For a week now, I’ve been skipping regular lunch to feast on a bowl of hearty, wholesome chickpea salad.
The results have been wonderful. The salad is a meal in a bowl, and keeps me going until late evening, so I’ve stopped digging into potato chips at 4 pm. And because I keep varying the recipe every other day, I am far from bored with it!
When I began eating chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) for lunch, I had no idea that research has shown them to be a weight loss ally! But here’s what the studies say (quoting from WHfoods.org):
“Participants in a recent study reported more satisfaction with their diet when chickpeas/garbanzo beans were included, and they consumed fewer processed food snacks during test weeks in the study when garbanzo beans were consumed. They also consumed less food overall when the diet was supplemented with garbanzo beans.”
Hmm, so that’s why my jeans feel a bit loose at the waist. As a bonus, chickpeas are lavishing me with impressive health benefits—here’s a short list:
- A cup of chickpeas gives you almost 50% of your daily requirement of fiber!
- Chickpeas contain concentrated amounts of antioxidant phyto-nutrients, which combat the harmful effects of free radicals.
- One cup of chickpeas contains 85% of our daily requirement of manganese, a crucial mineral that helps build energy.
- As little as 3/4 cup of garbanzos per day can help lower our LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides in a one month period of time.
- Just ½ cup of chickpeas can regulate blood sugar levels in only a week’s time!
Colorful Chickpea Salad (serves 1 hungry person)
Soak 1 big cup chickpeas in 4 cups of clean water overnight, or for at least 2 hours. Drain the chickpeas and cook them with salt, a pinch of turmeric and ½ tsp freshly grated ginger. When the chickpeas are tender, drain off the water, reserving it for kneading dough or cooking steamed rice. (You could use chickpeas from a can, but I always prefer my food to be fresh–you just can’t beat the taste!)
So, place the chickpeas in a bowl and pop them in the fridge for an hour or so. Meanwhile, gather and prepare the following ingredients:
- ½ cup tomatoes, finely chopped
- ½ cup onions, finely chopped
- ½ cup cucumber, finely chopped
- ½ cup carrots and bell peppers, finely chopped
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped (optional)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- A few cilantro leaves, washed and finely chopped
- salt to taste
Toss all of the above into the chickpeas, and mix thoroughly. Make a meal of it at lunch time. This simple, delicious salad has a lovely buttery, nutty taste. It is easy to put together, full of nutrients, low in calories, and a great way to fill yourself up without guilt.
7 Tasty Variations on the basic salad:
1. Add a few fresh, torn basil and mint leaves to your salad.
2. Intensify the flavor with a little red wine vinegar.
3. Make it more exciting with some minced garlic.
4. Drizzle some heart-healthy and flavorful extra virgin olive oil into the salad.
5. Add small cubes of fresh, homemade paneer or crumbled feta cheese to the salad.
6. Play with the spices! Crushed black pepper, rosemary, oregano, or roasted and ground cumin seeds add lots of interest to the proceedings.
7. Add more veggies/greens: spring onions, steamed corn, baby spinach, lettuce…
Try your own tweaks on this salad, and I’m sure you’ll love the results because chickpeas are truly versatile—they won’t disappoint you!