Chickpeas Help You Lose Weight -- And We've Got 4 Delicious Recipes

For anyone trying to cut down on meat and add more healthy pulse protein to their diet, chickpeas are a terrific answer. They are packed with protein, fiber, anti-oxidants and a host of vitamins and nutrients. What's more, studies have shown that when people added chickpeas to their diets they ate fewer calories and less processed food! So, try our Pollan Family Table delicious and satisfying chickpea dishes and you might just lose some weight in the process.

Chickpea, Spinach, and Fennel Sauté with Crispy Roasted Quinoa

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This vegan recipe is replete with so many of our very favorite ingredients. There is something about chickpea dishes that is so satisfying and delicious. Why we love this one: the chickpeas and spinach are a particularly tasty combination; the caramelized fennel, shallots, and garlic add layers of flavor; and the savory roasted quinoa gives the dish a delightful crunch. This sauté is super healthy and very easy to make.

(4 servings)
1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
5 cloves minced garlic, divided
8 packed cups baby spinach (about 10 ounces)
1 large fennel bulb cut into 1/4-inch wedges
3 shallots, quartered
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 cups, from two 15-ounce cans of organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
Juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pour the quinoa into a dry medium sized saucepan over medium heat and toast, stirring often, until lightly browned and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the saucepan, and simmer until the broth has been absorbed, 15 to 17 minutes.

Remove the quinoa to a large mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, and two cloves of minced garlic. Mix well with a wooden spoon, spread onto the parchment lined baking sheet, and roast until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat add 1 tablespoon oil. When shimmering, add the spinach in batches, continually stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook until all the spinach is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Wipe the skillet clean, return to medium heat, and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is shimmering add the fennel and shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the 3 remaining cloves of garlic, the chickpeas, and the 2 remaining tablespoons of parsley, and continue to cook for 2 additional minutes.

Return the spinach to the skillet and stir. Add the turmeric, smoked paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix thoroughly and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes.

Place a bed of the roasted quinoa on individual serving plates or bowls. Top with a generous portion of the chickpea sauté, season with additional salt and pepper, and garnish with some of the remaining parsley. Serve hot.

Mediterranean Cauliflower, Spinach, and Chickpea Patties

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Our chickpea patties have the added goodness of smashed cauliflower, giving them a wonderful light flavor and texture. Then we pack them with veggies like spinach, red pepper, and scallions, and add tasty Mediterranean herbs and spices, such as cumin, turmeric, and parsley. The end result--a great tasting dish, chock full of legume protein and nutritious vegetables.

(4 to 6 servings)
3 cups cauliflower florets (approximately 2-inch pieces)
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15-ounce can organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained)
1/2 cup tightly packed frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
3/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
4 scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dressing or sauce of your choice (tahini**, salsa, spiced yogurt, etc.)

Place the cauliflower in a steamer basket and cook over medium-high heat until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and line a large platter, or another baking sheet, with wax paper.

Place the chickpeas in a large mixing bowl and using a potato masher or fork; mash the chickpeas until they are crushed. Add the cauliflower and mash again until the ingredients are well smashed (but not smooth.) Add the spinach, red pepper, scallions, garlic, and parsley and mix well. Stir in the cumin, turmeric, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and mix. Add the eggs and 1/2 cup of the panko, stirring to combine all the ingredients.

Place the remaining 1/4 cup of panko breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Take a handful of the chickpea mixture and shape into a patty approximately 1/2-inch thick. Coat lightly with the panko. Place the formed patty on the wax paper lined platter or baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chickpea mixture; you will have 8 to 10 patties.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Place half the patties in the pan, and cook undisturbed until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip the patties and cook until the second side is golden, about 4 minutes more. Transfer the patties to the parchment lined baking sheet. Wipe the skillet clean with paper towel, heat the remaining oil, and cook the remaining patties. Add these to the baking sheet, place it in the oven and cook for 10 minutes.

Transfer the patties to a platter, season with additional salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot with the sauce passed separately.

