Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Chickpeas

Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking.  Most of us have probably tried chickpeas in the form of hummus, a dip that tastes decadent but is surprisingly healthy, thanks to the nutrient content of its star ingredient.  Chickpeas are a good source of fiber, folate, and manganese.  They are also an excellent source of protein, and can be substituted for meat in many Indian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern dishes.  In the following recipe, chickpeas are used as an unlikely substitute for another ingredient:  wheat flour.  This rich, fudgy cake can be safely enjoyed by those with Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, as well as by anyone with a sweet tooth.  Make sure that the chickpeas are ground up as much as possible in order to ensure a cake with a smooth consistency.

Gluten-Free Chickpea Chocolate Cake

Ingredients
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 eggs
¾ cup white sugar
½  tsp. baking soda

Instructions
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.
2.  Melt chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring occasionally until chocolate is smooth.
3.  Combine chickpeas and eggs in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
4.  Add sugar and baking powder; blend.
5.  Pour in melted chocolate, then blend until smooth.
6.  Transfer batter to prepared cake pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Recipe from North Dakota State University Extension Service.

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