Chickpeas are a very popular legume, with a high energy intake and one of the best sources of vegetable protein. For this reason, chickpeas are a very interesting food for athletes. In this entry we will see how to make Vegan Chickpea Cheese, a very easy way to consume chickpeas taking full advantage of all its nutritional properties.
Chickpeas are a very complete food rich in nutrients such as vegetable proteins, vitamins and minerals. It also has a high content in dietary fiber and lecithin, so they are very indicated to improve intestinal transit and reduce cholesterol and triglycerides of the body.
The Chickpea, a very nutritious legume
Since ancient times the chickpeas (Cicer arietinum) were considered a staple food for Greeks and Romans to be a legume with important nutritional and culinary qualities.
For thousands of years, chickpeas have been consumed both for their high nutritional value and for the numerous beneficial effects that their nutrients have on our organism.
The origin of the cultivation of its culture could begin in the Eastern Mediterranean, extending later by Persia, Central Asia, India, Africa and America.
Nutritional Values of Chickpeas
Among the nutritional values of fresh chickpeas, its high contribution of carbohydrates as a source of energy stands out.
Chickpeas are rich in Omega 6 fatty acids and Lecithin which provide many beneficial properties.
The most relevant vitamins provided by chickpeas are Vitamin B9 or folic acid and Vitamin K.
Among the minerals contained in chickpeas is its high contribution of Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Calcium and Zinc.
Next we’ll look at his numerous properties.
Properties and Benefits of chickpeas
Source of natural proteins
The chickpea has a high protein value, around 20%. This is a value very similar to that of animal protein, which places it as an excellent source of natural plant proteins. Its consumption is very indicated to replace or generate muscle tissue in those physical activities of great intensity, such as an ultra-deep race.
High energetic power
This is due to the high carbohydrate content, above 55%, very similar to that provided by cereals. For this reason they are recommended to replenish energies after a daily activity or intense sport.
Very rich in dietary fiber
The high fiber content of chickpeas makes them a satiating food, highly recommended to fight obesity, reduce cholesterol and promote transit.
Reduce cholesterol and triglycerides
Chickpeas help reduce cholesterol and triglycerides due to the presence of fatty acids and lecithin, a type of fat that helps emulsify the body’s fats.
Prevent rheumatic and arthritic diseases
For its high contribution of Vitamin K and minerals, the consumption of chickpeas contributes to strengthen the bones and prevent rheumatic and arthritic diseases.
Due to their low sodium level, chickpeas favor the excretion of urine, reducing the work of our kidneys.
Combat stress and tension
Its content in Magnesium, Phosphorus and Vitamins of the B group, makes chickpeas a very suitable food to fight stress and tension situations.
Protect the heart and blood vessels
Chickpeas are rich in Omega 6 fatty acids, which are especially beneficial for the cardiovascular system. They also lower triglycerides and prevent the formation of clots in arteries.
Due to its Vitamin K content, the consumption of chickpeas favours the coagulation of the blood.
Due to their high Potassium content, they are good for improving circulation, regulating blood pressure and body fluids and fighting hypertension.
Other Beneficial Properties
Chickpeas also have many other interesting properties.
The high content of Zinc provided by chickpeas makes them a recommended food for diabetics, because it promotes the assimilation and storage of insulin. In addition zinc also has other beneficial effects such as:
- Stimulate the general growth of the organism
- Boosting the immune system
- Metabolize proteins
- Promote the transport of vitamin A
- Help healing wounds
- Favor the absorption of vitamin B9
- Contributing to the fight against fatigue
The presence of vitamin B9 or folic acid makes the consumption of this legume highly recommended during the stages of pregnancy and lactation. It is also very beneficial for smokers or alcoholics.
How to make Vegetable Chickpea Cheese
As we have seen, chickpeas are very nutritious and high in protein. There are many ways to prepare them. Next we are going to see a very simple way of elaborating them that conserves all their nutrients and active principles. It is known as chickpea cheese because of its texture and shape.
I also recommend you to watch the video that accompanies this blog post, where I show the procedure to make this Chickpea Cheese and you can be very useful.
To make this Vegetable Chickpea Cheese we will need the following ingredients:
- 1 glass of chickpeas, equivalent to about 200 grams
- ½ red onion
- 1 clove of garlic. We can remove the inner part that gives it its strong flavor
- 1 tablespoon of nutritional brewer’s yeast, which gives it a mild cheese aroma.
- ½ tbsp Himalayan salt
- ½ teaspoon of Turmeric, about 2 grams
- 2 tablespoons natural lemon juice or apple vinegar
- 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
- 2 glasses of water, preferably alkaline water
Preparation of Chickpea Cheese
- Previously we will have soaked the chickpeas for about 8-10 hours. We drain them and put them in a casserole. We’ll simmer them for 15-20 minutes. In this way we will have eliminated all existing anti-nutrients. In addition this process softens them and it will be easier to crush them.
- In a mixing bowl add the onion, the garlic and the brewer’s yeast. Also add the lemon juice or apple vinegar and add the olive oil. We also put a little water to beat it more easily.
- Then we beat everything with the mixer until obtaining a fine and homogeneous texture.
- Pour the above mixture into a bowl with the drained chickpeas.
- Now we add Himalayan salt and Turmeric. Finally we add some water again.
- Grind the mixture well for several minutes until it has a fine, smooth texture. The result must be a creamy paste. If we see it necessary, we can add a little more water until we get it.
- The resulting mixture is poured into a container or pan. We put it on a low heat and not too high. It is important to shake continuously to prevent the paste from sticking. When the texture is more or less dense and consistent we will remove it from the fire.
- Next we pass the paste to a mold with the help of a spoon and we extend it until filling the container. The container will be the one that gives the chickpea cheese its definitive shape.
- Let it cool for 20 minutes and then we can put it in the fridge to keep it better.
Once this is done we can take the chickpea cheese out of the bowl and serve it to consume. As you can see the look, shape and color is very similar to a cheese.
Precautions on the consumption of chickpeas
Chickpeas, like all legumes and grains, contain anti-nutrientssuch as phytates, tannins, lecithin, protease inhibitors and oxalates. Anti-nutrients are plant compounds used by plants to protect their grains or seeds until the time of germination. These compounds prevent or hinder the absorption and use of nutrients by the body.
However, we can eliminate these anti-nutrients in a very simple way. Just leave the chickpeas to soak for several hours and cook them slowly to eliminate their effects.
It is always advisable not to abuse foods rich in anti-nutrients.
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Greetings and see you next time.