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Chickpea Change-up

Q. “Hummus aside, what can I do with chickpeas? My kids love them, but I want to change up the way I serve them.” —John, Kimberly

A. Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine and offer a host of health benefits. They are a member of the legume family and thus are high in fiber, are a rich source of vitamins and as a plant-based protein provide a low-fat alternative to meats and meat-based proteins. The fact that garbanzo beans are inexpensive is another benefit. I find them to be a great addition to many dishes including chilis, baked beans, casseroles, cassoulets, lasagnas, minestrones, vegetable stir fries, salsas and tacos, antipastos, and almost any savory salad. Many people also add them to their smoothies and shakes, and some roast them as a crunchy, nutritious alternative to other snacks and garnishes. They are readily available canned, which can be eaten immediately or raw, which would need to be soaked and simmered. I typically buy them canned and always rinse them since the brine in which they are packed is usually pretty salty. On the downside, one potential side effect for some is an increase in flatulence, which is something that probably should be considered…

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