Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Favorite Ingredient of the Week: Garbanzo Beans (aka Chick Peas)

These beans are a fantastic and resourceful kitchen staple.  You can sprout them for salads, eat them raw, puree them into hummus, or garbanzo bean flour makes easy and tasty gluten free bread.  The best part about all of these options is the foundation that garbanzo beans provide that allow the chef (that’s you) to be creative in the kitchen with ease!

But, before we get into the other ingredients in these recipes, lets discuss the main event.  Garbanzo beans are an excellent source of fiber and antioxidants.  Also known as “chick peas”, they exist in a variety of colors although most grocery stores carry what are known as the cream colored “kabuli-type”. Chick peas with darker shells have an even higher concentration of antioxidants  - so the darker and uglier the better!  Garbanzo beans retain their nutritional value in the cooking and canning process but when buying canned beans make sure you check your labels for food coloring, preservatives, and BPA content.  Many canning manufacturers don't list BPA information, so you may have to call the manufacturer directly to determine those levels.

I’m a big fan of Bob’s Red Mill brand of gluten free products and they provide 22 oz bag of garbanzo bean flour.  On the front of the bag they list the following benefits and uses for this flour:
“Stone Ground Garbanzo Bean Flour: Good Source of Protein:  Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas) are one of the creamiest and tastiest of beans.  Flour made from this delicious bean lends a sweet, rich, slightly “beany” flavor to baked goods.  Garbanzo flour is high in protein and is especially good for gluten free baking.  It can be used to thicken soups, sauces or gravies.”

For those living with Celiac’s Disease garbanzo beans are the best for you for a very specific reason;  they provide digestive tract support.  Our digestive tract can get beaten up with the smallest amount of wheat/gluten contamination.  Those of you who are like me and make mistakes with ingredients or get “dosed” when eating out or trying a new brand or ingredient, our digestive tracts need some regular TLC.   According to, garbanzo bean’s importance is explained as follows:

“This insoluble fiber typically passes all the way through our digestive tract unchanged, until it reaches the last part of our large intestine (the colon). Bacteria in our colon can break down the garbanzos' insoluble fiber into short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) including acetic acid, propionic acid, and butyric acid. These SCFAs can be absorbed by the cells that line our colon wall and can be used by these cells for energy. In fact, butyric acid is the preferred source of energy for the cells lining our colon. With the extra amounts of energy provided by SCFAs from the insoluble fiber in garbanzos, our colon cells can stay optimally active and healthy. Healthier colon cell function means lower risk for us of colon problems, including lower risk of colon cancer. “  (, April 2011)

Celiac’s Disease exists mainly in the small intestine. But, research has shown a common link between Celiac’s Disease and colon cancer often as a result of long term inflammation in the intestine, which leads to inflammation of the colon.  There is no cure of course for colon cancer and is one of the more faster moving cancers, especially for those with Celiac’s.  So take care of that colon with one these recipes below!
(, April 2011)

The  basic ingredients of hummus are as follows:

1 16 oz can of chick peas
¼ C of Tahini (or peanut butter)
¼ C of lemon juice
1-2 TB of olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 TB of apple cider vinegar
(add small amounts of water for desired consistency)

Put all ingredients in food processor and blend for at least 1 minute for a smooth creamy finish.

From here you have a blank canvas to do with what you want!  

  • For example, for a lemon scallion hummus add:
1 -2 scallions
1 TB of peeled lemon rind
ground pepper to taste
    Add ingredients to food processor and mix well.

  • For a roasted pepper hummus add:

¼ cup diced peppers
red pepper flakes, to taste

  Sautee peppers and garlic until soft, then add to food processor.  Mix lightly.

Garbanzo Bean Bread

We use this bread recipe to accompany soups and stews, and as a crust for pizza.

The basic ingredients for garbanzo bean bread is as follows:

1 cup of garbanzo bean flour
3 TB olive oil
1 cup of water
a few shakes of ground pepper

Preheat oven at 450 degrees F and put cast iron skillet in oven while you mix ingredients.  Slowly mix small amounts of water into flour and add the olive oil and pepper.  Once all ingredients are mixed in small bowl, let sit for 10 minutes. Remove skillet from oven and coat bottom generously with olive oil.   Pour mix into skillet and spread until even.  Put the skillet in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown along edges.  Remove skillet from oven and let sit to cool.  Use spatula along edges and flip bread onto pizza stone or cutting board.

                                            Plain garbanzo bean bread fresh out of the oven.

  • For Pizza:
Spread tomato sauce,cheese and toppings onto bread and put back into the oven for 10         minutes or until cheese is melted.  (hint: sautee/ heat toppings separately, minus cheese,     before adding to pizza to avoid over baking pizza crust) With pizza stone, this bread will stay crispy and makes great leftovers.

                                      Garbanzo bean bread with pasta sauce, sauteed
                                      onions, peppers, garlic, garden vegetable tempeh,
                                      spinach, jalapenos, and Daiya cheddar cheese.

  • Variations:
Add the following ingredients into garbanzo bean bread mix or sprinkle on top prior to         baking for delicious varations:

diced jalapenos or chiles
diced onions

Send me your favorite ingredient variations of these recipes or your favorite recipe using our beloved garbanzo beans or garbanzo bean flour!


An Hour In the Kitchen said...

Great post!

I believe that Eden's is the only brand of beans that doesn't contain BPA, though hopefully others are following suit.

I always used dried beans. They are cheaper, taste better and are easy. If you presoak them with a little baking soda, they cook up in 30 minutes. I make a big batch and then freeze for quick dinners.

Falafels are one of my favorite chic pea recipe (no cooking the dried beans required).

Ann said...

I definately agree with the dried beans. I have never sprouted chick peas so I learned something new writing this blog. I'm looking forward to trying it in the next few days.

That's a great falafel recipe and gluten free too!