The first time I scooped a spoonful of garbanzo beans into my mouth, they were the most bland-tasting balls of mushiness that I’d ever had.They had no flavor and so for me served no purpose other than the notion that they must be healthy because of their proximity to all the other healthy foods under the sneeze bar.
That was back in 1996 – when I was busy loading up my newly acquired vegetarian status with all the carbohydrates I could find. It probably would have helped if I’d have picked up a few books on what it means to be vegetarian but well, doing anything in an organized, by-the-book manner clashed with my nicely cluttered mindset. I cut out all meats, started eating more of everything else, gained 30 pounds and completely ignored how healthy garbanzo beans could be for my diet.
New diet, new garbanzo bean appreciation
FINALLY, in 2012 – on a another path toward healthy living as a new vegan who was more conscious of proteins and the horror of my former bread-pasta-high fructose diet – garbanzo beans, chick peas if you will, took center stage in my nutritional arsenal. Experimenting with new food combinations is the foundation of a well-rounded vegan diet – if you want to have a little variety that is, and garbanzo beans are the perfect addition for just about every meal. I learned that the bland taste I couldn’t connect with all those years ago were designed perfectly to absorb flavors well and create great recipes.
- Channa Masala – a delicious Indian dish that blends a mixture of curry, cumin, tumeric, cloves, and other Indian spices with garbanzo beans and is the newest of my favorite garbanzo bean dishes. This one was restaurant-made, and a bit too salty for my de-salted taste buds but I loved the other flavors.
- The Hummus Fiesta – In flavors of red pepper, garlic, artichoke, plain or a zillion homemade concoctions, processed garbanzo beans can be used as a dip, sandwich spread instead of mayonnaise, cracker topping, or filling. For my Cashew-Creamy Hummus recipe and more hummus uses, check out my Yahoo Voices article.
- Avacado-garbanzo bean salsa – You’d be surprised how delicious this simple mixture of chopped avacado, garbanzo beans and either pre-mixed salsa, or your own homemade version tastes alone or scooped onto crackers, pita bread or rolled into tortillas. Garlic powder seasoning, curry, pepper, and any one of the Indian spices blend well with this mixture.
Now when I scoop a spoonful of these little tan beauties into my mouth, I know that they are full of protein, that they are very versatile for all things low-fat, high-energy, and belly-filling, and that they mix well with avacado, with kale, with onion, in smoothies, as mayonnaise substitutes, and on, and on, and on ….