Chickpeas: A Growing Trend in the Food Industry

Chickpea Products Are Helpful for Those With Food Allergies

Looking around the market today there is a new player in town: chickpeas. They can be found as a primary ingredient in multiple new products, from pastas to chips, snacks, and more. They're popular not only due to their incredible versatility and delicious taste, but due to their place in the world of food allergies.

For the 15 million people who are diagnosed with food allergies, a dietary change is required.

One of the frustrating parts is having to eliminate some foods and food groups. For those who develop food allergies later in life, it may mean giving up your favorites. And for those who are born with food allergies it means finding substitutes that are allergen-free. Luckily, the food industry has exploded over the last few years with many foods that even those with food allergies can enjoy. Chickpeas as a base for many new products is just one example, and it has been named among the top nine natural food trends of 2016. The response has been tremendous!

What Are Chickpeas?

Chickpeas, otherwise known as garbanzo beans, are part of the legume family and loaded with nutrition. The USDA actually recommends three cups of legumes a week, and chickpeas fit right in.They are rich in protein, high in fiber, and rich in antioxidants. Many research studies link consumption of chickpeas with decreased cardiovascular risks, digestive mobility, and satiety which helps in caloric control.

Not to mention, chickpeas are delicious on their own. They can be placed atop a salad, made into a bean dish, thrown into soup and even ground up to make hummus.

Most recently however, chickpeas have found another spot in the marketplace. Lining the shelves of many markets are products that have been made from chickpeas.

It is being used to help those primarily with gluten and egg allergies. The “nutty” flavor of the chickpea also can serve as a substitute for those with nut allergies. It is important to note that those allergic to legumes cannot consume these products.

Take a look at these innovative products, give them a taste and you too will be surprised that they are made of chickpeas.

Chickpea Pasta 

Pasta made out of finely ground chickpeas allows those who cannot have wheat or gluten the chance to enjoy their favorite Italian dish. This pasta contains about four times the fiber, double the protein, and nearly half the net carbs. Chickpeas are naturally gluten free, low on the glycemic index, and many of these brands are certified non-GMO. The flavor and texture of the chickpea pasta is most similar to whole wheat pasta. Serve with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, garlic and oil, or even butter and salt. Any way you like your pasta, you will love this chickpea variety.

Chickpea Chips

Looking for something to munch on while you watch the big game? Rather than grab for a bag of potato chips or pretzels, go for chickpea chips. These chips are usually made with a combination of chickpeas and rice to create a delicious light crispy texture.

With a slightly nutty flavor coming from the chickpea itself, they totally hit the spot. They are available in all different flavors to please any tastebud, perfect to enjoy with salsa, guacamole, or any dip. Most of these are vegan and gluten free as well.

Roasted Chickpeas

Need a little protein snack? Choosing one serving of roasted chickpeas will give you as much protein as almonds, not to mention as much fiber as two cups of broccoli and as much folate as three cups of spinach. They are a great substitute for those who enjoy nuts and trail mix but who are allergic to nuts. They are offered in a variety of flavors such as cinnamon, sea salt, cracked pepper, and falafel.

They are gluten-free, nut-free and vegan as well.

Aquafaba

This one is relatively new to most people but for those with egg allergies, listen up. The liquid that is found within a can of chickpeas is referred to as “aquafaba.” Aquafaba can be broken down to mean aqua for water and faba for beans. This liquid has been found to be a suitable substitute in recipes that call for egg whites. For those with an egg allergy this opens the door to many more baked goods, like meringue cookies, pancakes, and various cakes. 

Seeing all of these options it is no wonder that chickpeas are being coined the “next new superfood.”

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