Ingredient: Chickpeas

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I know: it ain’t no cut-out sugar cookie with royal icing.

Call it garbanzo bean, chickpea, or the Arabic hummus—this member of the legume family shows up with some frequency on the Lebanese table. And rightfully so. Chickpeas are super healthy, high in protein and fiber. The peas are just that—seeds of a pod, also known as a “pulse.”

There are many delicious, simple ways to prepare chickpeas. I got accustomed to tossing them on top of salads in the cafeteria at Saint Mary’s College way back when. Nothing like it for a quick infusion of protein to offset all of the bowls of vanilla soft-serve I was eating (hey, at least I held off on putting Cap’n Crunch on mine, and believe me, it was tempting).

Our first chickpea foray just wouldn’t be right if we didn’t go for the chickpea dish everyone knows and loves: hummus bi tahini.

You can buy chickpeas canned, jarred, or dried. Tomorrow we’ll talk about how to prepare dried chickpeas, just in case you are thinking of being economical and taking the slower route to your hummus than cracking open a can. By the week’s end, we’ll be making and eating an exceptional, delectable hummus that’s so worth making yourself. It will surprise you with its creaminess, the result of a secret ingredient you probably have on hand already….

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  1. Dad always pronounced it as “homos” with along o sound rather than a u sound. I assumed the u sound was Greek.
    Sort of like baklava was pronounced bak la’ a wa with a long a in the middle an a like a short u and a w at the end.
    Do you know if these pronunciations are regional or if people just follow the Greek because it is better known?

    1. This is a great and perplexing question that comes up often, Roger. I took a year of Arabic in college and I think it’s high time I contact my professor for this discussion. More to follow.