Veganuary: The Beloved Chickpea:

Image Credit: Emma Lambkin

Kate O'Mahony shares some great recipes for Veganuary and being plant based in 2022!

January – a new year and a fresh start. A time to change old habits and start new ones. Amongst these changes include many joining the ‘health-buzz’ that is seen as soon as Christmas ends. In recent years, opting for a plant-based diet has become increasingly popular due to growing concerns on climate change, animal welfare and a general shift in ethics. Hence, ‘Veganuary’ has become a term often toyed around in the media and by celebrities who take on the challenge of going vegan for the month. This year it is more popular than ever, with the smiling faces of The Happy Pear twins seen throughout our social media feeds, while large scale food manufacturers and fast-food chains have released more veggie-friendly options, seen with McDonald’s ‘McPlant’ burger. 

As a vegetarian for nearly seven years, I am often asked for tips when switching to a plant-based diet. One of my biggest tips is to indulge in the beloved chickpea. Yes, the can of legume costing no more than a euro is hands-down one of my most-loved cupboard staples. Boasting 8g of protein per 100g, their versatility can be seen as they may be added to curry, soup, pasta or stir-fries. They can also be used to make falafels or even roasted and eaten alone as a snack. 

Here are two of my own recipes that show how adaptable chickpeas are, as both result in a tasty vegan sandwich filling for lunch with leftovers that can be heated through pasta for a delicious dinner. 

Simple Hummus:

1. Drain and rinse one can of chickpeas.

2. Add 2 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil to a food processor or jug. Add one clove of crushed garlic (or 1 tsp of garlic granules), ¼ tsp salt, ¾ tsp cumin and 1 tbsp of lemon juice.

3. Add the drained chickpeas along with 1-3 tbsp of water, depending on your desired thickness.

4. Blend all the ingredients together with a food processor or soup/smoothie maker.

5. Add more salt or water, according to your preference.

6. Store for up to 3 days covered in the fridge.

'One of my biggest tips is to indulge in the beloved chickpea.'

Chickpea ‘Chuna’:

1. Drain and rinse one can of chickpeas. Transfer to a large bowl and mash with a fork.

2. Add 1-3 tbsp of mayonnaise or a vegan mayonnaise alternative. 

3. Add ½ a 165g tin of sweetcorn, 1 clove of crushed garlic (or 1 tsp garlic granules) and season with salt and pepper. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and mix.

4. Optional: add half a chopped red onion or a couple of chopped spring onions. You may also add chilli flakes or fajita seasoning to give your ‘chuna’ a kick, depending on your desired flavour.

5. Store for up to 3 days covered in the fridge.

There you have it! These two quick and easy recipes show how adaptable chickpeas are when incorporating them into a vegan or vegetarian diet, in a way accessible for all. Get involved this ‘Veganuary’ by making small swaps for animal products like in the recipes above, that can be more cost effective, environmentally friendly and overall, healthy.