Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Garbanzo Beans

Today we are talking about another variety of bean, the Garbanzo Bean also known as the chickpea, common gram, Bengal gram, pea bean, ceci bean, Indian gram and gram pea. This bean is probably more like a large pea and less like a bean in its shape than other beans. It could very well be one of the most versatile varieties of bean.

Garbanzo beans are very inexpensive. If you buy them in bulk you can get them for between $.75 and $1 per pound. These beans are packed with dietary fiber that helps reduce the bad cholesterol and are great source of protein.

To cook garbanzo beans, pick over beans discarding rocks and stones or any dried, withered and discolored beans. Rinse the beans well. Place in a bowl, and add triple the amount of water as beans and soak overnight. Drain the beans and place in a saucepan with water to cover by 2” or more. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until tender, 1½ to 2½ hours. Cooking time will vary depending on your altitude, hardness of your water, etc.
Garbanzo beans are used in so many different ways. We’ve talked before about using them for Hummus or roasting them to eat as a snack or in salads. I’ve posted recipes for these again if you have not tried them before.

Garbanzo beans are great in salads and soups as well as many main dish recipes. They are especially prevalent in Indian cooking. I’ve posted some fun recipes for salads and soups and main dishes as well.

One use for Garbanzo beans or any bean for that matter, that we have not discussed yet is sprouting. We will go more in depth into sprouting in a latter post but just for variety, I’ve also posted the instructions for sprouting Garbanzos. If you have not tried sprouting yet, you may be interested to give this a try. You don’t need any special equipment, just beans and a wide mouth quart jar and some cloth to cover the mouth of the jar. I’ve found that sprouting just takes experimenting to find what you like and what you don’t like. Everyone’s tastes are different and what you like other’s may not. This takes very little work and effort but if fresh vegetables were unavailable, sprouting might be something that would bridge that gap. Beans themselves are nutritious, but sprouted beans are even more nutritious. Give this a try!

2-3 cloves garlic
½ t. coarse salt
1 (15.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
3 T. tahini (sesame-seed paste)
3 T. lemon juice
2 t. honey
½ t. cumin
1/8 t. red pepper flakes
1/8 t. black pepper
3 T. water, or as needed
4 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 T. chopped fresh parsley
Mash garlic with the salt in a small bowl. Place into a blender or food processor along with the garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, honey, cumin, red and black pepper, and water. Process till smooth; with processor running, pour in 2 T. olive oil. Process until smooth. If it is too thick for your liking, add more water until desired consistency is reached. Chill. Spoon into a serving dish, and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the top and sprinkle with fresh parsley to serve. Serve with pita chips.

Roasted Chickpeas from Dried Beans

1 c. dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 t. chili powder
1½ t. salt
1 T. lime juice
Pick over and rinse beans. Cover with water 2” above the level of the beans and let soak overnight. Drain & rinse. Put in a pot with water to cover; bring to a boil. Lower heat; add 1½ t. of the chili powder and simmer 15 minutes; drain. Put beans in a bowl and toss with the lime juice. Preheat oven to 400º. Lift beans out of the bowl with slotted spoon & put in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Stir after 15 minutes, brushing them with the lime juice remaining in the bowl Repeat 3 times, the last time sprinkling with remaining chili powder and salt. When they are golden brown and crispy (50-60 minutes total), remove from oven. Cool completely. *Watch carefully – beans can go from golden brown to burned black in just a couple of minutes.

Roasted Chickpeas from Canned Beans
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed well and drained well
½ t. curry powder
¼ t. cumin
1/8 t. cayenne
¼ t. salt (optional)
Heat oven to 400º. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Spray a baking sheet with canola or olive oil and spread beans in a single layer. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes until golden and crunchy, about 45-50 minutes. *Watch carefully the last 15 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

Bean Salad
1 can wax beans
1 can green beans (French Style)
1 can Garbanzo Beans
1 can Kidney beans
1 small onion, diced fine
1/3 c. sugar
¼ c. salad oil
½ c. white vinegar
Drain all beans and combine in a bowl. Add onion. Combine sugar, oil and vinegar and mix till sugar is dissolved. Pour over beans. Cover and chill several hours to marinate.

Southwestern Chickpea Salad
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed
1 large tomato, diced
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and diced
1/3 c. chopped green pepper
2 green onions, chopped
1 T minced fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & chopped fine (optional)
1/3 c. prepared Italian dressing
Combine all ingredients and toss to coat. Serve with slotted spoon. *Note: Avocado can be added to individual serving bowls. Don’t store avocado in leftover salad.

