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The Great Garbanzo

Did you know that beans are one of the oldest cultivated crops around? By some accounts, 7,500 year-old remains of this great bean have been found in the Middle East - they're ancient! They're also an excellent source of quality plant protein and fiber. And, they are inexpensive, nutritionally dense and very versatile. In fact, this favorite is so super-versatile and "exotic" it could turn up in your appetizer, your snack, your dessert or even your pancakes! That, my friends, is the GREAT GARBANZO! Call it a chickpea or call it a garbanzo bean, it's the same thing. For me, garbanzo beans always conjure memories of my time in India tasting wonderful, exotic dishes specially prepared from various regions. Many of these delicacies were made from Gram flour or Besan flour - both of which are made from ground garbanzo beans. In fact, I was in garbanzo heaven every time I bit into a Besan Ladoo, a sweet treat made with garbanzo bean flour and spices like cardamom. No wonder India leads the world in garbanzo bean production, followed by Pakistan and Turkey. These days, you'll find that gluten-free products - everything from biscuits to pancakes - often contain garbanzo bean flour. This adds protein and versatility. When you add these delicious garbanzo beans to your menu, you'll be getting a good bang for your buck! Just one cup of cooked garbanzo beans has:
  • 8% of your daily calcium needs
  • 26 % of your daily iron needs
  • 12 grams of fiber
  • Just 4 grams of fat
  • And 15 grams of great protein
Can't beat that! Sweet and mild in flavor, they'll enhance just about any favorite dish. Let's start with what I call "The Great Garbanzo Garnish." Be generous!
  • Garnish leafy green salads with plenty of these great beans.
  • Garnish soups, stews and casseroles.
  • Garnish hot cooked grain dishes.
  • Garnish sautéed veggie dishes.
  • Garnish toasted pita bread.
  • Garnish pizza.
  • Garnish warmed-up tortillas - and be sure to add a little cheese and tomato, maybe a little avocado.
  • Garnish sliced tomatoes; great with fresh cheese and olive oil.
While canned garbanzo beans are easy to use, you can also cook up a fresh pot yourself. Start by soaking the beans overnight. Discard the soaking water, fill the pot with fresh water and simmer until tender, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. For flavor, add some chopped onion and garlic. Be sure to cook until tender. Drain and keep them handy in the fridge, ready for use. Here are more great ways to glorify garbanzos: In case you're curious, here's a recipe for Besan Ladoos. Got a hankering for garbanzo beans? Have a favorite recipe? I would love to hear!