiber content, chickpeas are good for weight loss diets by keeping you fuller longer. 
  • Manganese: An essential cofactor in a number of enzymes in energy production and antioxidant defenses.
  • Calcium: Some sources quote it as equal to milk and yogurt.
  • Good for women: Garbanzos contain phytochemicals called saponins, which act as antioxidants, could lower the risk of breast cancer, and protects against osteoporosis. They also minimize hot flashes in post menopausal women.
To incorporate these little spheres in your diet, try topping your salad with some right out of the can (be sure to rinse first if high in sodium), or blending with garlic, tahini, paprika, parsley, touch of olive oil, and red pepper for an awesome hummus. 
Use cut up raw veggies instead of chips for more nutrition and less calories.
They're also great in making healthy, low-fat desserts like these bean brownies from a previous post; just use garbanzo beans instead of the black beans.
If you don't feel like going through the prep-work for muliple ingredient recipes, but would like something more than just chickpeas from a can, try toasting a can using your favorite seasonings.
Here's a recipe to help get you started:
  • 1 (14oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • garlic powder
  • cumin
  • cayenne pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

2. Blot chickpeas with a paper towel to dry them. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil and spices, try your own variations to create new flavors. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until browned and crunchy. Watch carefully the last few minutes to avoid burning.

They don't always look this pretty, but they all taste great!!
For more ideas on how to use garbanzo beans, check out allrecipes.com.

As usual, if you feel your recipe is lacking a certain something.....just add cayenne!  Now go make some chickpeas!

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