Remember, when I said we were trying to change Dominic’s diet because of his bad allergies? We started with the fresh fruit yogurt pops, which he loved. I think he loved nibbling on the bits of frozen fresh fruit more than anything. Amanda and I have done a few other small things to change his diet. Can’t be too careful. Kids know when you’re trying to out smart them. Start small so it goes unnoticed. Hopefully. We reduced sugar in breads, something else he loves, by replacing it with a bit of honey just like we did in our old-fashion honey graham muffins recipe. He ate most of the muffin without any complaints. We’re moving on to bigger things like salads and sides. He’s not a big fan of lettuce, but he loves other vegetables like carrots, celery, and tomatoes. Then there’s the black olive thing he’s got going on. His sister, too. We buy natural olives in six packs at Costco. We can’t leave Whole Foods or The Fresh Market without a container of gourmet olives. Most kids get excited in the candy aisle, but these two get down right emotional near a good olive bar. That’s a good thing. It means there’s hope in slowly changing Dom’s diet, I think.
We’re starting with garbanzo beans, or chick peas, a favorite of mine. Garbanzo beans aren’t new to our family. My grandmother made pasta e ceci (pasta with chick peas) when she didn’t have the white cannellini beans for pasta e fagiole. My mom makes garbanzo bean salad and eats it as a meal instead of a side. We buy a few pounds of dried garbanzo’s every month so we can make humus or pasta. Simply put, garbanzo beans are one of our cherished foods. Chocolate is too. So is wine.
Garbanzo beans provide many health benefits. They are high in fiber, low-fat, and full of protein (read more about the health benefits of garbanzo beans). I love the nutty taste and the versatility of garbanzo beans. Not too strong; mild enough for kids to eat. Garbanzo beans are always the main attraction in a dish regardless of the other ingredients. Dom’s favorite summer vegetables and garbanzo beans seem to be the place to start in adding healthier food choices to his diet.
I like to use colorful vegetables in my summer garbanzo bean salad recipe. The brilliant colors are appealing, even to picky kids. Cherry red sweet peppers, green bell peppers, crisp stalks of celery, crunchy garden cucumbers, fresh scallions, red onion, and ripe Roma tomatoes along with black olives and a few sprigs of fragrant cilantro tossed in a lemon vinaigrette. Hmm. It’s summer in a bowl. I gave Dom a heaping tablespoon of summer garbanzo beans salad. He hummed and hawed at first, started to pick out a few of the veggies, then he had a change of heart. There’s hope after all.
- 1 cup dry garbanzo beans
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 4-6 cups water (more if needed)
- 12 black olives, sliced
- ¼ cucumber, quartered and sliced
- ½ tomato, cored, seeded, and diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 5 scallions, diced
- ½ green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Wash beans and cover with 4-6 cups of water. Soak for at least 4 hours. Discard water and replace with 4 cups of fresh water and 1½ teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1½ -2 hours (add more water if needed).
- While beans are cooking, prepare the cucumber, scallions, green pepper, carrots, celery and tomato. When the beans are tender, remove from heat, drain, and cool. Add the vegetables and olives to the beans. Adjust salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in half. Squeeze both halves into the bean mixture. Add the olive oil and cilantro and toss gently.