Seventy-six percent of men and 71% of women exceed the daily recommended amount of saturated fat. A significant source of saturated fat in the American diet comes from animal-based protein sources like beef, pork, and full-fat dairy products. One of the best ways to lower saturated fat intake is to increase plant-based protein foods in the diet.
Some of the best plant-based sources of protein belong to a subgroup of vegetables known as legumes. Some commonly known legumes include peanuts, black beans, and green peas. This article is going to focus on a lesser-known legume called chickpeas or garbanzo beans.
Chickpeas are a nutrient dense food. They provide nearly 20 grams of protein in a ½ cup serving. However, chickpeas are not considered a complete protein source because they do not provide adequate amounts of one of the nine essential amino acids. To make chickpeas a complete protein, pair them with a whole grain such as wheat, oats, or rice, which contain the amino acid chickpeas are lacking. Chickpeas are also a source of folate, fiber, iron, phosphorus, and unsaturated fatty acids.
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Aside from being a nutritional powerhouse, chickpeas are relatively inexpensive and easy to prepare. The most cost-effective form of a chickpeas are dried. There are two common ways to prepare dry chickpeas. The first way takes several hours but is not labor intensive. Simply rinse the chickpeas, place them in a large pot and cover them with cold water. Cover the pot and leave overnight. Two things to consider are using a pot large enough for the chickpeas to about double in size. Make sure to cover chickpeas with at least 3-4 inches of water. The other way to prepare chickpeas is to simply fill a soup pot with water and chickpeas and bring it to a boil. While mixing occasionally, boil for about 45 minutes to an hour, adding water as needed. If using canned chickpeas, draining and rinsing them will reduce the sodium content.
Hummus Servings per recipe: 4
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained, liquid reserved
2 drops sesame oil, or to taste (optional)
Directions: Blend garbanzo beans, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, salt, and sesame oil in a food processor; stream reserved bean liquid into the mixture as it blends until desired consistency is achieved.
- 2 (15 ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained
- 2 cucumbers, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, mined
- 1 (15 ounce) can black olives, drained and chopped
- 1 ounce crumbled feta cheese
- ½ cup Italian-style salad dressing
- ½ lemon, juiced
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Directions: Combine the beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, garlic, olives, cheese, salad dressing, lemon juice, garlic salt and pepper. Toss together and refrigerate 2 hours before serving. Serve chilled.
- Calories: 214
- Total fat: 12g
- Saturated fat: 2g
- Cholesterol: 3mg
- Sodium: 1067mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 26g
- Dietary fiber: 6g
- Total sugars: 3g
- Protein: 5g
- Vitamin C: 15mg
- Calcium: 104mg
- Iron: 3mg
- Potassium: 289mg
Joel Hollow is a registered dietitian at Mayo Clinic Health System La Crosse