Gotta Love Garbanzo Beans!
Protein-packed garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, are a very versatile legume whether cooked, canned, or used as flour. In many countries, they are used not only for food, but also in daily beauty regimes because of their many healing properties.
Originating in the Middle East, garbanzos are the oldest consumed crop in the world. A member of the pea family, they are complex carbohydrates and deliver slow-releasing energy which in turn increases satiety and assists with weight loss and blood sugar maintenance. Their high fiber content helps digestion by moving foods through the digestive tract, decreasing symptoms of IBS and constipation and balancing pH levels which helps to increase healthy bacteria in the gut.
Garbanzos also offer a healthy balance of vitamins and minerals including manganese, folate, copper, phosphorus, iron, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and potassium giving you a well-rounded punch of wellness.
The best way to consume garbanzo beans is by soaking dry beans and sprouting them yourself at home. It is simple and you can make them in bulk. This way you control the quality of the beans – from the water in which they are cooked to the sodium levels – and forego preservatives.
I am delighted to share with you one of my favorite recipes with which I grew up. I hope you enjoy!
- 1 lb dry chickpeas/garbanzo beans (pre-soaked)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 3-5 cloves garlic
- 1 ½ Tbsp chickpea flour
- 1 ¾ tsp salt
- 2 tsp lightly ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
- Pinch of ground cardamom
- Oil for frying (grapeseed, sunflower, or avocado)
- ½ tsp baking soda (optional, when ready to fry)
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
- 1 finely chopped Serrano pepper
- Pour the chickpeas into a large bowl and cover them by about 3 inches of cold water. Let them soak overnight.
- They will double in size as they soak; you will have between 4 and 5 cups of beans after soaking.
- Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans well.
- Pour them into your food processor along with the chopped onion, garlic cloves, cilantro, flour or chickpea flour, salt, cumin, ground coriander, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and cardamom.
(NOTE: If you have a smaller food processor, you will want to divide the ingredients in half and process the mixture one batch at a time.)
- Pulse all ingredients together until a rough, coarse meal forms. Scrape the sides of the processor periodically and push the mixture down the sides. Process till the mixture is somewhere between the texture of couscous and a paste.
- You want the mixture to hold together, and a more paste-like consistency will help with that, but don’t over process; you don’t want it turning into hummus!
- Once the mixture reaches the desired consistency, pour it into a bowl and use a fork to stir; this will make the texture more even throughout. Remove any large chickpea chunks that the processor missed.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
(Note: If you like, add baking soda to the mix to lighten up the texture inside of the falafel balls. If you would like to add it, dissolve baking soda in ½ Tbsp. of water and mix it into the falafel mixture after it has been refrigerated).
- At this point also add in the sesame seeds (I like the texture of them whole).
- Fill a skillet with oil of choice to a depth of 1 ½ inches. I prefer to use cooking oil with a high smoke point, like grapeseed. Heat the oil slowly over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, form falafel mixture into round balls. I usually use about 1 ½ Tbsp. of mixture per falafel. You can make them smaller or larger depending on your personal preference.
- Once the falafels are fried, remove them from the oil using a slotted spoon. Let them drain on paper towels.
Serve the falafels fresh and hot. I serve them with a delicious Indi-terranean salad, a fresh mint yogurt raita, and roasted garlic chutney. You can also stuff them into a homemade pita bread.
Dipika is a Holistic Health & Lifestyle Coach who empowers clients to activate a balanced lifestyle of the mind, body and soul. She can be reached at email@example.com or www.loveyourlifehealthy.com