Legumes are an important part of the Mediterranean diet and healthy eating. Vegetarians and vegans are essential for the supply of vegetable proteins. Still, for omnivores, it is the healthiest way to vary the second course, setting aside meat’s (harmful) abuse. Now, however, is the time to bring black chickpeas to the table, an ancient legume rediscovered a few years ago thanks to the tenacity of farmers.
A great little legume, the black chickpea, with a very intense flavor, is also a biodiversity safeguard. A little more laborious in preparation but with many health properties: if you feel drained, weak due to the change of season, or lack iron, these chickpeas are just the thing for you!
The Properties Of Black Chickpeas
We are dealing with a particular variety of Cicer entourage, and they are distinguished from normal chickpeas by their dark skin. Even the flavor of black chickpeas is different:
- It is very intense.
- They are very tasty, even with little.
- They do not require many aromas or spices, a bay or sage leaf is enough for a gourmet and simple dish.
But what surprises me is their richness in nutrients. These so-dark chickpeas contain vitamins B, C, E, and K and magnesium, potassium, and calcium. In short, everything you need to have strong bones, healthy teeth, and beautiful and young skin.
These are also particularly rich in iron: for this reason, they were traditionally recommended to women who had recently given birth in the Apulian countryside. If you feel tired during overwork and physical and mental commitments in the spring, consuming black chickpeas is a natural way to regain energy.
And to avoid missing anything, these small legumes also abound in fiber (17%, three times as much as soft chickpeas). For this reason, they facilitate intestinal transit: they are very filling, help control cholesterol and blood sugar, and are recommended for those suffering from constipation. They also contain potassium, which is good for the heart, and magnesium for the brain.
The Nutritional Values
The nutritional values of black chickpeas are really to be discovered. 100 g of black chickpeas contain:
- 952 mg of potassium
- 129 mg of calcium
- 465 mg of phosphorus
- 5.6 mg of iron
- 150 mg of magnesium.
For the same amount, they also have 3.4 grams of low fat, 8 grams of carbohydrates, 25 of fiber, 2 grams of fiber, and a whopping 23 grams of protein. Few calories: 120 per 100 g.
Black Chickpeas From The Murgia
Black chickpeas are one of those traditional legumes that seemed destined to be forgotten: nobody cultivated them anymore, and nobody asked for them. Why? The reason is simple: compared to other legumes, black chickpeas require a slightly more demanding preparation, particularly a long soak, which lasts up to 48 hours. For this reason, they were considered inconvenient for a long time.
Today, however, thanks to the commitment and stubbornness of farmers, especially from Puglia, the black chickpeas of the Karst Murgia of Bari have come back to life and, surprisingly, are very popular. From a rare product, they are becoming increasingly popular among those who love to eat healthily and want to rediscover Italian biodiversity: the one that allows us to eat healthy and local and that allows us to protect delicate and precious environmental niches!
Since 2019 the black chickpeas of the Murge have been a Slow Food presidium. They are grown in a precise area that includes the municipality of Cassano delle Murge and some territories of neighboring municipalities such as Altamura, Grumo Appula, Santeramo in Colle, and Sannicandro di Bari.
Where To Buy Them
Black chickpeas can be bought in natural and organic food stores, in some corners of large-scale retailers, and online on many sites, some even of small local companies: they can be found packaged and loose. They are then on sale in the same channels, already cooked in glass jars.
Recipes With Black Chickpeas
One way to appreciate black chickpeas for the first time is to try the Apulian black chickpea soup: the boiled chickpeas are sautéed with carrots, celery, and garlic and seasoned with a bay leaf or sage. Perfect with Altamura bread croutons!
Another easy recipe is a warm salad of boiled black chickpeas with sliced Tropea onions, basil, and chopped cherry tomatoes. Or that of whole meal ditalini with black chickpeas: a complete and delicious first course with a high protein value and fiber-rich.
These legumes, of course, are also very suitable as ingredients for creams and soups (by adding a boiled potato) to be flavored with rosemary or sage. With black chickpeas, unusual and tasty vegetable burgers are also prepared to be eaten alone or with bread enriched with sesame seeds.
For those who want, they can also be used in pasta with fish: cod, cod, or scorpion fish are the most suitable. And black chickpeas are also excellent with croutons spread with fresh cheese and a side of bitter pan-fried herbs (dandelion, chicory).
Cooking black chickpeas is not difficult. First, you need to rinse them well to remove any impurities (defective chickpeas must be discarded) and then leave the black chickpeas to soak for 48 hours: this is necessary because their skin is particularly hard. The water must be changed at least a couple of times and 4/5 times the quantity of chickpeas soaked. The chickpeas can then be boiled in a terracotta pot by adding oil to taste, a clove of garlic, or a bay leaf. Cooking must always be on a not-too-high flame (the risk is that the chickpeas harden) and must last at least 1 hour and a half or, in any case, until the chickpeas are tender. One trick is always to use a wooden and not a steel ladle: it helps to achieve a perfect result.
For the laziest, these chickpeas can also be found already cooked in water and salt, only to be rinsed.
Also Read: Manuka Honey: Properties, Benefits And Uses