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Fast Food Favorites: Chickpeas

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Here’s another of my fast food favorites to add to your pantry.

Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans–read more about them here) are a potential meal in a can. Plus, they’re one of the truly good carbohydrates. Because they’re taken up slowly and steadily by your body, they have a stabilizing effect your blood sugar and your mood, keeping you energized and elevating your feel-good serotonin.

They’re also flavorful, loaded with fiber, a good source of iron, and when combined with a grain like rice or pita bread provide a complete protein, equal to that of meat.

To acquaint yourself with the versatile chickpea, try one of these easy preparations:
• A fast salad any time. Keep a can of chickpeas in the fridge. When you’re at a loss for lunch or dinner, drain the chickpeas and place in a bowl. Dress with a capful of olive oil and a sprinkling of vinegar or lemon juice, add some fresh or dried herbs (oregano, basil, thyme), and toss with salt and pepper. If you have some veggies on hand–celery, pepper, onion, spinach–chop and add to the mix.
• A quick warm meal. Place drained chickpeas in a bowl and microwave for a couple of minutes. Add a capful of olive oil and bit of grated parmesan cheese. Further spicing optional. Just stir and enjoy.
• A classic dip. Look to the Middle East, where hummus has been a staple for generations. To a food processor or blender add a can of drained chickpeas (reserving the liquid), the juice of half a lemon, a couple cloves of chopped garlic, 1/4 to 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste, available in a jar), and a little salt and pepper. Process until smooth, using a spatula to scrape down the sides and adding a bit of the reserved liquid to desired consistency. Enjoy with raw veggies or pita.

For another healthful fast food that can quell your hunger quickly and deliciously, click here.

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