Choose Chickpeas

Don’t leave the chickpeas for your shalom zachor because there is now plenty of evidence about garbanzo beans and their health benefits.

Garbanzo beans (like most legumes) have long been valued for their fiber content. Two cups provide the entire government recommended daily value. But the research on garbanzos and fiber has recently taken us one step further by suggesting that the fiber benefits of garbanzo beans may go beyond the fiber benefits of other foods.

In a recent study, one group received dietary fiber primarily from garbanzo beans. The other group obtained dietary fiber from entirely different sources. The garbanzo bean group had better blood fat regulation, including lower levels of LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. Evidence also suggests a decreased chance of colon cancer in those who regularly included chickpeas in their diets.

Chickpeas can be cooked and eaten cold in salads, cooked in stews, or ground into a flour called gram flour or chickpea flour. This flour is used primarily in Indian cuisine. One of the most common uses for chickpeas is, of course, falafel, where it is ground and shaped in balls and fried. In the Philippines and other Asian cultures, garbanzo beans are preserved in sweet syrup and eaten as dessert.

The simplest way to add them to your diet is by simply substituting chickpeas for the croutons on your salad. They will turn the salad into a filling meal.

Dried chickpeas need a long cooking time (1–2 hours) but will easily fall apart when cooked longer. If soaked for 12–24 hours before use, cooking time can be shortened by around 30 minutes.

Chickpeas are a helpful source of zinc, folate and protein. They are also very high in dietary fiber and hence a healthy source of carbohydrates for people with insulin sensitivity or diabetes. Chickpeas are low in fat and most of this is polyunsaturated.

Adding chickpeas to your recipe repertoire is easy. Try these today!

Chickpea and Chicken Sheet-Pan Dinner

This oldie-but-goodie was popular before “sheet-pan dinners” became a thing!

  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 chicken bottoms
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • 1 12-ounce container grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley, checked and divided

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a sheet pan with foil.

Mix oil, garlic, paprika, cumin and crushed red pepper in a medium bowl. Pour 1 teaspoon of the spiced oil mixture into small bowl; whisk in mayonnaise and set aside for sauce. Place chicken in prepared pan. Rub 2 tablespoons spiced oil mixture over chicken.

Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup parsley to remaining spiced oil mixture; toss to coat beans and tomatoes. Pour mixture around chicken. Sprinkle everything generously with salt and pepper.

Roast until chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup parsley. Transfer chicken and chickpea mixture to plates. Serve with sauce.

Chickpea Curry

Here’s a delicious way to introduce your family to the intense flavors of curry

  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 10 ounces fresh or frozen spinach, washed, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • brown rice, for serving

Heat canola in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté 2-3 minutes, or until they begin to soften.

Next, add the curry powder, cumin, and cinnamon, and stir to coat the onions evenly with spices. Add tomatoes with their juices, and the chickpeas, and stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup water and sweet potatoes and increase heat to a boil. Cook 15-20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft.

Add the spinach, a couple handfuls at a time, stirring to coat with cooking liquid. Cover and simmer until just wilted, about 3 minutes.

Fill a platter with brown rice and spoon chickpea curry over it. Serve immediately.

Many ingredients are prone to infestation. Please consult a local Rav for specific guidelines on how to avoid transgressions related to insects.

Readers may submit questions to the Culinary Connoisseur, c/o Hamodia, 207 Foster Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11230 or via e-mail to This weekly column has been brought to you by The Peppermill, the world’s first kosher kitchenware store, located at 5015 16th Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. (718) 871-4022. You can also read a selection of previous columns in their comprehensive cookbook, The Culinary Connoisseur, available now at your local Judaica and kitchenware stores. Jam-packed with delicious recipes, insightful food information and helpful cooking tips, this book is certain to become your constant companion in the kitchen.