Cooking a large pot of chickpeas (or other beans) at the beginning of the week is a great way to ensure you have a healthy protein on hand that can become the basis of quick weeknight meals. I often give this advice to friends and clients when they want to eat more homemade meals but have time restrictions. Not only is it convenient and cost-effective, but home-cooked beans also taste much better than anything you’ll find in a can. High in protein, chickpeas also contain more iron and vitamin C than any other legume. Their creamy texture and pleasing mild flavor make them the perfect pantry staple.
Summer days (and nights) call for refreshing, light meals that require little or no advance planning. Much of the time, a salad of the leafy variety will hit the spot, but it might not be substantial enough to get you through to the next meal. Here, chickpeas replace the lettuce in this Greek salad, transforming the dish into a meal that’s ideal for lunch or dinner.
These days, it’s all the rage to join a community supported agriculture plan, or CSA. But as recently as 2008, it wasn’t quite as easy. That was the year Dahlia Abraham-Klein, frustrated with the lack of locally sourced food in her Long Island, NY, town, gathered enough signatures to start a CSA out of her garage.
We’re teaming up with fellow food bloggers to host a Brown-Bag Challenge, a month-long initiative to eat consciously and save money by packing a lunch each weekday instead of eating out. Join us here and share what you’re eating on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #brownbag.
Confession: I bought lunch yesterday just because I could. I walked over to Taim, my favorite falafel place in the whole city, and I bought a falafel for lunch. I have no idea how much fat or calories the sandwich contained, but the sandwich was large so was likely not very diet-friendly. I justified the splurge because I’d been to the gym that morning, and because it was the last day I could eat a restaurant lunch before the Brown-Bag Challenge. This splurge cost me $8.
Today’s lunch is smarter in so many ways. When I was searching for recipes, I was looking for something healthy to make with potatoes, because I have a whole bunch from my CSA that I wanted to use up. I found this recipe for Curried Potatoes and Chickpeas from Food Network Magazine; it’s from a story they did last year on using leftover crunchy onions — those things that go on top of green bean casserole. It looked quick and easy enough to make on a busy weeknight, and Toby, one of our resident dieticians, confirmed that it meets our Healthy Eats nutritional guidelines; it has 290 calories per serving and 15 grams of total fat (saturated fat = 7 grams).
I had potatoes, spices, limes and jalapenos at home, so I bought the following at the store:
Chickpeas: $1.79 (I bought the 29-ounce can even though the recipe calls for 15 ounces. It was a better value, and I’ll use the leftovers to make hummus)
Fried onions: $2.89
Greek yogurt: $1.25
My grocery store total was $7.92. I spent nearly the same amount on all the ingredients for an entire recipe as I did on one lunch. And since the recipe makes 6 servings, that comes to $1.32 per serving. Less than two dollars per serving. Makes my $8 falafel seem pretty frivolous.
You probably see hummus at the supermarket or on restaurant menus. Have you had some lately? Get the skinny on this spread and a few of our favorite, easy recipes.