I think I have a problem… actually, I am pretty sure I do.
I LOVE chickpeas (aka, Garbanzo Beans).
Any chance I get, I add them to a meal.
At the beginning of my plant-based journey, I am pretty sure Jeff (my husband) was sick of eating them. Now, he realizes it’s inevitable they will show up on our menu multiple times a week.
Is it a bad thing to love chickpeas? I’d say no… so let’s look at some research.
When comparing 10 different legumes to see which one had the most antioxidant content, chickpeas came in second! (1)
Why do we care about antioxidants?
As we live our everyday lives, we are exposed to many harmful things like air pollution, cigarette smoke, toxic metals, pesticides, and even harmful components in foods we eat (i.e. nitrates in processed meats). These exposures and an unhealthy lifestyle can create free radicals within our bodies which can cause cell damage and oxidative stress. (2)
Unfortunately, oxidative stress (let's think of this as cell damage--to keep it simple) is thought to play a role in a variety of diseases including:
Eye diseases (i.e cataracts and age-related macular degeneration)
Since we can’t hide in a bubble and because it’s impossible to live a perfect lifestyle every moment of each day, the best thing we can do is consume foods with antioxidants ... like chickpeas! Antioxidant molecules have been shown to counteract cell damage (oxidative stress). Nutrition win!
Quick Note: Research has yet to support if antioxidant supplements provide the same benefits as consuming whole, plant-based foods which naturally have antioxidants. Some high-antioxidants can actually increase cancer risk. Yikes. Don’t rely on a supplement!
As you may know, legumes aren’t the only foods high in antioxidants. Wholesome supports eating a variety of high antioxidant foods including:
Berries (blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries)
Russet Potatoes (Yes, really!)
Apples (Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala)
One last thing about chickpeas…
Remember when we talked about a healthy gut? Well, the human microbiome loves chickpeas!
Chickpeas have the potential to regulate our intestinal microbial consumption. Huh? Let’s put it this way, research shows chickpeas helps us get rid of bad bacteria in our gut which improves our gut health. (1) Another nutrition win for chickpeas!
It wouldn't be very nice of me to leave you without an awesome chickpea recipe now would it?
I can’t take ANY credit for the awesome recipe below -- why mess with something that's already awesome!? It’s from Vegan Richa and the only thing I did different was omit the oil (You can read more about why we try to reduce oils here). Also, we had the tortillas breakdown a little more to make it easier for toddlers to eat.
❤️l a u r e n
Created by: Vegan Richa | Serves: 4 | Total Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Traditional Chilaquiles are corn tortilla pieces that are fried, cooked in salsa, and sprinkled with cheese. Vegan Richa's version eliminates the cheese and adds delicious chickpeas for protein.
Red Sauce Ingredients:
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup water or vegetable stock
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1/2 tsp ground cumin
half of the onion garlic mixture from above
1/3 tsp salt
Chopped red onion
1/4 cup water
1 small onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup carrots, chopped
15 oz can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
a good dash of cinnamon
Salt to taste
2 tortillas or 1.5 cups tortilla chips
Add water to skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrots and a pinch of salt and cook until tender. If everything starts to stick to the skillet, add more water. Cook for 4 to 6 mins. Stir occasionally. Reserve half of the mixture for the red sauce.
Add chickpeas and spices to the skillet. Mix well, cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile make the red sauce: Blend all the red sauce ingredients and reserved onion/garlic/carrot mixture until smooth in a blender and set aside.
Add tortilla chips or crisped sliced tortillas to the chickpea skillet.
Pour the blended sauce over the chickpeas and tortillas. Stir and bring to boil. Taste and adjust salt. Once you like the texture, you're done!
Serve immediately garnished with chopped onion, cilantro, avocado, and a dash of lime juice.
Michael Greger M.D., FACLM “Benefits of Lentils and Chickpeas.” NutritionFacts.org, 10 Aug. 2018, nutritionfacts.org/video/benefits-of-lentils-and-chickpeas/.
“Antioxidants: In Depth.” National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 4 May 2016, nccih.nih.gov/health/antioxidants/introduction.htm.
Rubio, Camila Peres, et al. Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 Aug. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4986369/.