Food

Focused Foodie: Chickpeas

Tinned food is a saving grace as university; from Heinz soup and baked beans, to the tin of chickpeas any student cupboard would not be complete without. Cheap, easy, healthy… the simple chickpea is perfect for so many recipes.

evidence has also suggested chickpeas help to lower your cholesterol and thereby reduce your chance of cardiovascular health problems in the future.

For all the health-conscious people out there, this versatile legume ticks all the boxes. They are high in folate, to help maintain a normal metabolism, and dietary fibre, for a healthy digestive system. They are also a source of iron and protein for anyone veggie or vegan; 100g contains 19.3g of protein, which is pretty decent. In terms of health, evidence has also suggested chickpeas help to lower your cholesterol and thereby reduce your chance of cardiovascular health problems in the future. 

But how we can make the most of this delicious ingredient? Firstly, opt for shopping in Lidl when you buy your chickpeas, or look for the Growers Harvest range in Tesco. They are much cheaper than branded versions (as little as 40p a tin) and there is really no difference in quality.

Remember: it’s not the best idea to keep opened tins of food in the fridge, as the metal from the can may leak into the food, and make it taste a bit gross.

Canned, unopened chickpeas are a perfect cupboard filler as they can be stored for literally years if you keep them in a cool, dark place. Once opened, you can store them in a container in the fridge for up to a week. Remember: it’s not the best idea to keep opened tins of food in the fridge, as the metal from the can may leak into the food, and make it taste a bit gross. The best way to avoid this is to always transfer to a Tupperware first!

When you are cooking anything with chickpeas, always rinse them in cold water first to get rid of all the weird gloopy water. Fun Fact: this slimy water is actually called aquafaba and can be used as an egg white replacer in vegan dishes, such as for making cakes or meringues. Although it sounds complicated, it is actually really easy and great if you’re into zero waste cooking. Try this Three-Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Mousse a go to really impress your housemates: https://www.asaucykitchen.com/aquafaba-chocolate-mousse/.

Once you have your rinsed chickpeas, you can literally use them for almost anything. A chickpea and spinach curry, using tinned tomatoes, curry paste, onion, garlic and whatever spices you want, is a solid student recipe. Here’s a pretty good recipe: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2141649/spinach-and-chickpea-curry.

You can also make your own falafel by blending chickpeas with onion, garlic, flour and plenty of herbs and spices, then shaping into burger patties or balls and frying in oil. Falafel is great as part of a pitta sandwich, as a burger or in a salad.

I’d also recommend chickpeas for snacking. Simply roast your chickpeas in the oven with paprika and oil and there you have a healthy alternative to crisps. Or you could try making your own hummus by blending chickpeas with lemon juice, tahini, oil, salt and whatever other flavours you fancy.

Honestly, chickpeas are so versatile and so cheap that there’s no reason not to have about 20 tins in your kitchen cupboard… or so I try to convince myself!

Katy Skillen

Sources: https://www.healingplantfoods.com/facts-about-chickpeas/#4_Chickpeas_Are_One_Of_The_Best_Food_Sources_Of_Folate

Featured image courtesy of Marco Verch via Flickr. Image license found here
Article image 1 courtesy of jules via Flickr. Image license found here
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Article image 3 courtesy of Ella Olsson via Flickr. Image license found here

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