Lowly garbanzo merits another look

April 14, 1993|By Kit Snedaker | Kit Snedaker,Copley News Service

The first time I tasted chickpeas -- really tasted them -- an Italian friend fixed them as a salad with onions and tomatoes and dressed them with a vinaigrette. I looked at these little beans with new eyes.

Since then I've discovered they are another of those peasant dishes that taste so good, the gentry took them over. I've also found chickpea flour used in India and in Provence for some of the best pancake-like snacks I've ever put in my mouth.

Spanish chickpeas

Serves 2.

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded and finely chopped

6 ounces canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 ounces cooked ham, diced

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro or Italian parsley

1 teaspoon rinsed, drained capers

1 1/2 cups cooked rice

Heat oil in large saucepan. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic, and cook over medium heat a minute or two, stirring frequently until vegetables soften.

Add tomato and cook, stirring for another minute or two.

Add rest of ingredients except rice and stir just to combine. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve over rice.

Each serving has 335 calories, 7 grams fat, 17 milligrams cholesterol and 760 milligrams sodium.

Chickpeas with sweet potatoes

Serves 2.

2 teaspoons margarine

1 cup chopped onion

6 ounces sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 -inch cubes

1/2 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 ounces canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Pinch thyme

Pinch grated lemon peel

Freshly ground black pepper

Melt margarine in large skillet. Add onions and saute over high heat until translucent, about 1 minute. Add sweet potato and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes.

Add chicken broth and lemon juice and stir to combine.

Reduce heat to medium. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add chickpeas, thyme, lemon peel and pepper, and stir to combine. Cover and simmer until mixture is heated through and liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

Serve at once.

Each serving has about 240 calories, 6 grams fat, no cholesterol and 500 milligrams sodium.

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