Ingredient SpotLight

Garbanzo beans or chickpeas (they are the same thing) are the most widely consumed legume in the world. Originating in the Middle East, they have a firm texture with a flavor somewhere between chestnuts and walnuts. Garbanzo beans are usually pale yellow in color. In India there are red, black, and brown chickpeas. They are highly versatile and are at home in appetizers and snacks as well as hearty meat or meatless stews, salads and sandwiches. Chickpeas have 361 calories per 100g, and are rich in carbohydrates, proteins, phosphorus, calcium and iron. Before setting you free for another month, I'm offering three of my all-time favorite recipes that feature chickpeas. They are all super tasty and rich in flavor. One of the most common complaints I hear about chickpeas is that they are bland. Nothing bland here -- try these recipes and you'll be stocking chickpeas regularly.

Curried Chick Pea Casserole

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups canned cream-style corn (just use the whole can, approx 14 oz.)
  • 1 (1 lb) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained. OR, use 2 cups of cooked chick peas
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil or spray (with nonstick cooking spray) a 1-1/2 quart baking dish.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are browned, about 15 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix well. Spoon the mixtures into the prepared baking dish. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

Easy Falafels

  • 1 (15-19 ounce) can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients, except the oil. Mix on medium-high speed until the mixture is well blended.

Shape the mixture into 1-1/2-inch balls and place them 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Flatten the balls to about 1/2-inch thickness with the bottom of a heavy drinking glass. Brush the falafels with the oil and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown on both sides, turning halfway through the baking.

  • Yields: 20 pieces
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Couscous With Chorizo & Chickpeas

  • 9 ounces couscous
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 7 ounces sliced chorizo sausage
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • Chopped parsley, to serve

Prepare the couscous with the vegetable stock, according to the package instructions.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and stir fry the chorizo for 3-4 minutes. Remove it with a slotted spoon and put aside. Add the onion to the oil left in the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes until it's softened. Stir in the paprika, cook for another minute, then add the chickpeas and the chicken stock. Return the chorizo to the pan and simmer for two minutes. Spoon the mixture over the couscous and scatter with the chopped parsley.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes