In honor of February the unofficial “love” month – we are talking about all sorts of heart healthy foods that I just so happen to love! Hopefully these easy recipes will give you inspiration to love them too. We all need time saving midweek meal inspiration and that’s exactly what I’m serving up this week with garbanzo beans (also referred to as chickpeas).

Roasted Chickpeas with Cauliflower Steaks

There is more to garbanzo beans than hummus, falafel, and roasting them for a salad. They are one of the most versatile and widely available beans out there. Because of this, they are usually always a part of epidemiologic studies that look at cardiovascular health. Studies show that we only need about ¾ cup of garbanzo beans per day to help lower LDL cholesterol levels, total cholesterol, and triglyerides in only a one month time frame. Imagine what that could do over the course of a few months or a year??! As many beans, part of the heart healthy benefit comes from the soluble fiber but garbanzo beans also have unique antioxidants that support blood vessels. We can’t fail to mention that garbanzo beans are a good source of plant-based protein (15 grams of protein per ½ cup cooked) with 71% of your folate needs for the day. Folate helps lower homocysteine levels in the body; high levels of homocysteine are attributed to increased heart attack and stroke. Garbanzo beans also have essential vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, phosphorus, and B vitamins to support overall health and well-being.

If you’re interested in more of the health benefits of garbanzo beans, let me know. Otherwise, we are going to dig deeper into the recipes for this week!

Basil Chickpea Curry

Simple and refined. The addition of fresh basil turns this standard curry into a flavor bomb. You don’t have to use fresh, but it does level up the meal! To start, add ½ cup basmati rice and 1 cup water bring to a boil. Keep an eye on the rice – when the water is boiling put a lid on it, reduce the heat to low and cook for another 8-10 minutes. If you’re using another type of rice, follow package instructions. If you’re cooking for more than a couple people, increase as needed. While the rice is cooking, chop one large onion, mince two to three cloves of garlic, slice 1 cup fresh basil into ribbons (or use a tablespoon dried and add with curry paste), and juice one lime (set aside juice). Sauté onion with dab of olive or coconut oil in a large pan and cook on medium until onions become translucent. Add the garlic and cook another minute.  Stir in 1 – 2 heaping tablespoons of your favorite curry paste (or use powder). Also stir in 1 can of coconut milk and 1 can drained/rinsed chickpeas, stirring until the curry is dissolved. Taste test – if you’d like your curry a little stronger then add another tablespoon or so – I usually always add more. Add a splash of soy sauce (one – two tablespoons). Cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, bringing the curry to a boil. If it starts to burn and stick to the bottom, reduce heat immediately. Throw in can of diced tomatoes (drained), two to three cups chopped spinach (if desired), chopped basil (if using fresh), and lime juice. Gently simmer and taste teste again – add a dab of soy sauce if you want it saltier, curry paste for more curry flavor, maple syrup or sugar for sweetness, crushed red pepper flakes for spice. The rice should be more than done by now (don’t forget about it 😉 ) – fork it through to make it fluffy.

Vegan Chickpea Chicken Salad

One of the first recipes I made for omnivores at picnics and potlucks back my early vegan/vegetarian days was chickpea “chicken” salad. It’s so super easy, basically, I mashed up some chickpeas with Veganaise (a plant-based dressing like mayo) or a tahini based goddess dressing. I might have thrown in some diced onion or carrot but it was pretty straightforward and served with crackers, tortillas, or stuffed in romaine leaves. While this is still a favorite, if I find myself with more refined tastes, I’ll do this… mash 1 can garbanzo beans (rinsed/drained) well in a medium bowl. You want to mash some of the beans a lot and some a little – you’re not making hummus here, so some texture is good. Mash in 1 large ripe avocado, a couple spoonfuls of relish of choice, hot mustard (optional but I love it), a chopped green onion (less zippy than white onions, but you can use either), a small chopped carrot, one to two teaspoons of lemon juice, and a dab of fresh dill if you have it. Dill is one of my favorite underutilized spices that screams fresh/spring/liveliness. In fact, I often skip the relish if I have quite a bit of dill to throw in. Once you’ve got it all mixed, spread on bread for a sandwich or dip with crackers. It’s also great in a wrap or skip the wrap all together and use a romaine leaf for more veggies (this is especially great in hot summer months).

Roasted Garbanzo Bean and Cauliflower Tacos

This recipe is a modification from the genius work of Minimalist Baker. These tacos make a very regular appearance on our dinner table and I often roast two sheet pans of vegetables for leftovers! To get things kicked off, preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk one tablespoon taco seasoning together with equal parts (one tablespoon each) fresh lime juice, olive oil, and water. Note, you can make your own taco seasoning by mixing 2 parts (teaspoons here) chili powder with 1 part ground cumin and onion and or garlic powder plus a dab of salt. Then you don’t have all the other junk like monosodium glutamate. Drain and rinse one can of garbanzo beans. After you rinse, the beans, roll them around on a clean dish towel to lightly pat dry. This will help the seasoning stick and the garbanzo beans to become firmer when cooking. After that, stir the beans in the bowl with 1 small head of cauliflower cut into florets. Place seasoned chickpeas and cauliflower on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally during cooking, until chickpeas are slightly crispy and cauliflower is tender. Remove from oven and set aside. If you want a delicious accompaniment, mix one 4-6 oz container of unsweetened coconut yogurt (or your favorite unsweetened yogurt) with lime juice and cilantro. Now, make your tacos and enjoy! I find these tacos taste best as Dana from Minimalist Baker suggests…with small corn tortillas, a drizzle of the cream, cilantro, and jalapeno slices. You’re going to love these tacos that look like the work of a fancy food truck and taste like gourmet Mexican that you just created in a matter of minutes in your own kitchen.

There you have it folks, this week’s no recipe recipes. Basically, serving you up easy to make dishes that hardly require a recipe they are so freaking easy. Your taste buds will NOT be disappointed this week. Please try them all and let me know what you think! As always, check out the Facebook page to see how I quickly whip one of these main dishes together.

3 {Garbanzo Bean} No Recipe Recipes #7

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