As a vegetarian of almost five years, I’ve come to develop a huge love of garbanzo beans. They’re delicious, full of protein, inexpensive and so versatile. The options with chickpeas are practically endless.
Firstly, garbanzo beans make an absolutely fantastic meat substitute in a lot of recipes. For example, the first time I went to the music festival Bonnaroo in 2014, I was at a loss for what to pack in my cooler. Quick and protein-filled food is a must if you want to grab a bite between shows and not pay $8 for a noodle bowl when you’re camping for five days in the Tennessee sun. Most people’s go-to lunch is a turkey sandwich, which isn’t an option for me. I turned to Google and could not have been happier with what I found. Three words: Chickpea Sandwich Filler. This recipe changed my life. Before becoming a vegetarian I was a big fan of chicken salad sandwiches, and even more so, the convenience of chicken salad sandwiches. Having the ability to make a big batch of this chickpea salad to have for the whole week or take camping is amazing. Furthermore, chickpeas have such a hardy taste that this sandwich is so filling.
While a lot of people like chicken salad, its not quite the crowd-pleaser that buffalo chicken dip is. Yeah, that’s right – vegetarian buff chick dip (cue the angels singing). I have spent so many years, Super Bowl parties and cookouts starring longingly at the buffalo chicken dip. Just earlier this year a fellow vegetarian mentioned that buffalo chickpea dip exists. I had to try it immediately and I was oh-so-happy that I did. I genuinely think that buffalo chickpea dip is even better than the original buffalo chicken dip, and I can absolute guarantee you that its better tasting than using a frozen fake-meat substitute.
In addition to being a spectacular meat substitute in the dishes mentioned above, I’ve found that garbanzo beans are also an excellent addition to many foods to increase the protein. I, like many other vegetarians, have a lot of trouble getting the daily amount of protein that I need. Adding chickpeas to what I’m already eating has really helped me with this. For example, when I make pasta with olive oil and cheese (a meal extremely lacking in protein) I add a can of garbanzo beans.
While delicious in meals, garbanzo beans are also an awesome stand-alone snack. Roasted chickpeas are one of the easiest and most adaptable snacks you can get. Whether you’re looking for sweet or savory, there are so many different types of roasted chickpeas. My personal favorite is cumin-roasted chickpeas, but you can basically use any spices you have laying around to make a delicious and protein-filled snack. Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike can agree that there’s nothing like honey cinnamon roasted chickpeas.
All in all, chickpeas are truly a blessing to vegetarians. The options are simply endless with garbanzo beans. They’re a spectacular meat substitute, protein-filled addition to meals and an excellent stand-alone snack.