**Try it with our Poblano-Tahini Dressing included with our Buddha Bowl recipe.

Buddha Bowl with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Spiced Chickpeas, and Swiss Chard

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Lori went to college in Northern California and we often went to visit. The food scene there had a big influence on all of us. Even those many years ago we were into fresh, locally grown vegetables, and whole grains. Our dog-eared cookbooks were The Moosewood Cookbook, The Vegetarian Epicure, and Laurel's Kitchen. One of our favorite things to make in those days is what is now commonly referred to as Buddha Bowls. We didn't call them that then. At the time, we now recall, we just liked eating meals out of a bowl and it was a great way to use up any of the leftover vegetables and grains we had bought over the course of the week. Today we love Buddha bowls and our kids do too--so simple and healthy and very pretty to serve.

(4 servings)
For the Buddha Bowl
2 sweet potatoes (1 1/2 to 2 pounds total), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon orange zest
Sea salt
One 15-ounce can organic chickpeas, drained, rinsed well, and patted dry (or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas)
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, whole
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bunch Swiss chard, rough stems discarded, leaves cut into 1-inch strips
2 cups cooked quinoa, rice, farro (or any grain of your choice)

For the Poblano-Tahini Dressing
1/3 cup roughly chopped poblano pepper
1 clove garlic, quartered
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup water, or more as needed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, coconut oil, maple syrup, orange zest, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix well until the potatoes are evenly coated.

Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Flip them with a spatula and continue to cook until the potatoes are beginning to brown and are tender, about 15 minutes more.

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl combine the chickpeas, 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, the paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Mix well until the chickpeas are thoroughly coated.

Spread the chickpeas on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes (stirring them once halfway through.)

Make the poblano-tahini dressing: Place all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or the bowl of a food processor, and blend until smooth. Add additional water to attain your desired consistency. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the 4 cloves of whole garlic, and the red pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chard, cover the skillet and cook until the chard begins to wilt, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, and continue to cook, stirring frequently until the chard is completely wilted and cooked through.

Put 1/2 cup of the cooked grains in the bottom of each of 4 serving bowls. Top each bowl with some of the roasted sweet potatoes, roasted chickpeas, and sautéed chard. Drizzle with the poblano-tahini dressing as desired, and serve.

Skillet Chicken with Kale, Chickpeas, Shallots, and Tomatoes

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The photo in the New York Times was so tempting that we immediately knew we had to try this dish. But there was a problem--the recipe was bare-bones: Brown 8 chicken thighs, 3 cups shallots, add wine, tarragon, and Dijon. A short search revealed the recipe was Rishia Zimmern's, the wife of chef and food writer Andrew Zimmern, and that it owed a debt to an earlier recipe of Martha Stewart. Cooks often make changes and additions to recipes they like, and we had some changes of our own. One-pot dishes are a Pollan favorite, so by adding two cups of kale and a can of organic chickpeas we transformed this dish into a complete skillet meal. It's now one of our all time favorite chicken recipes-the mix of kale, chickpeas, shallots, wine, mustard, and tomatoes makes for a fabulous combination.

(4 servings)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 large shallots, peeled and halved
5 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 cup white wine
1 cup organic low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cups tightly packed chiffonade kale, stems removed
One 15-ounce can organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 sprigs fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

In a small bowl add the flour, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, and lightly sprinkle the chicken on both sides with the seasoned flour.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil, and when shimmering add half of the chicken thighs, skin side down. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, without turning, until the skin is browned and crisp. Using tongs, flip the chicken and cook for 4 additional minutes on the other side. Transfer the chicken to a plate or platter and repeat with the 4 remaining thighs. Remove those to the platter once browned.

Add the shallots to the skillet and sauté over medium-high heat until soft and caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until softened. Pour in the wine, deglaze the pan, add the chicken broth, the mustard, kale, chickpeas, tarragon, chicken, and any accumulated juices. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes until the chicken is tender. Remove the cover, add the butter and the tomatoes to the skillet, and allow the sauce to thicken, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken and the vegetables to a platter, spoon on the sauce, and serve.

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