The chickpea, scientific name Cicer arietinum of the Fabaceae family, is a plant cultivated and appreciated above all for its edible seeds, the chickpeas. Among the many uses of chickpeas, these can be dried and ground to obtain a flour that is very tasty, nutritious, energizing and with interesting healthy properties.
Chickpea flour, properties
This flour is, in fact, considered an excellent source of proteins and amino acids such as lysine. It is this characteristic that makes chickpea flour an important ingredient to add to a mix of cereal flours, which instead are poor in lysine but rich in other types of amino acids, thus creating a complete and healthy final product (Dandachy et al, Foods, 2018). Indeed, low levels of lysine are linked to conditions of anxiety and stress (Smriga et al, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A., 2004). In addition to this, the chickpea flour, compared to the more common wheat flour, also brings a higher quantity of fibers and unsaturated fats, the good fats for the cardiovascular system. In fact, chickpea flour also helps keep bad LDL and triglyceride cholesterol levels under control (Pittaway et al, J Am Coll Nutr, 2007). Moreover, this flour also provides mineral salts, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, and vitamins, especially B and E, and antioxidants (USDA Database). Finally, blood sugar also improves thanks to chickpea flour. In fact, as proven by scientific studies (Zafar et al, J Food Sci Technol., 2015), preparing bread with chickpea flour and wheat flour has led to a reduction in blood sugar levels in the study participants. This effect was obtained with a percentage of 35% of chickpea flour and the remaining given by wholewheat flour. But be careful, these beneficial effects were observed only with whole wheat flour, in fact, using white flour, instead, the reduction in blood sugar was really modest, almost not observable.
Chickpea flour, quick and easy recipes
Chickpea flour can be used to prepare tasty, and easy, recipes. In the Healthy Food section you can find a lot of ideas on how to include this flour in your diet. What do you think about the Italian panissa? The chickpea polenta cooked in a pan with chard. Then, don't forget the chickpea farinata, the exquisite pie prepared only with chickpea flour, water and onion, and finally the chickpea gnocchi seasoned with tomato sauce! In short, there are recipes for all tastes!