Chickpeas are the best legume and one of the best foods for healthy eating. I love the shape, texture and versatility of chickpeas. Toss them in a salad, stew or make veggie burgers out of them. If using canned chickpeas, the aquafaba (the liquid in the can) can be used as an egg substitute for vegan baking. Not only are chickpeas versatile, they are nutritious as well.
A one-cup serving of chickpeas contains 15 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber. Plus, they also contain 70% of the daily value (DV) of folate and 26% of DV of iron (Source: LiveStrong). Chickpeas play a large part when eating a plant based diet. They are easy to digest and full of fiber to keep things moving in our body. If you have an issue with getting gassy after eating any legume or bean, a great tip is to soak them.
When using canned chickpeas, soak them in water overnight or during the day for at least 12 hours before eating. Change the water half-way through the soaking period. When using dried chickpeas, increase that time to 24 to 48 hours. Again, changing the water half-way through. Soaking reduces lectins in beans and legumes. It is the lectins that causes some people to have gas when eating them.
CHICKPEA HEALTH BENEFITS
Chickpeas are very beneficial for supporting colon health. Recent studies show that 65 to 75% of the fiber in chickpeas remains undigested until it gets to the colon. The colon then uses the fiber to produce short chain fatty acids. The short chain fatty acids provide fuel to the cells of the intestinal wall, which is the energy needed to help reduce the risk of colon cancer (Source: World's Healthiest Foods).
Never has gut healthy food been so top of mind. Colon cancer rates have been rising in people under the age of 55 and it is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. (Source: Cancer.org) When thinking about eating to be healthy, chickpeas play a role in food choices.
Chickpeas are high in fiber and contain moderate amounts of protein. This is a winning combination when it comes to losing and keeping weight off. Most Americans do not get enough fiber which leads to weight gain.
Especially given the popularity of high protein lifestyles. When we eat excess protein, it eventually gets stored as excess fat. People usually lose weight when they first start a high protein diet. This is because any change in eating pattern is going to result in losing weight. No matter what it is.
The problem becomes that eventually the high protein diet slows down our digestive system resulting in excess pounds. The digestion process needs high amounts of fiber to process food and send nutrients throughout the body. When we eat a high fiber diet, such as a plant based diet, our body naturally regulates to an appropriate weight. Chickpeas are a perfect complement to a plant based diet.
Controls Blood Sugar:
Chickpeas are a low glycemic food which means they do not spike blood sugar. Why is this important? When we eat foods that contain sugar or are converted to sugar in our body, the body must react by producing insulin. Insulin helps blood sugar remain at normal levels.
Unfortunately, when we eat a diet high in sugar and low in fiber, the body has to work that much harder to produce insulin to balance our blood sugar levels. If blood sugar levels stay high over a long period of time, the body becomes tired and may not be able to produce enough insulin. When this happens, diabetes sets in.
If you suffer from gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, lack of energy, moodiness, skin rashes, abdominal pain, anxiety, frequent belching or stomach gurgling, your gut is unhealthy! But you can heal your gut and overcome these embarrassing symptoms by eating foods high in fiber like chickpeas.
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Whaaaattt? Chickpeas for breakfast? I kid you not! Look at some of the great recipes that use chickpeas for breakfast.
Avocado Chickpea Toast from Living Well Kitchen combines one of the hottest breakfast trends, avocado toast, and adds some flair and extra nutrients by adding in chickpeas! Well done Living Well Kitchen! Click here for recipe.
Now here is a great idea: Chickpea Scrambled Vegan Eggs. The reason this is genius is the chickpea eggs can be combined with spinach, tomatoes, onions or whatever your go-to egg add-in is. Remember, 1 cup of chickpeas contains 15 grams of protein which will help you stay fuller longer. Click here for the recipe from Nest and Glow.
Did you know chickpea flour is a thing? This Carrot Zucchini Breakfast Bread uses chickpea flour. Plus, the recipe can be made vegan by using flax eggs instead of chicken eggs. Click here for the recipe from Rachl Mansfield.
I love sweet potatoes so much that I eat them for breakfast. Especially during the work week. This Chickpea Sweet Potato Hash from Simple Veganista is a great meal-prep recipe.
Plus, it is portable! Click here for the recipe.
Vegan Pancakes made with aquafaba from Serious Eats. If you are looking for a new way to make pancakes you have to try this recipe. While it uses white flour, you can substitute a gluten-free flour for those who need it. Click here for the recipe.
LUNCH / DINNER
Now that I shared with you ways to eat chickpeas for breakfast, let's move onto lunch. Actually, these recipes could also work for dinner so I combined lunch & dinner recipes all into one. Simply click on the name of the recipe below to be brought to the full recipe.
Roasted Broccoli Chickpea Quinoa bowls from Nourished The Blog
Chickpea Avocado Feta Salad from Homegrown in The Valley
Sweet & Sour Chickpeas with Peppers from Lord Byron's Kitchen
Crispy Chickpea Cutlet from Living Vegan
Chickpea Spinach Sweet Potato Brown Rice bowl from Green Evi
Chickpea Balls in Marinara Sauce from Ceara's Kitchen
Smoky Chickpea Lentil Soup from Dishing Out Health
DESSERTS AND BAKING
Since I mentioned aquafaba at the beginning of the post, I added a few recipes so you can be inspired the next time you are making a dessert or are in the mood to bake.
Aquafaba Chocolate Mousse from A Saucy Kitchen is light, creamy and only uses 3 basic ingredients: aquafaba, dark chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder. This is so easy anyone can make dessert! Top it with sliced fresh strawberries. YUM! Click here for the recipe.
Vegan Lemon Blueberry Muffins from Yup...It's Vegan, uses aquafaba instead of eggs. The muffins are perfect without them! Click here for the recipe.
Funfetti Vegan Cupcakes are a perfect birthday treat. Using aquafaba, no one will know you made them vegan! Click here for the recipe from Nora Cooks.
Vegan Carrot Cake from The Vegan Larder uses aquafaba and a combination of cinnamon, ginger and all spice for flavors that are more spicy than sweet. If you need this cake sweetened up, you can frost it with a Vegan Vanilla Frosting from Loving it Vegan. Click here for the Carrot Cake recipe.
I hope this post inspired you to use chickpeas as more than just a salad topping. Chickpeas are versatile enough to be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plus, they are full of fiber, iron and folate, key nutrients for a healthy body.
Do you think you will try any of the recipes I shared? Let me know by leaving a comment below.