a taste of garbanzo beans

When it comes to carrots and hummus, there’s no stopping me. I’m not sure what it is about the combination of refreshingly sweet and crunchy carrots with thick and creamy hummus, but it keeps me coming back again and again (and again).

Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, were first cultivated around 3000 BC by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Although small, they pack an impressive nutritional punch with concentrated sources of protein and antioxidants to effectively regulate blood sugar, decrease cardiovascular risks, and provide digestive support.

Luckily for us double-dipper hummus lovers, this traditional Middle Eastern and Indian ingredient is a pulse, or edible seed of a plant in the legume family. And if you haven’t already heard, the UN declared 2016 the year of the Pulses due to their impressive nutritional profile, affordability, and sustainability. (You can read more about that –> here).

Convinced yet?

Hummus is probably the most widely recognized use of garbanzo beans. You can use it as a dip, slather it on sandwiches, spoon it on top of salmon, or enjoy it in sushi form. My favorite? A toasted slice of good sourdough with a slather of the creamy spread, lightly sautéed radish greens, thinly sliced radish bulbs, lots of hot red pepper, and flaky sea salt.

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These balls of crushed garbanzo beans and herbs are traditionally found deep-fried and snug inside warm pita underneath a blanket of lettuce, pickled vegetables, and tahini.

For a healthier spin on the dish, I tried Lee From America’s recipe for baked falafel, which did not disappoint. All you need is chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, cooked brown rice, salt, cumin, black pepper, garlic, sesame seeds, a blender, and a whole lot of self-restraint to prevent yourself from eating the batter before it’s baked.

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After 30 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees, the falafel was ready. I added it to a lunch plate alongside peppery arugula, avocado, lentil salad (can never have too many pulses), and sweet potato.

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Socca, like falafel, is enjoyed as a street food in many parts of the world- namely Italy and France. Essentially an unleavened crepe made with ground chickpea flour, it is naturally gluten-free and light yet surprisingly satisfying. Taking a cue from Sarah Wilson’s The I Quit Sugar CookbookI allowed one cup of chickpea flour to soak in 1 1/4 cups of water and one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar for 24 hours. Once lunchtime rolled around, I whisked in coconut oil, poured half the batter into a cast-iron skillet, and placed it under the broiler for about 10 minutes.

Using what I already had in my refrigerator, I topped the crust with goat cheese, kale, asparagus, radishes, and chives before placing it back in the broiler. Once the edges started to crisp up, I knew it was done.

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If you’re looking for an easy and fast dinner that won’t leave you stranded with lots of pots to clean, roast rinsed and dried garbanzo beans in paprika, cumin, and salt before tossing with greens.

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kale, spiralized carrots, roasted garbanzo beans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries
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radish greens with garbanzo beans, beets, and sweet potato


Whoever said garbanzo beans were just meant for savory dishes has obviously never tried these blondies. Slightly altering a recipe from Ambitious Kitchen, I combined one can of chickpeas with 1/3 cup all natural peanut butter, 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/3 cup unsweetened raw cacao nibs, and enough almond milk to make the batter smooth.

25 minutes in the oven is all it takes!

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  • What is your favorite way to eat garbanzo beans?

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