Chickpeas: Healthy and Tasty

One of the pillars of good condition, prevention of lifestyle diseases and healthy lifestyle in general is undoubtedly appropriate diet. Such diet should also have a sufficient amount of legumes which are often omitted in the Czech diet. A chickpea is a legume very rich in substances supporting physical development as well as defence against potential harm. Furthermore, it is very tasty and you can prepare it in myriad ways. What is chickpea and how can we integrate it into everyday cooking?

Healthy food is a term that makes many people wary. They imagine that when something is healthy, it is certainly devoid of taste. However, it doesn't take much to disprove this incorrect opinion. If you cook healthy foods properly, you can make them not only beneficial for your body but also very tasty. The same goes for chickpeas as well since it is popular mainly in the Mediterranean and Near East. However, thanks to its unique qualities, chickpeas has spread all around the world, including the Czech Republic. It is sometimes said that chickpeas may substitute meat and so it is a plant essential for vegetarians. Even ancient civilizations were also convinced about chickpeas being a great plant because chickpea has been known for several thousand years.

What Is Chickpea?

As we have already mentioned, chickpea is a legume that is similar to pea. Unlike peas, chickpeas are a little bigger and yellow. Sometimes, we can even encounter the name "Egyptian Peas". It may taste a little like hazelnuts and that is also why many people actually prefer it to peas. There are about 40 species of this plant, but it was mainly chickpeas (Cicer arietinum] that got domesticated. In shops, chickpeas is available dried or canned which lets us use it in preparation of various dishes. It is suitable as a main course (thanks to its balanced contents of all important nutrients), furthermore into soups, salads, spreads but also as an autonomous side-dish or as a complement to potatoes or pasta.

We can also replace popular chips, salty sticks or fried nuts and other goodies people like to peck on in front of the TV, with chickpeas. So if you are seeking a tip for healthy snack foods, chickpea is a very good choice, also widely recommended by nutritionists.

Chickpea - Top Quality Legume

Chickpea is often referred to as the best legume for its significant content of polysaccharides, proteins and dietary fibre other healthful nutrients. It is the source of the most important nutrients; the only thing missing in it is vitamin B which cannot be found in any vegetal food. Chickpea also provides the body with a lot of energy: 100 grams of approximately 360 kcal. Chickpea contains:

  • carbohydrates
  • iron
  • proteins
  • zinc
  • dietary fibre
  • potassium
  • niacin
  • sodium
  • folic acid
  • vitamin A
  • calcium
  • vitamins B1, B2 a B6
  • phosphorus
  • vitamin E
  • magnesium
  • vitamin C

How Does Regular Consumption of Chickpea Help Our Body?

If chickpeas will be a steady item in your diet, it will be one of the best things for you to do for your health. Thanks to its constitution, chickpeas help us defy ageing. It generally supports regeneration. It also enhances the immune system which tends to be threatened by many negative influences in our modern time. Chickpeas help against high cholesterol (thanks to its quality fats and dietary fibre) which may contribute to prevent arteriosclerosis and myocardial infarction. Last but not least, it also improves the protection of the nervous system against stress (thanks to vitamin B). With regard to the fact that chickpeas contain a large amount of dietary fibre, it is a significant factor in the support of metabolism. We must not forget to mention its good effects on pregnant women; thanks to folic acid which protects the fetus from potential congenital flaws in the nervous system.

Chickpeas - Recipes

We can boil, bake and even fry chickpeas, depending on how we want to serve it. Canned chickpeas facilitate further processing; the dried form is credited with better nutritional scores. However, it is necessary to submerge the chickpeas in water for at least 24 hours before processing to make it easily digestible. It is best to let it sit in the water for approximately 48 hours to make it sprout. You need to change the water so it doesn't go bad. The reward for your patience will be that the chickpeas will become healthier, more easily digestible and tastier. Chickpeas can be flatulent; to prevent this, prepare it with basil, oregano or marjoram.

The basic step in the application of chickpea is boiling. It is necessary to boil chickpeas in an uncovered pot, boil it for 1 to 2 hours on a mild flame until it softens - some people like it hardier). Add salt towards the end of the boiling session, then strain the water and your chickpea is ready. If you want to soften its taste or are affected by bad metabolism, it is suitable to remove the skin from the individual chickpeas; that would be very difficult to do and so it is best to boil the chickpeas, subsequently pour cold water over it and wait until the skins start to come off. Then, mix the chickpeas with your hands, similarly as you mix rice. The peeled skins will float to the water surface and the entire process is over.

Chickpeas and recipes from it make a great way to enrich the tastes you usually enjoy in your diet. That is why we bring these carefully selected chickpeas recipes to you; they are easy and they bring a change into your diet that is very good for you.

Chickpeas Spread

Ingredients:

  • 200 to 300 g chickpeas
  • 1 to 2 medium-sized onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • chives
  • salt, pepper

How to prepare a chickpea spread?

Boil the chickpeas, mix it into a paste, add some salt and pepper. Finally, mix finely chopped onion and pressed garlic into the mixture. Best served with wholemeal bread, decorated with a piece of chives.

Chickpea Soup

Ingredients:

  • 350 to 400 g preserved chickpeas
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 carrots
  • a teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 litre vegetable broth
  • oil
  • salt, pepper and a gram of butter

How to Make Chickpea Soup?

Fry the finely chopped onion, garlic and ginger on the oil Add the gram of butter into the mixture and add the broth and chopped carrot after about 2 minutes of stirring add the broth and chopped carrot. After gentle cooking in the duration of 15 minutes, add strained washed chickpeas. After mixing, remove about half of the content, mix it and add it back again. Finally, add salt and pepper to your taste.

Chickpeas Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 350 to 400 g preserved chickpeas
  • 1 to 2 medium-sized onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 to 2 eggs
  • 3 tbs very fine flour
  • 1 tbs ground caraway
  • 1 tsp ground sweet paprika
  • 1 tbs ground cilantro
  • oil
  • salt, pepper

How to prepare chickpea cakes?

Wash the chickpeas, squish it with a fork and mix with pressed garlic, finely chopped onion, eggs, flour and spices. Finally, add salt to your taste. Let the mixture which needs to be not-too-dense and not-too-watery sit for 45 minutes in a cool place. Then work the dough into little cakes and fry them on oil until their colour turns gold.

Chickpeas are a unique plant and people who wish to eat healthy and quality food that helps the body fight undesirable influences should be very much familiar with it. Chickpeas recipes allow us to process this plant in colourful and delicious ways to make the enrichment of our body with important substances as pleasant as possible.


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