Mezze & Dolce

Light Mediterranean Meals Paired with Ample Dessert

Inspiring Ingredient: Chickpea

InspiringIngredient_Chickpea

We started Mezze & Dolce’s new monthly “Inspiring Ingredient” posts in June with one of our very favorites – pistachio. We’re excited about this new featured post; There’s nothing we love more than sharing our favorite ingredients with you, especially everything we know about how to make them shine!  For July, the inspiring ingredient is chickpea – the underappreciated star of many a Mediterranean dish.

In honor of this wonderful bean, Jaime will be teaching a “Hummus and Spice” workshop on July 15th at the Oaktown Spice Shop in Oakland, CA.  We’ll send out details, but you can also email her at mezzeanddolce@gmail.com if you’re interested in joining.

Now onto Chickpea!
Chickpea, garbanzo, chana masala, and ceci – a legume packed with protein and that goes by several different names. Chickpea is thought to be one of the oldest cultivated crops, yet it continues to be a featured ingredient in many culinary traditions today. Chickpeas are delicious and low in fat. Recent studies have shown that chickpeas may have a part in lowering cholesterol.

Buying and Storing
You can buy chickpeas dry, canned, or even fresh. You can keep dry chickpeas on hand in your pantry in an airtight container as well as a few cans for backup. We’ve included a faster approach for soaking them all the way at the bottom, in case you decide to go that route.  Most recipes we make for Mezze & Dolce that call for chickpea use a can or two of the perky beans. When working with canned chickpeas, we always pinch them out of their little shells to be sure the final product is extra fresh and creamy.

From the M&D blog reel
Here are a few M&D favorites with chickpea to get you going. Click here for a more comprehensive list of our chickpea recipes to try.

Buttery Hummus with Za’atar and Challah

Ful Mudammas

Herbed Chickpea Soup

Baked Falafel

Suggested meal pairings

It’s summertime and that means lighter meals. We suggest serving Ful Mudammas and Baked Falafel as starters at your next backyard soiree. We bet they will pair nicely with many of our salads or with one of the funky dolce recipes below!

In the M&D test kitchen queue
Our list of recipes to make next grows every day. Here are a few that feature chickpea, and that we’re looking forward to trying out (especially the desserts!):

Sesame Ginger Chickpea Cakes

Mediterranean Chickpea Chili with Saffron, Preserved Lemon, and Haloumi Croutons

Couscous with Chickpea, Fennel, and Citrus

Buttery Chickpea Flax Blondies {yes, please!}

Garbanzo Chocolate Cake

What are your favorite chickpea dishes? Let us know by commenting below or posting on the M&D Facebook page.

jacque and jaime

P.S.  Check out this “quick” way to soak dried chickpeas, brought to you from Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.”

1. Place beans in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid.  Cover with cold water by 2 to 3 inches.

2. Bring beans to a boil uncovered, and let boil for about 2 minutes.  Cover pot and turn off heat.  Let the beans soak for 2 hours.

3. Taste a bean to see if it’s tender (it won’t be done).  If it is, add a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  Make sure the beans are still covered by about an inch of water (if not, add some more).  If the beans aren’t at all tender, don’t add salt and cover with about 2 inches of water.

4. Bring pot to a boil, then reduce heat so the beans bubble gently.  Partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, checking the beans for doneness every 10-15 minutes.  Add more water if necessary. (If you haven’t added salt yet, add it in when the beans are starting to get tender).  Stop cooking when the beans are done the way you like them.

5. Use immediately or store.  I like to make a whole lot of these and then freeze them in their cooking liquid for later use.

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2 comments on “Inspiring Ingredient: Chickpea

  1. Pingback: Mezze: Morroccan Chickpea-Carrot Salad with Mint and Dried Plums | Mezze & Dolce

  2. Pingback: Inspiring Ingredient: Lemon | Mezze & Dolce

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This entry was posted on July 2, 2013 by in Ingredient, Legumes, M & D Inspiration and tagged , .

About Jacque & Jaime

Jaime and Jacque are two gals who discovered a mutual passion for Mediterranean flavors and ingredients and never turned back. They started Mezze & Dolce to share this love, their recipes, and their inspirations with the world. Follow them at www.mezzeanddolce.com.

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