Chickpea, Avo & Feta Salad With Lime Dressing
Updated: Aug 21, 2019
Chickpeas have fallen off of our favorite food list somewhat in recent years, but for 7 500 years, they were culinary chart toppers. They earned that status by being nutritional powerhouses, packed with protein, minerals, vitamins and an abundance of fiber. It's high time we helped chickpeas make a comeback, and here's why:
1) Slow burning starch: the carbohydrates in chickpeas are slow release starches, so they don't cause a big insulin spike. In fact, their high fiber content can assist with maintaining healthy blood glucose, insulin and cholesterol levels. This makes them a safe energy source for diabetics, and a great addition to the diets of those suffering from metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes or heart disease. Helped by their high protein content, their slow burning starch also keeps you feeling full for longer, reducing the urge to over eat.
2) Stacks of minerals: chickpeas are rich in a range of minerals tough to get from other plant food sources, including iron, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, and vitamin K. This makes them particularly valuable in vegetarian diets, but everyone would benefit from the mineral boost from these mighty beans. Their mineral offering is especially beneficial for bone health, blood pressure management and cancer defense.
3) Fabulous fiber: Chickpeas are extremely rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which enormously benefit gut health. Insoluble fiber, also known as roughage, helps promote regularity and stave off constipation by retaining water in the intestinal contents. It also hangs on to toxins, allowing them to be excreted in the faeces rather than absorbed. Its the insoluble fiber in chickpeas, however, that really set them apart. Raffinose, the insoluble fiber in chickpeas, is a delicacy to your good gut microbes. You can't digest it at all, but they feast on it, and in return release loads of beneficial short chain fatty acids that power up your brain and support your gut lining. Eating plenty of chickpeas not only boosts your good bacteria's numbers, it makes life harder for the bad guys too.
For those suffering with IBS, chickpeas, along with other legumes, are often left off the menu. A strict FODMAPS diet forbids them, but recent research suggests that some IBS sufferers tolerate chickpeas better than other legumes, and they may actually help them on the road to recovery. If you suffer from IBS, briefly following a FODMAPS diet to relieve acute symptoms may be beneficial, but slowly weaning onto fiber rich foods like chickpeas would likely be beneficial to your recovery in the long term.
Complementing the marvelous chickpea in this salad is the admirable avocado. Not only are they fiber-bombs packed with soluble and insoluble fiber, but also nutritional cheerleaders that promote the absorption of fat soluble carotenoids and vitamins. Putting these foods together in this delicious, filling salad is the best gift you can give your little army of gut microbes this week!
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 avocados, diced
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 spring onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup feta cheese
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently to combine, making sure not to mash the avocados and feta. Season with salt and pepper to taste.