Today's Paper Newsletters LEARNS Guide Asa Hutchinson 2024 Today's Photos Public Notices Crime Distribution Locations Obits Puzzles Digital FAQ Razorback Sports

Beyond Hummus

Humble chickpea gets tasty, healthy makeover by Allison Carter | August 27, 2014 at 1:30 a.m.
Staff Photo Spencer Tirey Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a legume most often associated with hummus. High in fiber and protein, this little bean can be made into homemade veggie burgers that taste the same as store-bought without the added salt, sugar or preservatives.

Hummus is amazing.

Soft, smooth, nutty and a bit salty, this is a wonder-spread high in protein and fiber, low in fat and excellent paired with veggies, crackers, on a bagel or on a burger. According to Livestrong, a website devoted to promoting healthy living, the Middle Eastern dish helps dieters stay full due to its high fiber and protein as well as aiding in digestion and potentially lowering cholesterol.

Fast Facts


(Garbanzo Beans)

Chickpeas have been used for food for at least the past 10,000 years, primarily in Greece, Italy and the Middle East. The ancient Romans associated white chickpeas with the goddess Venus as they were used in medicines for treating sexual-health issues such as low sperm count and painful menstruation. They were also used as a diuretic and to treat kidney stones. —

The term “chickpea” comes from the Latin word “cicer,” the same root which gave the son of a chickpea farmer, orator Cicero, his name. This evolved to “pois chiche” which became “chich-pease” in Old English. The word evolved into the succinct “chickpea” around the 17th century. —

But as healthy as hummus is touted to be, it has its downside.

Hummus is made from blended chickpeas (garbanzo beans), a legume that is high in protein and fiber and low in calories. However, with the addition of tahini (sesame paste), olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt, this healthy bean quickly becomes loaded down with added fats.

At 50 to 70 calories a serving, hummus sounds like a good deal, until you realize that serving is only one tablespoon -- half of a typical serving of peanut butter or cream cheese.

One 12-ounce tub of hummus adds up to more than 800 calories, mostly due to the added oils. Processed hummus also contains a lot of preservatives and salt, making the healthy chickpeas become a calorie trap. Add a side of crackers or pita bread, and your healthy mid-afternoon snack could quickly put you over your calorie budget.

Luckily, the chickpea isn't a one-trick pony. With a little creativity, chickpeas can be melded into hearty breakfasts, light lunches, protein-packed dinners and even rich desserts.

And, like hummus, they are amazing.

Chickpea Flour

1 cup dried chickpeas

Place chickpeas in food processor. Cover, and process on high speed for three minutes.

Sift mixture, separating fine flour from harder pieces of chickpea. These pieces can then be processed in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. Once complete, add to previously sifted flour and sift again, discarding any large pieces that remain.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Notes: This flour can be used to replace white, bleached flour in most recipes, excluding yeast breads. Use 7/8 cups of chickpea flour for each cup of wheat flour and add double the portion of baking powder. This flour is best for heavy baked goods like brownies, cookies, pizza crusts and dense breads like socca, crackers or pancakes. It does not make a good replacement for corn flour.

-- Recipe from

Blueberry Chickpea Pancakes

1 cup chickpea flour (recipe above)

3/4 cup cow's milk, or substitute coconut, almond or soy milk

1 large egg

1 tablespoon cooking oil

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup frozen blueberries, rinsed with tepid water

In a medium bowl, beat egg. Add milk and oil and beat again until frothy. Add chickpea flour, cinnamon and baking powder, stirring until smooth.

Gently fold blueberries into batter, being careful to not smash them (this leads to purple pancakes).

Ladle 1/4 cup batter onto a greased skillet heated on medium. After two or three minutes, the batter should start to bubble and the edges turn brown. At that point, flip the pancake. Allow to cook for another three minutes.

Serve with maple syrup, yogurt or jam.

Notes: These are not the light, fluffy pancakes so lovingly served by mom on Sunday morning. These are hearty, heavy, strong pancakes. The chickpea flour gives the pancakes a nutty flavor that is similar to buckwheat.

