Story — 13.08.2018

The pinnacle of plant protein: Chickpeas

The chickpeas we have eaten for centuries have become one of the most popular health foods in recent years.

Chickpeas are a nutritious and delicious legume consumed by humans for thousands of years. In recent years, chickpeas have become something of a star, especially among folks who enjoy vegetables with those that want to eat healthily.

The rising number of vegetarians and vegans has made plant protein more important than ever. We are in the golden age of gluten-free foods as well as nutrient-rich plants and legumes with high amounts of natural protein. In addition, Middle Eastern cuisine has become an object of curiosity around the world. Chickpeas have been consumed in this region for centuries. With 15 grams of protein and 12 grams of fibre in every 100 grams, chickpeas have begun to attract a lot of attention.

Food trends in 2018 indicate that Middle Eastern cuisine will soon find its way on to menus around the world, which of course means that the falafel and hummus made from chickpeas will become even more famous. We will also become more familiar with some of the less well-known uses for chickpeas.

Today, there are many innovative chickpea snacks on supermarket shelves, especially in America. Ready-made packages of houmous flavoured with vegetables such as spinach and beetroot, popped chickpeas, baked and spiced chickpea crisps, gluten-free, high-protein biscuits and crackers made from chickpea flour, are just some examples. A brand called Chickpeatos offers several different snacks made by baking or frying chickpeas, and now the brand has released a chickpea product that can replace breadcrumbs. It seems likely that we will see chickpeas in many different forms.

There is also “Aquafaba”. This is the water that’s left after cooking dried legumes (Aqua: water; Faba: Legumes). If you use tinned chickpeas that are already boiled, think of the water in the tin can. Our grandparents didn’t throw away the water after cooking legumes, they always used it to make cakes and baked goods. They must have known what they were doing. When this water is beaten very rapidly, it has a foamy texture that is very similar to beaten egg whites. Chickpea water is used in desserts like pavlova and meringue and is an excellent alternative for people who are allergic to egg whites, vegans or those who prefer not to consume eggs.

Here is a recipe for those who want to use chickpeas at home. Chocolate chip chickpea biscuits.

200 g boiled chickpeas, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 1 teaspoon of tahini (sesame seed paste), 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, all mixed in a blender. It will have a dough-like consistency in about 2 minutes. Then, add 50 g of chocolate chips and mix well. Shape into biscuit-sized balls. Cook for approximately 15 minutes at 180 degree Celsius.

Tuğçe Ergun

Tuğçe Ergun studied and currently works in the fields of economics and entrepreneurship. She began studying the relationship between nutrition and health after suffering from an illness. After studying plant-based nutrition at Cornell University, she created the healthy snack brand OCHI (@ochifood). She continues to inspire and be inspired by the healing power of food and nature.

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