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3 ways with chickpeas

3 ways with chickpeas

roasted chickpeas

We owe a lot to the humble chickpea: houmous, for one thing. But did you know, for example, that chickpeas can boost our heart health by reducing blood lipids, cholesterol and the harmful form of fat stored around the belly? In fact, a University of Tasmania trial found that a diet supplemented with chickpeas reduced ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol more than a diet supplemented with wheat.

Pulses help diabetics control their blood sugar better than wheat fibre, too, according to a Canadian study, whilst Harvard Medical School adds that the glycaemic index of chickpeas is lower than many other beans and lentils. Why not try one of these smart snack options next time the munchies hit?

Creamy Olive Houmous

Serves 3 as a starter; 267 calories per serving

1 x 400g tin chickpeas 3 tbsp lemon juice 2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 tbsp tahini 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 tbsp water 2 tbsp black olives, drained, rinsed and sliced Pinch of salt and black pepper

Blend everything except the olives in a food processor to produce a creamy paste. Taste and adjust the seasoning – adding more lemon, salt or pepper if you like. Then stir in the olives, and drizzle with a little more olive oil.

Healthy Benefits: The American Institute of Cancer Research reports that several studies link higher consumption of legumes to lower risk of colon cancer. They also contain quercetin, ferulic and caffeic acid – antioxidants that protect our cells from damage that can lead to cancer-causing cell mutations.

Cinnamon ‘Chick Nuts’

Serves 4; 113 calories per serving

1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed 2 tbsp honey ½ tbsp olive oil 1 tsp cinnamon Pinch of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4 and line two baking trays with parchment. Pat chickpeas dry with kitchen towel, then mix the honey, oil and spices and toss with chickpeas to coat. Spread on the trays and bake for 10-15 mins until crisp and golden. Leave in the oven to cool.

Healthy Benefits: Chickpeas contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, which help to smooth the passage of food in our intestines. This reduces the risk of constipation and diarrhoea, as well as that of bowel cancer. Further research has also shown that our beneficial gut bacteria convert chickpea fibre into short-chain fatty acids, which have been found to help ease IBS symptoms.

Almond Butter Cookies

Makes about 18; 105 calories per cookie

1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed 160g almond butter 4 tbsp agave syrup 1 tsp baking powder 2 tsp vanilla extract Pinch of salt 75g dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 180ºC/160ºC/gas mark 4; line a baking tray with baking parchment. Blend chickpeas in a food processor with the almond butter, syrup, baking powder, vanilla and salt until smooth. Mix in chocolate chips, and roll the dough into 18 small balls. Place on tray, flattening slightly. Bake for 10 minutes until golden.

Healthy Benefits: If sweet cravings sabotage your weight loss goals, these are a great healthy snack. A study in Australia found that eating a serving of chickpeas daily made people feel fuller and eat fewer processed snacks.

Share your favourite healthy snack with us on Twitter @healthymag using the #snackhappy hashtag.


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