Chickpea Salad

2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 small yellow onion, diced

4 stalks celery, chopped small

1 tablespoon dried dill

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 Tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine chickpeas and onion in microwave safe dish. Microwave for 1 and a half minute to soften onion and beans. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Add chopped celery to onions and chickpeas and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine dill, juice, olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper. Pour over chickpea mixture. Refrigerate for an hour before serving. Serve over lettuce, spinach or on hearty wheat toast.

Salad keeps fresh in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for three days.

Notes: This salad is very healthy, but it can be a bit bland for new chickpea eaters. To remedy this, exchange the olive oil for 1 tablespoon mayonnaise or keep the oil and add 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese.

Chocolate Torte

1 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

4 eggs

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Powdered sugar

Carefully melt chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl by microwaving chips for 2 minutes, stopping to stir chocolate every 20 seconds.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with baking spray and set aside.

Place eggs and chickpeas in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add sugar and baking powder and pulse until combined. Pour in melted chocolate and process until combined, scraping down the sides to make sure thoroughly mixed. Pour batter into prepared cake pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then invert cake on wire rack lined with parchment to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar before serving, as desired.

Notes: Do not overcook this torte or it will become crumbly and dry. This recipe can be made diabetic friendly by replacing sugar with a sugar substitute and using sugar-free chocolate chip (available by Hershey at Walmart). This recipe is also good for kids with milk, corn, peanut or wheat sensitivities.

Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup natural peanut butter or any other nut butter

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons vanilla

A pinch of salt

1/2 cup chocolate chips

In a food processor or blender combine the chickpeas, peanut butter, maple syrup, baking powder, vanilla and salt. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

Fold chocolate chips into the batter. Using slightly damp hands, roll batter into 1 inch balls. Place on lightly greased baking sheet and press flat. Bake for 10 minutes.

Store in airtight container for up to a week.

Notes: These cookies do not brown like usual cookies, so be sure to take them out of the oven at 10 minutes to avoid over-baking. The cookies taste a lot like cookie dough, even when cooked. They are very nutty and moist but might benefit from an egg. They can be made vegan by substituting vegan chocolate chips which are available locally at Ozark Natural Foods.

Spicy Chickpea Burgers

1/2 red bell pepper cut into large chunks

1/2 large onion, cut into large chunks

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce

1/2 cup bread crumbs

Salt and pepper to taste

Coarsely chop bell pepper and onion in food processor. Add chickpeas and blend until mashed together, leaving small chunks.

Pour mixture into medium bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix with hands until combined.

Place mixture in refrigerator for 20 minutes to allow to firm up.

Divide mixture into six balls, flattening each into a patty.

Cook patties by grilling for on foil or a veggie tray for 5 minutes on each side. To cook indoors, place patties on well-greased cookie sheet for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, and broiling for 2 minutes on each side.

Notes: This simple recipe makes patties that taste nearly identical to frozen veggie burgers without the added salt, preservatives, oils and soy protein isolate. To freeze, wrap patties individually in clear food wrap and place in airtight container or gallon zipper-lock bag.

Roasted Chickpeas

2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried with a paper towel

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Garlic and chili powder (optional)

In a gallon ziplock bag, combine all ingredients and toss, evenly coating the chickpeas.

Spread chickpeas out on a foil-lined cookie sheet and place in 400 degree oven. Allow to bake for 40 minutes, stirring them halfway through. Allow to cool completely on cookie sheet before storing in airtight container for up to a week.

Notes: Be sure to allow to cool completely before storing or the chickpeas will become soft and mushy. This recipe can also be used to make sweet roasted chickpeas by coating the beans in a mixture of 1 tablespoon corn oil, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar, roasting as above then evenly coated in 2 tablespoons honey while still warm. These should cooled and stored as above.

NAN Life on 08/27/2014

Print Headline: Beyond Hummus


Sponsor Content