Meatless Monday – The way of the chickpea

The best thing since sliced bread, chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are the feature of this Meatless Monday post. Originating in the Middle East and now found throughout the world, chickpeas provide fiber, protein, iron, vitamin B6 and magnesium to all those who consume them. But apart from hummus, what else does one do with chickpeas?

  • Smash chickpeas and mix with mayo, celery, onion and other seasonings to make chickpea ‘tuna salad’. Add some dulse, or other edible seaweed, to give it an ‘ocean’ flavour. Use the same mixture to mix with noodles, peas and cashew cream and bake a chickpea ‘tuna’ casserole.
  • Use chickpea flour in gluten-free baking or make Indian style rotis with it. Also called gram or besan flour.
  • Make veggie bean burgers. Popular combinations: spinach and chickpeas; potato and chickpeas.
  • Add chickpeas to salsa.
  • Mix chickpeas with some spices and oil and roast in the oven to make a crunchy snack.
  • Roast chickpeas then mix with jaggery (a type of sugar), honey or maple syrup to make chickpea brittle.
  • Make a chickpea curry in a bath of tomato sauce, coconut cream and curry spices.
  • Make a Moroccan Harira soup or…
  • Make chickpea noodle soup ie chickpeas, noddles, carrots, onions, garlic, celery, nutritional yeast and spices.
  • Purée chickpeas with some cocoa powder and sweetener to make a dessert hummus.
  • Add to salads.
  • Mix vegetables and couscous with chickpeas for a complete meal.
  • Make vegan meringue! The following are pictures of my vegan meringue experiment.

In trolling the internet for vegan recipes, I came across several posts citing the magic of chickpea brine in making meringue. I was skeptical at first but tried it and it worked!

Simply drain a can of chickpeas (I like the Eden Foods brand as their can linings are BPA-free) catching the brine in a bowl. Put in mixer and whisk on high until it becomes white, fluffy and airy. Slowly pour in fine sugar (i.e. caster sugar or fruit sugar) while mixer is still whisking. Then put in a splash of vanilla and continue to whisk until it reaches the stiff peak* stage and turns glossy. You can either mix with almond meal to make macarons or simply pipe the mixture you have to make meringue cookies or pavlova.

Just like egg white meringues, chickpea meringues are very fussy and delicate. They should be baked in a low oven (200-250°F) for a minimum of 30 minutes. Do not open the oven during baking (I did-oops)! Leave them in the oven with the heat off before removing them to cool completely and harden up.

Due to my faux-pas of peeking, the meringues lost the air whipped into them and flattened out. Some kept their shape and ended up being crunchy but were hollow inside. I did not store them properly and the crispness I had achieved with the survivors was gone the next day. They had turned into sticky chewy marshmallow pancakes.

I have purposely left out times and amounts as I have not yet perfected this recipe. I used just over 1/2 cup of brine with about 1/3 cup sugar and a drop of vanilla extract. Total whisking time was about 10 minutes. I’ve got another can of chickpeas and some leftover sugar so I shall be trying this again. Stay tuned…

*Stiff peak
No this was not a t.v. show from the nineties. It is a baking term to denote the look and texture of meringue. When held at the tip of the whisk, the meringue should form a conical shape and not flop over. The flopping is known as a soft peak. Stiff peaks are needed for meringues, pavlova and macarons.

Photo by Kimberley (c)2015
Photo by Kimberley (c)2015
Photo by Kimberley (c)2015
Photo by Kimberley (c)2015
Photo by Kimberley (c)2015
Photo by Kimberley (c)2015

 Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) – The World’s Healthiest Foods

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