Planted in early spring and harvested during the first half of the summer season, fresh garbanzo beans become readily available.
When initially harvested, these “chickpeas” are sold fresh off the plants for a very limited window in green pods.
Encased within the pods are two or three small green beans. As the beans are left to dry, the green pods fade to yellow, and the beans take on a beige color. The texture of the beans from fresh to dried also change from a tender crunch to rock hard when fully dried out. Once dried, these garbanzo beans can be used in an array of ways, but must be processed to be palatable.
For those who attend our Saturday Santa Barbara farmers’ market on a regular basis, you have surely encountered the Baba Foods Small Batch stand that is most notably known for their extensive line of delicious hummus products. These tasty spreads, of course, are produced from Baba Foods annual harvest of garbanzo beans that were once harvested fresh, dried, then simmered until soft and blended with other ingredients such as tahini, lemon juice and seasonings to create the final product. From garlic artichoke and avocado cilantro, to spicy harissa and a zesty lemon, you can typically find more than a dozen flavor offerings on any given Saturday.
In addition to hummus, which is probably the most common use for processed garbanzo beans, Baba Foods offers a couple of other products that I am quite fond of.
The first is a roasted garbanzo bean. These remind me of corn nuts, with a much lighter crunch and nuttier flavor. Roasted and tossed with olive oil and salt, these are one of my kids favorite snacks.
The other product is a chickpea flatbread.
Most are not aware that garbanzo beans can be processed into a flour-like substance and used to make breads, crackers and an array of other baked goods. Think cauliflower crust, but instead of cauliflower, Baba Foods is utilizing its protein-packed garbanzo beans in a similar fashion. Vegan and gluten free, this chickpea flatbread is ideal for those with such diet-restriction.
This week I used two of Baba Foods Small Batch products; sun-dried tomato chickpea flatbread and Baba Foods Lemon hummus, to produce a very simple and healthy lunch. I topped my flatbread with a little roasted turkey, but vegetarians can skip that ingredient. And smoked salmon would make for a nice substitute.
I also topped the thin rounds with some tomato and Persian cucumbers, which can be found this time of year from the Beylik Family Farm.
Chickpea Flatbread with Lemon Hummus
8 ounce package chickpea flatbread (I used the sun-dried tomato flatbread).
Lemon hummus (or any flavor you prefer).
6 ounces roasted turkey.
1 large tomato, cut into rounds.
1 Persian cucumber, cut into thin flat strips.
Thinly sliced red onion.
Pinch of fresh sprouts.
Aged balsamic vinegar.
Freshly cracked pepper.
Toast the four flatbreads in the toaster oven. This can also be done over the stovetop in a lightly oiled pan, or in a conventional oven.
Once warm and slightly crispy, add a spread of lemon hummus over each and top with turkey, followed by the tomato, cucumber, red onion, and sprouts. Then finish with a very light drizzle of olive oil and aged balsamic, followed by freshly cracked pepper.
Yield: Makes four rounds.