A Simple Swap

Our family loves Mexican food so Taco Tuesday happens a few times a week.  But with this whole plant-based thing I’ve got going on I had to find an end-around to the typical ground turkey or beef or grilled chicken.

Say “Hey” to my little friend the garbanzo bean. (Insert fancy music).

Garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas) are a legume and are very versatile.  They can be mushed, mashed, smashed, chopped and roasted, adding texture and a nice flavor to any dish.  Plus they pack a lot of oomph.  A half cup serving will get you 6 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein, magnesium, iron, folate and a serving clocks in at only 120 calories.

The sodium content in regular canned beans can be high but you have options.  Rinse regular beans well before using, buy no-salt added beans or set a pot of water to boil and cook your own from dried.  The latter being my favorite method because the beans stay firmer.  More firm.  But for quick and easy, canned works.

So what to do next?  How do you make garbanzos work in a taco? Well, like this.

  • Garbanzo beans (1 can or 1 cup cooked)
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can diced green chiles
  • Cumin, Garlic Powder, Red Pepper Flakes, Salt and Pepper
  • olive oil – 2 tsp
  1. In a heated skillet or cast iron pan add the olive oil
  2. Add the onion and garlic, saute for about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add garbanzo beans, saute for a few minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat, transfer garbanzo bean mixture to a bowl.
  5. Take potato masher and, well mash them.  If you don’t have a potato masher use a fork.  You want to break them up so they are crumbly in texture.  Don’t worry about the papery outer part of the garbanzo beans.  If you want to remove them do so as you mash, otherwise they are fine to stay in the mix.
  6. Note:  Mash, don’t mush.  You DO NOT want a paste.
  7. Set aside.
  8. Put your skillet or cast iron pan back on a  medium heat.  Add the tomatoes, chiles and spices to your liking.
  9. Add the garbanzo mixture back to the pan.  Feel free to add some water if your mixture seems too thick. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top and you’re good to go.

(You can also really amp up the flavor by adding a diced jalepeno pepper (where on earth is my tilde when I need it?) or a few chopped chiles in adobo sauce.  In a pinch you can even skip the spices and use a packaged Taco seasoning mix.)

Once the mixture is to your liking use it as a filling for tacos with brown rice, chopped cabbage,  green onions, radishes and avocado.  Wrap it up in a burrito or use it in a bowl.  Whatever works.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

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