In the Kitchen

Chickpeas are set for world domination in 2020

By Rachel Myerson
This article originally appeared on The Nosher.

The chickpea has arrived.  

The king of chickpea dishes, hummus, has turned into a staple. This is great in terms of accessibility, but not so great for preserving the authenticity of the dish. Hummus is not a catch-all term for dip. It means “chickpea” in Arabic, so if a product contains little-to-no chickpeas and too many other funky ingredients (edamame, pumpkin, and beetroot come to mind), it is not hummus. As for dessert hummus, which has strutted into American supermarkets with flavors like chocolate, snickerdoodle, and vanilla bean…let’s rename it chickpea pudding and agree that it’s actually kind of tasty.

Dessert hummus was not the only chickpea-based snack to enter our lives this decade. Riding the wave of the “healthy snack” came Rule Breaker brownies — a deliciously dense chocolatey treat, and Hippeas, puffed chip-like snacks that became a roaring success in the United States and abroad, and are now stocked at Whole Foods. If you can get your hands on the salt and vinegar flavor, you won’t regret it.

If you thought that every possibility to consume chickpeas in every way but their original form had been exhausted, think again!

Chickpea Ice Cream
Vegans and hipsters, rejoice! Micah Camden, the brains behind this trend, has announced plans to significantly expand his Portland-based chickpea ice cream brand, Little Chickpea, which includes flavors cherry chai and mint matcha. Each flavor is free of dairy, nuts, soy, and gluten. 

Chickpea Milk
Chickpeas produce a thick, neutral tasting milk with numerous benefits over other nondairy offerings: They’re basically free of unsaturated fats, unlike coconut milk, and don’t have the environmental stigma or health concerns related to almond and soy milks.  This stuff is ready to hit the market, thanks to Israeli startup InnovoPro. It’s also pretty easy to make at home. 

Chickpea Protein
ChickP, another Israeli startup, is currently working on a chickpea protein that can act as a base for chickpea milks, an egg substitute, or a dairy-free butter, among other things. Watch for it.

Looking for more chickpea recipes to experience the multipurpose wonder that is this little bean? Try this “Meatless Monday” recipe for chickpea bolognese. 

Chickpea Bolognese

4 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, washed and grated finely
1 celery stalk, very finely chopped
7 oz (240g) cooked or canned garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
14 oz (400g) can of plum tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp chili flakes
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ cup red winesalt and pepper
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1 lb spaghetti

Heat half of the olive oil in a medium pot. Add garlic and onions, along with chili flakes. Saute for 2-3 minutes until softened slightly. Add chickpeas and saute for 10 minutes. Allow chickpeas to soften, then mash and break some of them apart with a spoon or fork, leaving some of them still intact. 

Add another tablespoon of olive oil and allow the chickpeas to brown lightly, stirring occasionally. Add carrot and celery and mix well. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Then add canned tomatoes and break them apart with a spoon. Add vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and wine, allowing it all to evaporate and absorb into the vegetable mixture. 

Add bay leaves and thyme and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until bolognese is thick and has darkened.

Cook the pasta two minutes less than directed on the packet, reserving ¼ cup of the hot pasta water. Drain the pasta and mix with the bolognese sauce along with the pasta water. Mix on low heat until the sauce has once again thickened, about a minute.

Top with remaining olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

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