Chickpeas are pretty cool. I have always loved the shape of the humble chickpea (a.k.a garbanzo bean). So cute with its almost tulip-like shape. Aside from its looks, it is very nutritious – a little “powerhouse” for digestive support! Did you know that 65-75% of the fiber found in chickpeas is insoluble fiber? This type of fiber remains undigested all the way down to the final segment of your large intestine, which is the colon. Can you say scrub brush? Recent studies have shown that chickpea fiber can be metabolized by bacteria in the colon to produce pretty large amounts of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These SCFAs provide fuel to the cells that line our intestinal wall. By supporting our intestinal cells, the SCFAs made from chickpea fibers can help lower our risk of colon problems, including colon cancer. Application: eat your chickpeas.
Not only does this recipe highlight chickpeas, but swiss chard as well! Swiss chard is a beautiful vegetable in my opinion. It contains many antioxidants and nutrients. Swiss chard is one of the most popular vegetables in Mediterranean cuisine. This recipe has just the right balance of slightly earthy, slightly spicy, slightly salty, slightly sweet…it is very satisfying to the palate and good for the soul!
1 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
¾ cup quinoa
2 tsp. grape seed oil
1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves cut into ribbons, stems finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
16 pitted kalamata olives, halved
¼ cup golden raisins
1 – 15 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbs. toasted pine nuts
1. Combine broth and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. in Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chard stems and onion. Reduce heat and caramelize the chard stems and onion. This will take about 20 minutes to get a nice, rich golden color. (See photo below on the left) Add in the garlic, olives, raisins, chickpeas, chard leaves, and red pepper flakes. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Pour vegetable broth over mixture. Bring to a simmer and reduce liquid by half. (See photo below on the right) Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
3. Divide quinoa among 4 shallow bowls. Spoon chard mixture over top, and sprinkle with pine nuts.