Chickpeas (Cicer arietinum) are also known as garbanzo beans. They are native to the Mediterranean. Chickpeas are one of the oldest cultivated foods in the world. In India it is known as gram, while in France they are known as pois chiche.
Ground chickpeas are known in the Middle East as hoummus, where it is ground and mixed with tahini, a sesame paste, garlic, and lemon juice. You can buy hoummus either ready made in a can or plastic container at a grocery store, or buy the dried chickpeas and make your own. Pita often accompanies this dish. It is a delicious appetizer to enjoy with your friends!
In North Africa, chickpeas are served with couscous. They are toasted and sold as popcorn at local street kiosks in both the Balkans and the Near East. In northern Italy a chickpea flour is used to make a thin pizza.
No matter which country you eat your chickpeas, you will be eating healthy. Chickpeas contain high amounts of protein and fiber. In a 1-cup serviing of chickpeas you will be eating 270 calories, 45 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fat, 15, grams of protein, and 13 grams of fiber. As well, chickpeas are a good source of minerals and vitamins: manganese, zinc, copper, thiamine and vitamin B-6.
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