Fresh, Green Chickpeas are the New Edamame

Photo courtesy of Flickr user bitter-sweet

Photo courtesy of Flickr user bitter-sweet

I love chickpeas. I’m crazy about chickpeas.  Perhaps you remember my previous post:  Ode to the Chickpea.

Now it’s going to be easier to find the fresh, green chickpeas that I remember enjoying in Lebanon. In fact, the raw versions of the legume (also known as green garbanzo beans) are poised to be the new edamame.

I’m all for that.

The beige, creamy orbs that we know as chickpeas are left to ripen on the plant and then shrivel into the blonde pebbles that we buy in cans or bags for the dried variety. Fresh chickpeas are picked in their infancy.  They’re still  green and encased in thin, pilant pods, much like edamame (soybeans in their shells).

Typically fresh chickpeas are available only a few weeks a year in farmer’s markets and ethnic/specialty stores, but now you can find bags of fresh chickpeas in the freezer case at certain Costco stores thanks to a new product introduced by Clearwater Country Foods. Here’s how the company describes the new product:

Traditionally, the freshly picked green garbanzo bean had only been offered seasonally in regions that grew them, and were generally seen shocked and still in the pod. Now, thanks to Clearwater Country Foods, developments have been made to pick the green garbanzo beans fresh and flash freeze them to ensure nutrition, and year round availability, while providing its versatility and convenience for the consumer.  Today this fresh-picked and nutritious Garden Green Garbanzo™ is about to make its way into the homes of all health conscious Americans and people across the globe.

I’m convinced that green garbanzos will be a major trend.  Take a look at what the Associated Press just wrote about them.

Move over, edamame?  Fresh garbanzos — the moist, raw version of a legume usually dried, canned or turned into hummus — may be the new “new” thing?…Available only a few weeks a year, fresh chickpeas are prized among in-the-know foodies and sophisticated chefs for their novelty and their young, slightly vegetal taste.

“It tastes like being outside this time of year,” says Josh DeChellis, executive chef at New York’s La Fonda Del Sol restaurant, where he chars chickpeas in their pods and dresses them with olive oil and salt.

Here’s Josh DeChellis’ recipe for Charred Chickpeas that was featured in New York Magazine.

You can also find another brand of fresh chickpeas called Califresh of California in Whole Foods and other markets.  Check out their web site for some great recipes, including Green Chickpea and Tomato Bruschetta.

An article in the LA Times interviewed several chefs about green chickpeas:

Nalin Patel, owner of Maurya Indian restaurant in Beverly Hills, says they’re popular in his native Guharat, where one might eat them roasted in the shell over a wood fire or combined with onion, chile, cilantro, lime juice and salt as an appetizer or with drinks.  When Maurya’s executive chef, Jayanta Paul, cooks at home, he likes to make fresh garbanzos with mushrooms in a Punjabi-style tomato sauce.  For a summer dish, I added fresh garbanzos to Mexican calabacitas, a combination of squash, corn, tomatoes and green chiles.

There are so many different ways to enjoy green chickpeas — steamed whole to eat as snacks, mixed in bean salads, added to rice or whole grain dishes, pasta and salsas.  You can also use as you would other chickpeas for hummus. The green color also makes for an interesting twist on guacamole.

Here’s a guacamole recipe using green chickpeas from Califresh of California.

Green Garbanzo Guacamole

2 cups fresh green (shelled) garbanzos
1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup minced white onion
1 jalapeno
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon salt

Cook fresh, green garbanzos for about 3 minutes in boiling water, then rinse in cold water.  In a food processor, combine fresh garbanzos, avocado, lime juice and salt.  Puree until smooth.  Remove from the processor and blend in the cilantro, onion and jalapeno.  Transfer to a serving bowl.


Here are some other ideas for using fresh, green chickpeas:

Fresh Garbanzo Bean Salad from Taste of Beirut

Green Chickpea and Tomato Bruschetta

The Coeur D’Alene Garden Green Garbanzo Salsa

Fresh Garbanzo Bean and Smoked Salmon Pasta from Delementals

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