Level up with Legumes, Part II
Harissa chickpea stew with garlic yoghurt, how to fabulise lentils, and another slick way of using up your aqua faba
Hello lovely crew!
In the market for something to twerk your taste buds? And get your cardiologist applauding? Yep - it's creamy legumes. They're cheap, nutritious, versatile and a total party for your pipes.
We have just returned from Spain where legumes - beans, lentils, chickpeas - are a daily feature on the Spanish kitchen table. A disproportionate amount of time was spent fawning over the bean aisles of every single supermarket in my orbit. I was like an astronomer sighting a new galaxy, cross-eyed at the price of beautifully bathed chickpeas in glass tumblers (64c). They were velvety and tender, but not mushy. And criminally tasty straight from the jar.
Let’s build on my last post, as so many of you beautiful peeps were equally beguiled by beans and their superpowers. The topic of gut health is bewitching, and the research available is utterly absorbing. Plus, given that our happy hormone, serotonin, is in fact made in the gut and not in the brain, I thought you'd like another sesh on legumes too! A gazillion thanks for your overwhelming lovebombs to my last post. You are all such savvy, curious, mindful, driven and lovely lovely readers, it is a great privilege to connect with you here. I had a feeling you would dig the Health Geek & Data Freaks section! So let's gut going ...
We already know the virtues of beans, with their high-fibre highway and gut healthy hits (thank you legumes part I). But check out the extra nutritional grenades in this hot harissa stew with garlic yoghurt and roasted toms. There's iron in chickpeas, especially handy for our vegetarian friends; energy-boosting B vitamins to help resuscitate spent batteries (think B for Bolt, Usain Bolt); lycopene for heart and skin health from the tomato bath; magnesium from our leafy greens to help with circulation; prebiotic-rich onions and garlic to feed the party in our pipes; sulphur compounds in these very same foods, to help with our calcium economy and bone density; cholesterol-lowering extra virgin olive oil; and live strains of good bacteria from our plain yoghurt, to help with digestion and house-keeping within the intestinal walls. Phew!
Quite aside from the nutritional yah-yah, it tastes damned delicious. Freezes well. And costs very little.
" Some get theirs following Wim Hof into iced water. Others rely on several espressos. The sensible among us find it hiking in nature. But I get my high from sneaking legumes into family favourites. And brownies are no exception."
Then there's brownies. My signature brownie dance get a makeover for this month's legume theme. Yup. Bean juice AND chickpea flour. We're using the draining juice from your can or jar of chickpeas to make delectable vegan brownies. Sounds like a punishment, but it's not! As you know from our last post, the left-over liquid from a can of white beans is called aqua faba and has enough protein to mimic egg whites in baked goods. Especially chickpea aqua faba. So let's do it.
These coffee, tahini and toasted sesame brownies will seduce all manner of breathing homo sapien. The conventional butter-whiteflour-whitesugar brownies will seem like a member of some disinherited race in comparison to these ones - fudgy, complex, deep and rich. And, yes, filled with chickpeas. Each bite feels like pink sparkly maracas tumbling through my veins.
Chickpeas are particularly sophisticated. They are not called bloke peas for a very good reason. Chickpeas are crammed with some dame-busting moves. There's magnesium, a mineral many of us crave once a month when we become a crazed version of a slightly-less-bonkers self. Magnesium has the magical ability to help relieve cramps by encouraging our blood vessels to take some R&R. Good news for headaches and varicose veins too.