College life isn’t kind to the carnivore. Meat is often expensive and time-consuming to cook, not to mention extremely perishable, and the Mystery Meat served in the caf won’t exactly sate a craving for prime rib. So what’s a girl gotta do for some quick, cheap, protein? Short of settling for cold cuts, which could possibly shorten your life and are very high in sodium, why not take a page out of the vegetarian handbook and opt for filling, delicious chickpeas?
This Week’s Ingredient: Chickpeas
Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are often very low in price and are great to have in the pantry as they keep very well. They have a wonderfully nutty, smooth flavor and are the primary ingredient in hummus. (Editor’s Note: Mmmmmmm hummus.) In addition to being a great source of fiber (which keeps you fuller for longer), chickpeas are high in molybdenum, a mineral necessary for the production of the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which breaks down sulfites–preservatives found in deli meats. Oh yeah, and they’re a lean source of protein, with 15 grams per cup.
1. Toss over a salad for extra protein and flavor.
2. Roast for 35 mins at 350 degrees in a pan with diced eggplant, curry powder, tumeric, and pepper for a spicy, hearty, low-calorie side dish.
3. Mix with black- and kidney beans, basil, olive oil, and feta cheese for a light three-bean salad.
The Recipe: Chana Saag
Did you know that eating spicy food in the summer helps you stay cool? By doing so, your body starts to sweat and cool down, without actually raising your internal body temperature. No wonder hot-n-humid India has such a spicy cuisine! Try this easy version of a vegetarian favorite, chana saag, which is named for the two primary ingredients, chickpeas and spinach.
1 lb fresh baby spinach
2 15-oz. cans chickpeas
1 inch piece ginger, grated
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cardamom
1 inch stick cinnamon (or 2 tsp. ground)
5-6 cloves garlic chopped
1 cup onions finely chopped
1 can tomatoes chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1. Rinse chickpeas and roughly chop baby spinach.
2. Heat oil over medium heat. Add cardamom and cinnamon. Wait for a minute.
3. Increase heat to medium-high. Add garlic and cook till it starts to change color. Then add onions and sauté until golden.
4. Reduce heat to medium. Add turmeric powder, ground coriander, chili powder, garam masala and salt. Mix well for a minute.
5. Add ginger. Stir for a few seconds. Add tomatoes and sauté for 3-4 minutes till well blended.
6. Add chickpeas. Stir fry for 4-5 minutes. Cook covered for 10 minutes until chickpeas turn slightly soft.
7. Add half of the spinach, stir, and put lid on saucepan for 1 minute. Remove lid and add the other half of the spinach and repeat the covering process.
8. Remove lid and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.