Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are great for gut health…that is, if they are properly prepared. I recently posted my Oven Roasted Smashed Potatoes recipe where I discussed the health benefits of potatoes. They are high in resistant starch, essential for optimal gut health; however, many of the health benefits are dependent upon the way in which they are prepared. Chickpeas are similar. Many people struggle with legumes (chickpeas, peas, peanuts, beans..) as they can cause digestive related issues but often times this is due to preparation techniques and not the actual legume itself. When cooked properly, chickpeas are a great source of resistant starch which is great for gut health. Essentially, resistant starch is just that, it is resistant to digestion, therefor, it breaks down in the large intestine, becoming a source of prebiotic fiber which is necessary for the good bacteria (probioics) to thrive.
Chickpeas must be soaked for 24-42 hours, changing the water once in between if you’re opting for a longer soaking. Personally, I like to soak the chickpeas a little longer, in between 24 and 42 hours, as it helps eliminate lectins, phytic acid, and additional anti-nutrients, all things that are harmful to the gut. Then, cooking the beans after soaking helps to further reduce harmful lectins. From here, you can use them in various recipes like this Mediterranean Chickpea Salad or my hummus recipe or throw them into salads, the possibilities are endless.
I love prepping large salads like these and having readily available throughout the week because you can easily throw them in with mixed greens for a simple salad or even serve alongside a filet of fish or grilled chicken for a quick and easy dinner. They also travel well so are nice to bring for lunch at work or have on the go! You can also change up the ingredients and choose the fix-ins to your liking, like adding dried figs, dates, or blueberries, fresh blackberries, or even Parmesan cheese rather than feta.
2C chickpeas, properly prepared (soaked + cooked)
1/4C red onion, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
8-10 cherry tomatoes, sliced
1/4C sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2-4TBS kalamata olives, chopped
1/4C parsley, chopped
Goats milk feta to taste
1 lemon, juice + zest
1/2tsp sea salt
4-6TBS olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss until well coated. Enjoy!