The Busy Kitchen: Garbanzo beans a tasty, healthy option
BY CHEF VALARIE CARTER The Busy Kitchen
Monday, September 17, 2012
9/19/12 at 12:24 PM
Editor's note: The Busy Kitchen is a new Monday column written by two area chefs - Tiffany Poe and Valarie Carter - who also happen to be mothers of young children. They'll explore nutrition, cooking for kids and more.
It has finally happened. I'm now officially a soccer mom.
I don't have a ball and jersey number on my minivan yet, but that can't be far behind. (Actually, I don't have a minivan yet, either.)
Even though my son is only 3, we've only had two practices and one game each week, I can totally understand how families with multiple children and various activities have difficulty carving out time for a family dinner every night. In fact, in a recent unofficial poll among my girlfriends, planning meals around kids' activities ranked as one of the most difficult family food challenges.
Sandwiches are fine but can get a little boring, and fast food, for the most part, is fatty, salty, sugary, non-nutritional fodder. So what's a parent to do?
This is an issue I plan to tackle in upcoming columns as well, but today we're talking about garbanzo beans. You may know them as chickpeas, but whatever you call them, my kids call them yummy.
Garbanzo beans are a good source of protein, zinc and folate, and are very high in fiber. They are a complex carbohydrate and naturally low in fat.
Hummus, the Arabic word for chickpea, is a tasty and versatile dip that can be eaten as an appetizer, as part of the main meal, as a sandwich spread or, in our case, as a snack. It travels well, it's not messy, it's super fast to prepare and can be eaten right out of the fridge. Oh, and it's delicious! Scoop it with fresh veggies and pita wedges for a delicious, nutritious snack on the go.
For a super, quick snack, fry up some chickpeas. Just grab a can of garbanzos from the pantry, drain, and dry them well. This is important as they will spatter all over you and the whole kitchen.
Heat about a quarter inch of olive oil in a saute pan until it shimmers. Then add a single, uncrowded layer of the dried beans. (Notice how I'm emphasizing the dry part?)
Move them around gently, and cook until the beans are dark, golden brown and the skins are crispy. You may need to cook several batches. Drain on paper towels, and sprinkle with salt.
Sometimes I dust them with smoked paprika to change it up. You could also add some fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme and a couple of garlic cloves to the oil when the peas are halfway done. You don't want the garlic to get too dark, or it will turn bitter.
In its purest form, hummus consists of ground chickpeas, tahini (ground sesame seed paste), olive oil, garlic, salt and lemon juice, which are blended into a smooth paste. From there, the sky's the limit.
ROASTED RED PEPPER HUMMUS
1 can garbanzo beans
2-3 roasted red peppers
1/4 cup tahini
Juice of one lemon
One garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1. Empty beans and liquid into a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until bubbling. You could also heat on the stovetop.
2. Drain the beans, but reserve the liquid. Place drained beans and all other ingredients except olive oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade. Pulse until ingredients are combined; puree until smooth.
3. Add a little of the reserved bean liquid as needed to make a smooth paste. Add more salt to taste.
4. Add olive oil and puree for a few more seconds.
Tip: I love Big Lots for economical specialty items like roasted red pepper and olives.
A native Oklahoman, Valarie Carter earned a bachelor's degree in English from Oklahoma State University and an associate of arts in culinary arts from the Art Institute of Atlanta. She, her husband and their children live in Muskogee, where she makes pastries for The Bite.
Original Print Headline: Garbanzo beans a tasty snack
Garbanzo beans — also called chickpeas, which can be used to make hummus — are a good source of protein, zinc and folate, and are very high in fiber.