This week for Meatless Monday, consider including beans. Beans are packed with protein as well as fiber, iron, and potassium. Some popular varieties are black, pinto, garbanzo (chickpeas), blackeyed peas, lentils, and cannellini. Dried beans can be found year-round in the bulk bins at Cronig’s, but for quicker prep you can find pre-cooked beans in a can. Look for low or no added salt, and a BPA-free can.
When preparing dried beans, soak them in water overnight, then drain the water and put the beans in a crock pot with water or broth, your favorite spices, and half an orange. Cook on low for 7-9 hours. You can also try sprouting them by soaking them in a jar and rinsing once a day until sprouts appear. Snack on the sprouts or boil them as usual.
The next time you make burritos or tacos, try buying a bean variety you’ve never tasted before. Sprinkle some sprouted beans on top of a salad, or blend them in a food processor with garlic, tahini, and olive oil for some quick hummus.
Chickpea Flour Cinnamon Maple Crackers
Recipe by Gabrielle Chronister
1 cup chickpea flour, sifted *see below on how to make your own
3 Tbsp. olive oil, avocado oil, or melted coconut oil
4½ Tbsp. maple syrup
1½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt
*Homemade chickpea flour: Blend dried chickpeas in a blender on high until fine powder forms. Sift into a bowl. Place the remaining pieces that didn’t sift back into the blender and blend again until fine. Store in an airtight container.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together with a spatula or your hands until well combined and you can form into a dough ball. Dough should be sticky and wet. Place the ball of dough onto a sheet of baking paper.
Place another sheet of baking paper on top and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough as thinly as possible. The thinner the dough, the lighter and crunchier the cracker. Carefully remove the top layer of baking paper and slide the bottom sheet of paper along with the dough onto a baking sheet.
With a knife or pizza cutter, score the dough into little squares or triangles. Bake in the oven for 6-10 minutes until golden around the edges. Watch closely depending on the thickness of your cracker. Let cool for a few minutes and start snackin’! These are delicious served as a healthy cereal with some cold milk. Store in an airtight container for a couple weeks.
Ava Castro is a farm educator for Island Grown Schools, the Vineyard’s farm-to-school program.