Feature

In season: chickpeas

Green Lifestyle Magazine

Chickpeas are nutritionally dense little morsels, a cousin of the bean, that lend themselves exceptionally well to drying and storing. Freshly cooked chickpeas taste so much better than tinned chickpeas.

Chickpeas-feature

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Hummus

Take a cup of dry chickpeas, rinse them and pick over them for dark peas and stones. Place in a bowl and cover well with water. Soak in the refrigerator for 12 hours (overnight) to soften them before tipping the chickpeas and water into a medium saucepan and add as much water again. Bring to the boil then simmer for one hour or until tender. Drain and allow to cool. This makes about 3 cups of cooked beans. Place one cup of cooked chickpeas in a blender with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, juice of one lemon, 3 tablespoons of unhulled tahini, a peeled clove of garlic (optional) and salt to taste. Blend for several minutes until smooth. For a runnier hummus add a little hot water as it is blending. Serve with vegetable sticks as a dip or delicious served warm over steamed vegetables. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for a week. Place the leftover cooked chickpeas in a plastic bag in the freezer and use as required. Serves 6

Pumpkin and chickpea salad

Take a cup of cooked chickpeas (see above) and place in a bowl with 100g, roughly a large handful, of washed baby spinach leaves and 2 cups of pumpkin, cut into 1 cm cubes, steamed and cooled. Make a dressing by placing in a jar the juice of a lemon, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and salt to taste. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously. Pour over as much dressing as you like and gently lift your fingers through the salad to toss and mix. Finish by sprinkling over a small handful of gently toasted almonds, crushed or pepitas. Serves 2-4

Chickpea burgers

In a food processor place a thick slice of 2 day old sourdough bread that has been cut into 1 cm cubes and process into coarse breadcrumbs. Add a cup of cooked chickpeas, a small handful of fresh chopped herbs such as parsley or coriander and half a cup of finely grated carrot. Add a little salt and black pepper to taste. You can add an egg to bind the ingredients, if not add a tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil for moistness. Process to make a rough looking mix. Form into 4 or 6 patties and cook these in a non stick frypan over a medium heat until browned on each side. Serve as is or in buns with tomato, lettuce, cooked onion and tomato sauce. Serves 4-6