Mediterannean Chickpea, Apricot & Rosemary Balls

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I. Love. Hummus.

To me, spreading it on anything and everything is fair play (I don’t know who died and made me ref, FYI).

I must say though, and I never thought I’d say this, after making this recipe, I can now say that I love “hummus balls”.

Chickpeas really are a wonder food. Though they are beige in colour, their personality is far from beige. In fact, they possess mucho nutritional pizzazz. Half a cup of these guys contains 134 calories, 2.1 grams of fat, 22.5 grams of carbohydrates, 7.3 g of protein, 6.2 g of fiber and they humbly boast a low glycemic index. Chickpeas contain a unique mix of goodies: molybdenum and manganese (which help antioxidize your “cuerpo”) and a healthy dose of folate (a heart-healthy nutrient). It must be pointed out that chickpeas contain a heck of a lot of soluble fiber, which helps stabilize your blood sugar as well as feel satiated, meaning you necessitate less calories to feel full. All of this amounts to quite a commendable nutritional profile, wouldn’t you agree?

Chickpeas are mild and nutty and can sub in for meat whenever and wherever. Plus, they are relatively local, with many chickpeas being produced in Alberta and Saskatchewan. In fact, Canada is one of the top 5 chickpea exporters worldwide (who woulda thunk it?).

This recipe contains dried Turkish apricots, which add an extremely subtle touch of sweetness. Did you know that many dried apricots from Turkey are dried on rooftops? If you’re lucky enough to visit Turkey and score a wonderful view, you may find yourself staring at flat rooftops that look orange, but actually look this colour only due to the fruits drying on them. Beautiful.

The proverbial cherry on top in this recipe is the rosemary. Rosemary is a favourite herb of mine for its lush, resinous and tea-like taste. It is known for its anti-cancer properties and Brazilian research from 2009 has reported that extract of rosemary produces effects similar to those of antidepressants in animal models, as can be seen in the Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry journal. Though more research is needed, it’s great to know that this delicious fresh herb holds promise in the “pharma” industry.

If you`re in the mood for something light yet flavourful, today’s recipe will most definitely fit that bill. And here it is:

Mediterranean Chickpea, Apricot and Rosemary Balls

(Yield: 12-15 balls)

Ingredients:

For the balls:

  • 2 1/2 cups of canned chickpeas (make sure your can is BPA-free)
  • 3 tbsp. tahini
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 1.5 tbsp. dried rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves (use 1 if you’re not a garlic aficionado like myself)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

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Double dipping is allowed. Says me.

For the simple dip:

  • 1 cup organic Greek yoghurt
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • Fresh pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place chickpeas, apricots, rosemary, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt in food processor and blend until all ingredients are well mixed and chickpeas are completely blended.
  3. Roll into balls approximately 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter and plop onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until balls are firm.
  5. In your serving bowl, stir Greek yoghurt, paprika, fresh cracked pepper and lemon zest together.
  6. Feast!

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