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Ways with chickpeas

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Want to try out a new ingredient in your summer cooking? Look no further than chickpeas.

Chickpeas are an excellent vegan and gluten-free source of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin B-6, iron and magnesium. They are rich in fibre and protein, and are a versatile ingredient with a wealth of different uses.

As chickpeas are usually sold pre-cooked in tins, you can buy them in bulk and not have to worry about them going past their use by date. They are also extremely good value, costing around 55p for one 400g tin, making them a cupboard essential if you’re on a budget.

For a quick snack, try blending some chickpeas with garlic, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil to make a simple and tasty hummus. Enjoy as a spread with crackers or use as a dip for vegetable sticks – peppers, carrots and cucumber work particularly well.

As a complex carbohydrate that will keep you going, chickpeas are a great ingredient to add to a salad to make it a little more substantial. Check out the recipe below from UKShallot.com for some inspiration:

Chickpea, Roast Shallot and Feta Salad

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 15-20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

 

Ingredients:

- 12 Shallots, peeled & cut in half

- 2 cloves garlic, whole & unpeeled

- 25g butter, cut into small dice

- Salt & freshly ground black pepper

- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

- 200g feta cheese, crumbled

- 100g soft round lettuce

for the dressing:

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

I small bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

 

Method:

Place the shallots in a roasting tin, cut side up and dot with the butter and a grind of salt and pepper. Add the unpeeled whole garlic cloves to the tin and roast in the oven at 200°C/gas mark 6 for 15 minutes until the onions are soft and golden.

When the onions are cooked remove them to a plate whilst you make the dressing in the roasting tin. Squeeze the garlic out of its skin and mash it up with a fork. Add the oil, vinegar and honey and using a small whisk combine with the mashed roast garlic, scraping the bottom of the tin to get off all the caramelized shallot juices. Add the chopped parsley and taste, adding more seasoning if necessary.

Add the chickpeas to the tin and toss to coat in the dressing.

In a serving dish arrange the lettuce with the roast shallots and pour over the chickpeas and dressing. Top with the crumbled feta and serve immediately.

 

Falafel in Pitta Pockets

For a filling, flavoursome veggie lunch, why not try making falafels? Check out the recipe below from watercress.co.uk to learn how to make your own.

Serves: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 22 minutes

 

Ingredients for the falafels:

225g/8oz dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water

1 tbsp tahini

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 garlic clove, crushed

100g bag watercress, roughly chopped

juice half a lemon

2 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying

 

To finish:

100g bag watercress

150g Greek style yogurt

4 wholemeal pitta bread

1 small clove garlic, crushed

 

Method:

Drain the chickpeas and place in a food processor with the tahini, salt, baking powder, cumin, coriander, cayenne, garlic, watercress and lemon juice. Whizz until very finely chopped but not puréed. (If you have time, set the mixture aside for a couple of hours, so the flavours can mingle, but it's not imperative).

Preheat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas Mark 6. Place a large roasting tin in the oven to heat up. Using a wet hand shape the mixture into 16 balls, then flatten slightly into patties.

Add the oil to the roasting tin, return to the oven for 2 minutes, then carefully add the falafel, tossing to coat in hot oil. Bake for 20 minutes, turning once until crisp and golden.

Whilst they cook, roughly chop half the remaining watercress and stir it into the yogurt with the garlic and seasoning to taste. Lightly toast the pittas on each side, cut each in half and open up each half to make a pocket. Fill the pitta pockets with falafel, remaining watercress and the yogurt sauce. Serve whilst warm.




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