Chickpea Bruschetta Spread

Posted: November 7, 2011 in Nutrition, Recipes
Tags: ,

Losing weight is no easy business; let me tell you – particularly around the Halloween season.  But I did manage to persevere in the end and made it through with only minimal fistfuls of candy.  I mean, seriously, ‘what has two thumbs, and can’t resist those freakin’ delicious and addictive Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups?’…that’s right, this guy!  But on the success side of things, I also landed a few amazing recipes to serve as healthy snacks, or as a quick fix prior to and after my workouts.  Well, it was actually just the one recipe, but, in keeping with the season, I dressed it up in different costumes as a little ‘trick or treat’ experience for my taste buds.  See how crafty I am?

The key to this whole ‘healthy snacking’ as I’ve learned, it that is has to be tasty, as well as delivering immediate energy while still being healthy…hence, not needing to go back for more afterwards.  And if it isn’t expensive, fancy, time-consuming or hard to prepare – all the better.  So what I discovered was an easy to make, chickpea bruschetta spread that I can dress up with different toppings depending on my whims that day, or whatever happens to be in the fridge at the time.  I stole scored this recipe from master chef Nate Appleman, winner of this seasons ‘Chopped All-Stars’,  in this past September’s issue of Runner’s World.

As it turns out, chickpeas* are quite the amazing little super vegetable in their own forthright.  In a nutshell, chick peas provide an excellent source of molybdenum, a trace mineral needed for the body’s ability to detoxify sulfites (a preservative in processed foods), as well as for success development of the nervous system, waste processing in the kidneys, and energy production in cells.  In essence, it’s good shit.  Who knew that when you were studying the Periodic Table back in high school?  Chickpeas are also rich in other minerals as well, including iron, copper, zinc, calcium and magnesium.

Too boot, chickpeas are also a very good source of folic acid, fiber, and manganese.  As a good source of fiber, chickpeas can help lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar levels, and thereby minimizing the incessant urges for sugary sweets and snacks.  This makes them a great snack food, especially for diabetics and insulin-resistant individuals…not to mention chubby triathletes’ jonsing for more Halloween candy.  Most importantly, chickpeas are an extremely low-fat source of complete protein.  Total Winning!

So without further adieu, here is my [sic] recipe for a nice, healthy chickpea bruschetta spread to fuel your next workout, or recovery afterwards.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

    Protein to go…

  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 red onion, diced small
  • 1 carrot, diced small
  • 1 celery stalk, diced small
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • ½ bunch parsley, roughly chopped
  • Loaf of favorite country bread
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan.  Add the garlic, onion, carrot, celery, and chili flakes.  Cook until softened and translucent, about three to four minutes. Deglaze with white wine and reduce completely.
  2. Add chickpeas and the spinach, along with ¼ cup water.  Stew for about 20 minutes, adding more water if necessary.
  3. In the past few minutes, finish with parsley.  Roughly mash together with a potato masher (or fork).
  4. Cut bread into 10” slices, drizzle with olive oil, and grill until nicely charred.
  5. Spread the chickpea spread on the grilled bread and top with any of the following toppings (or just make up your own): a poached egg, fresh sprouts, tuna and arugula, roast beef and low fat cheese, or an avocado and tomato.

* Also known as ‘Garbanzo Beans’, but I prefer not use this term as I tend to avoid anything with the first five letters of the word ‘Garbage  in it.

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