While spring is busy arriving in most parts of the country, it still comes with a few cool, rainy and even chilly days. Here in Dallas the weather often changes at the drop of a hat and one of those cooler, rainy days put me in the mood for some comfort food! For me that is an opportunity to bring on a hearty soup or stew.
However, I didn't feel like venturing out during the down pouring rain on a weekend to fight the crowds at Central Market, Whole Foods or Sunflower, so I rummaged around, found a squash that needed to be used, a lonely can of garbanzo beans and I ALWAYS have kale - so I decided to see what I could make.
A quick search on the internet turned me to this blog site and voile my dreams were acutalized!
This dish is not only a feast for the senses, it's also a really nutrient dense dish. You have all heard me extoll the virtues of the mighty KALE, and even talk about the health benefits of the medium chain fatty acids in coconut milk (that's why I use Thai Kitchen's Organic Coconut Milk - not the lite version) and how they are used for energy by the liver, but I haven't said much to date about both garbanzo beans so here's a little info . . .
Garbanzo beans or chickpeas are a legume that's very common in all varieties of cuisine from Middle Eastern and North African countries. Their use is diverse spanning everything from breads and crackers to dips, chips and even soups and stews! For example fresh chickpeas are the main ingredient in falafels, but when dried they are often ground into flour and made into those crisp, lacy flatbread crackers called pappadam served in East Indian restaurants. Cooked garbanzos can be blended into heavenly hummus and even enjoyed with chip like crackers made from, you guessed it, chickpea flour! And earlier this year I posted a fantastic North African Stew made from, of course, garbanzo beans!
So what's the fuss over these innocuous looking legumes? Well, chickpeas and their constituents are really quite fascinating! Here are some results of clinical trials done using garbanzos that will have you saying chickpeas please . . .
- People who ate chickpeas daily had fewer cravings for "junk food" and an overall decrease in appetite.
- In a study on fiber one group was given fiber from a variety of sources while the other group was given fiber solely from garbanzos. The garbanzo bean group had better blood fat regulation, lower LDL cholesterol levels and lower triglycerides.
- In one study it took only 1 week of regular garbanzo bean consumption (1/2 cup per day) to demonstrate a significant improvement in blood sugar handling as well as insulin stimulation.
- Another study on the benefits to colon health uncovered this: Approximately 70% of the fiber found in garbanzo beans is insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber remains undigested all the way down to the colon where it can be metabolized by bacteria in the colon to produce significant amounts of short chain fatty acids which provide fuel to the cells that line your intestinal wall, lowering your risk of colon problems, including your risk of colon cancer.
Don't you just love the internet????