Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are held in very high regard throughout the Mediterranean basin. They are a main source of protein for the people in the Mediterranean region and are one of the earliest cultivated vegetables. Garbanzos have been eaten raw as a snack, added into main dishes or salads, and have even been included in some dessert dishes. Although a staple throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean, chickpea production (with the exception of Turkey, Iran, and Iraq) is surprisingly low in these countries. India is by far the largest chick pea producing country in the world, with Pakistan at a very distant second.
Chickpeas are a good source of zinc, folate and protein and contain high levels of dietary fiber which make them a very healthy source of carbohydrates. They are very low in fat, and the fat that they do contain is polyunsaturated. According to the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, chickpeas contain on average: 23% protein, 64% carbohydrates, 5% fat, and 6% fiber.
There are many dishes that include chickpeas as a main ingredient, including Hummus which is a very healthy, blended dip made of primarily chickpeas, tahini (made from sesame seeds), olive oil, and garlic with many other varying ingredients. However to keep it simple at first, I am sharing with you a staple dish in its own right at my restaurant; a delicious, healthy, light, and easy to prepare dish with the simple name of "Chickpea Salad." Share with your loved ones and enjoy!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Ready in: 20 Minutes
- 4 cups cooked, drained and rinsed chickpeas
- ½ cup diced red pepper
- ½ cup diced green pepper
- ½ cup sliced black olives (drained and rinsed)
- ½ cup diced red onion
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- ¼ cup shredded carrots
- 3 tbsp each extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice
- 3 pinches kosher salt
- 4 pinches pepper
- 4 pinches of dry mint
Combine all vegetables and parsley in a large bowl and toss. Add olive oil and lemon juice mix. Add salt, pepper, and mint. Toss all ingredients and until mixed thoroughly. You may serve as a side dish or as the first course.
Note: You may try adding feta cheese or freshly grated cheese as a garnish or to your own taste. I have added fried fruit (like raisins) to this salad for a wonderful twist on a familiar Mediterranean salad.
Shaw H. Rabadi, restaurant owner/chef/author, invites you to Eat, Drink, and Be Mediterranean with him for a happier, healthier life!
Visit http://www.themediterraneandigest.com/ for information on his newly released story-cookbook, "Savor the Spices of Life" and more info on eating, cooking, and living a heart healthier life.
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