Olive Garden Minestrone Italian Soup
1 c. finely minced celery
1 c. finely minced onion
1 c. finely minced carrot
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. garbanzo beans
1/2 c. kidney beans
1/2 c. whole dried peas
3/4 c. sliced carrots
3/4 c. sliced celery
3/4 c. chopped bell pepper
1/2 c. rice or barley
1 c shell macaroni
2 T. minced parsley
1 t. oregano
1 t. basil
2 t. soy sauce
Pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese
Slowly sauté finely minced celery, onion and carrot in butter until very brown. Add the peas and beans and 3 quarts water. Cook slowly until beans are almost done (check garbanzos-they will take the longest) about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Add the remaining vegetables, rice and spices and more water if necessary and cook another hour. About 20 minutes before serving time add macaroni and more water if needed. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve with crusty garlic bread.

Garbanzo Bean Pasta Soup
1 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 quarts chicken broth or make your own
½ t. crushed red pepper flakes
¼ t. crushed basil
¼ t. crushed dried parsley flakes
12 oz. Angel hair pasta- broken in thirds (can use noodles or macaroni as well)
2 (15.5-oz) cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Fresh grated parmesan shredded mozzarella cheese
In a large pot, heat olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, basil and parsley. Sauté for a few minutes, then add broth. Bring to a boil, over high heat; stir in pasta. Lower heat to a simmer and add garbanzo beans. Simmer 6-8 minutes until pasta is cooked to your liking (less if you like it Al dente) and a little longer if you are using a different variety of pasta. Top individual servings with fresh ground pepper and shredded cheese Y: 6 servings

Chi-Chi beans
1 stick butter
1 small onion - chopped fine
2 cloves garlic - chopped fine
2 cans Chi-chi beans (Garbanzo beans)
Sauté onion and garlic in butter till tender. Add chi-chi beans and simmer 1 hour. Cook a box of your favorite pasta "Al Dente". Drain and rinse. Toss with Chi-Chi sauce and serve.

How to Sprout Garbanzo Beans
Garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, are a popular food around the world, offering a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and proteins. However, the nutritional value of garbanzo beans goes through the roof when they sprout. Sprouted garbanzo beans are not only fun to grow, the taste delicious in dips, salads, sandwiches, mixed into soups and more.

½ to ¾ c. Dried garbanzo beans
Wide-mouthed glass jar
Sprouting lid or cloth to cover jar

1) Choose dried garbanzo beans that have been picked over to remove any pieces of rock and any deformed beans. While you can sprout any type of garbanzo bean, green channa, a miniature chickpea found in Indian food stores, is the fastest and most flavorful, but any variety will work.

2) Rinse beans very well and soak garbanzo in clean water overnight, for about 8 to 10 hours. After soaking rinse the garbanzo beans well and then drain all of the water possible from the beans. Place them into a wide-mouthed glass jar in a cool, semi-lit location. Use a clean, large-mouth quart jar and a lid with holes (a sprouting lid – or make your own using a canning jar ring with a nylon stocking, cheesecloth held in place with a rubber band, a piece of wire mesh or plastic canvas, available at fabric stores). Air circulation is crucial during the sprouting process.

3) Check the bean sprouts every 6 to 8 hours, rinsing, draining and returning them to the jar. Garbanzo bean sprouts are generally tender and ready after about 1½ days; however, you can leave them up to 2 full days for longer sprouts.

4) Finish the sprouting process by giving the garbanzo beans a final rinse, removing as much water as is possible so the sprouts are almost dry to the touch, and then placing them in the covered jar in the refrigerator. Eat your sprouts within about 1 week.

Notes: Not all of these seeds will sprout at the same time. They are close enough to mix together though. You don’t have to wait for all of them to actually pop a root (sprout) - it isn't necessary and it can cause some of your seeds to over-sprout, but it is your choice. Depending on your climate and the time of year you are sprouting and most importantly your personal preference - You may Rinse and Drain again at 8-12 hour intervals for up to 6 days. However - we prefer to sprout only to the point where most of the seeds have sprouted tiny (¼“) roots, which is typically after just 3 Rinse and Drain cycles. Just for fun, taste your crop at EVERY RINSE - including the very first - just after the soak period. The soaked seeds are already alive and though they may not be their most nutritious they are still very nutritious - they are already without enzyme inhibitors (a very good thing) so they'll digest themselves and nourish you. Grow them for as long as you like (as long as you continue to Rinse and Drain every 8-12 hours) and find out for yourself when they are most delicious! If you grow for a week you'll get some plants growing as well as roots. Experiment! Have Fun! It's All Good!

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