Eat more chicken chickpeas! This recipe is a perfect example of how easy and tasty it can be to make the swap. Enjoy!
- Chickpeas, like all legumes, are extremely health-promoting. They are rich in folate, potassium, iron, zinc, and plant-based protein. Their fiber feeds the beneficial bacteria in our gut and can help lower cholesterol.
- Leafy greens, like romaine lettuce and kale, are rich in plant-based nitrates (not to be mistaken with the nitrates that are added to processed meat—those are extremely unhealthy). Research shows that plant-based nitrates can be converted to nitric oxide in our body. Nitric oxide is a gas that is released by our blood vessels, helping them dilate and relax. This improves our overall vascular health and can help lower our blood pressure to a healthy level. For this reason, high-nitrate plants are featured in my post: How To Lower Blood Pressure With Diet.
- Okinawa, Japan has the longest life expectancy in the world. Because of this, the traditional Okinawan diet has been studied extensively. Researchers found that people eating the traditional diet were obtaining two-thirds of their calories from the Okinawan purple sweet potato. This humble potato likely played a major role in the health and longevity found on the island. Potatoes often get a bad rap, but they are an extremely healthy food when not fried and covered in salt. Different colored varieties offer an assortment of health-promoting pigments. Anthocyanins are responsible for blue/purple varieties (the same compound in blueberries), while beta-carotene gives orange potatoes their bright color. Adding a variety of colorful potatoes to your diet is a great way to obtain these beneficial pigments.
- The word “farro” actually describes three types of wheat species: spelt, emmer, and einkorn. Although there are many regional differences, emmer wheat is often considered “true” farro. Regardless of the species, farro is quite healthy. It is a good source of fiber, magnesium, zinc, and plant-based protein. Consuming whole grains, such as farro, is associated with a healthier body weight, lower cardiovascular disease risk, lower type-2 diabetes risk, and may lower the risk of certain cancers.
Chickpea Chopped Salad
- ½ cup dry farro
- ½ cup unsweetened dried cranberries
- ½ cup pitted dates, chopped
- ½ cup almonds, chopped
- 1 - 30oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 medium purple sweet potatoes (you can sub orange sweet potatoes)
- 1 head of romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
- 1 bunch of lacinato (dino) kale, rinsed and finely chopped
- ¾ cup champagne vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the farro and at least 1 cup of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25-40 minutes, or until the grains are tender. Once cooked, strain any excess water and set aside.
- In a separate pot, boil enough water so the sweet potatoes you're about to add will be covered. Once at a boil, add the potatoes and reduce to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the pot, let cool, then slice them up to any desired shape/size. Set aside.
- While the farro and potatoes are cooking, make the dressing by whisking together the champagne vinegar, oil, water, sweetener, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Chop the romaine lettuce and kale. Mix together in a large bowl and set aside.
- Chop the almonds and dates. Set aside.
- Once everything is prepped, assemble the salad with a bed of greens and top with a desired amount of farro, chickpeas, potatoes, cranberries, dates, and almonds. Drizzle on some dressing, mix it all up, and enjoy!
This recipe is best enjoyed after yoga class and while listening to the Dirty Heads' "Vacation".