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Food in focus: chickpeas

As our obsession with hummus grows so does our love of its key ingredient, the humble chickpea. Known for their buttery texture and nutty flavour, this fibre-full legume is quickly becoming a must-have item in Kiwi shopping trolleys.

Chickpeas are a ‘pulse’, which are the edible seeds of the legume family. And, thanks to its versatility, accessibility and strong nutrition credentials, the United Nations has even decreed 10 February ‘World Pulse Day’. So, what are we celebrating?

Protein power

Chickpeas may seem small, but they are packed with hunger-busting protein, making them a great meat alternative for people who are vegetarian or looking to reduce their meat intake. With over 11.8g of protein per cup of cooked chickpeas, they are a great way to bulk up your meat-free meals. And, if you mix chickpeas with tahini (sesame paste) to make a hummus, you’ll tick the box for a nutritious and delicious spread.

Fibre full

Do you struggle to get enough fibre in your diet? Chickpeas are a source of soluble fibre, which can help promote an increase of healthy gut bacteria, essential for digestive health. Fibre also helps reduce the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream and helps regulate the body’s use of sugars.

Snack happy

Legumes like chickpeas are low GI (glycaemic index), making them an excellent snack choice. Low GI foods are known for keeping blood sugar levels stable, and your hunger at bay. Try roasting some chickpeas with paprika and a little salt for a healthy, filling snack option.

How to prepare chickpeas:
Chickpeas can either be bought canned and ready to eat or you can buy dried chickpeas to cook yourself.

To cook dried chickpeas, simply soak your desired amount in water for at least 3 hours (pre-soaking can also help if you experience bloating from beans!) For every 1 cup of chickpeas, add 3 cups of water to a pot and bring to a boil. Cook for 60-90 minutes on medium heat until you reach your desired tenderness.

Incorporate into your everyday
  • Chickpeas are a great, filling addition to salads and soups
  • Make your own hummus by blending olive oil, chickpeas, lemon and tahini
  • Use in your favourite curry for your next Meat Free Monday

Did you know?

Next time you drain a can of chickpeas, save the liquid! Known as Aquafaba, this starchy liquid can be used as a plant-based egg replacement. Just 2-3 tablespoons will substitute one egg. Whip the liquid into foam to make eggless meringue, or use to replace eggs in waffles, muffins, and even mayonnaise!


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