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The Many Uses of the Chickpea

As George Clooney says (in that hilarious episode of friends where Monica and Rachel invite their doctors around for food): ‘God bless the chickpea’, and we couldn’t agree more. Not only are chickpeas extremely cheap, with tins selling for 50p in Sainsbury’s and even cheaper in supermarkets like ASDA and LIDL, but they are also exceedingly good for you.

Luckily for us, chickpeas are prized for their high protein and fibre content, and also contain several key vitamins and minerals known to benefit human health (source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/280244.php). Particular areas of health that they benefit include blood pressure, heart health, cancer prevention, cholesterol and digestion.

The best part is that they can be used in a variety of different methods and recipes, some of them so tasty that you should really try making them as soon as possible.

Recipe idea 1: Make your own hummus…

                                                                                (source:  http://cookieandkate.com/2011/spicy-sweet-potato-hummus/)

Making your own hummus is a really great idea because you get all the taste and health benefits of consuming chickpeas in this way, but without all of the artificial additives included in store bought versions.

All you need is a food processor of some kind or a soup-blender, and then the process just involves blending together chickpeas with garlic, oil, tahini, lemon juice and paprika. If you’re feeling up to it, roast some sweet potatoes and add them in there too, their combination with flavours like garlic and tahini truly is a match made in heaven.

Full recipe here: http://cookieandkate.com/2011/spicy-sweet-potato-hummus/

Recipe idea 2: Make your own falafel…

Ditch buying over-priced falafel from take-away food outlets and opt for making this delicious traditional Middle-Eastern snack at home, it really is so simple!

Again you will need a food processor of some kind, but then just blend together chickpeas with parsley, garlic, onion, oil, flour and chilli powder. Mould the mixture into individual burgers and fry in oil and you’ll have a cheaper, healthier and equally tasty version of a falafel pita wrap in no time.

Full recipe here: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/5605/falafel-burgers

Recipe idea 3: Use chickpeas when making stews.

                                                                                          (source: http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/quick-lamb-and-chickpea-casserole/)

Chickpeas are an ideal ingredient to include when making stews of any kind, as their subtle flavour works well alongside many others, and they bulk out recipes meaning that portions go further.

If you’re a meat-eater, try making a delicious lamb and chickpea casserole, involving cumin, paprika, lemon zest and honey. Full recipe here: http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/quick-lamb-and-chickpea-casserole/

If you’re a vegetarian, try adding chickpeas to chopped tomatoes and roasted vegetables to make a tasty and vitamin-packed stew. Full recipe here: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/10757/roast-summer-vegetables-and-chickpeas

So good luck getting creative with your chickpeas! Involve them in your diet and your taste buds and health will love you right back.

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