October 21st is Garbanzo Bean Day, but I think they are better known as Chickpeas.
Recent studies have linked chickpeas and a Mediterranean diet with numerous health benefits, such as improved heart health, reduced risk of diabetes and dementia and a decreased risk of stomach cancer.
High in protein, they are one of the earliest cultivated legumes: 7,500 year-old remains have been found in the Middle East.
Here is a hearty fall stew full of fresh herbs, spinach and protein packed chickpeas.
Mediterranean Chickpea Stew
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
4 medium zucchini, chopped
35 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1 can vegetarian broth
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained (or you can use (1) 14 oz. canned chickpeas, drained)
1 bag (8oz) baby spinach
1 tablespoon capers, drained and rough chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
5 cups cooked couscous
Heat oil over medium-low heat in a large skillet. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes until translucent, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add pepper and zucchini and cook for another 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and broth and bring to a simmer and cook for another 20 minutes or until zucchini is soft and tomatoes begin to break down (you can use a wooden spoon to break apart).
Stir in chickpeas and cook for another 3-5 minutes and then add spinach, capers and fresh herbs/spices. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for an additional 3-5 minutes before serving over 1/2 cup couscous.
* Please note: This recipe is dairy free, vegan, vegetarian and high in fiber!