For a plant-based spin on this Asian dish, try chickpeas instead of chicken. Chickpeas are packed full of protein, so they make a great substitute for vegans and vegetarians.
The high fiber, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B-6 content, coupled with the lack of cholesterol found in chickpeas, all support heart health. This fiber also helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood, thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease.
Chickpeas contain a mineral called selenium that is not present in most other fruits and vegetables. It plays a role in liver enzyme function, and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Additionally, selenium prevents inflammation and also decreases tumor growth rates.
Choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in chickpeas that help with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.
For the chickpea marinade
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 lime, juiced and zested
- 1 tablespoon agave or honey
- 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil, melted
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch
For the chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons organic coconut oil
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup bottled all-natural kung pao sauce (or homemade)
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (1 inch) knob fresh ginger, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes or crushed red pepper
For the garnish
- 1 small bunch green onions, thinly sliced
- 1-2 spicy red jalapeños or Thai chili peppers
- Cashews, for garnish (optional)
- Steamed white or brown rice, for serving
- In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the marinade.
- Add the chickpeas to the marinade, and stir well to coat.
- Cover the chickpeas, and allow them to marinate for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- In a large pan over medium heat, add the coconut oil, the marinated chickpeas and the remaining ingredients for the chickpeas.
- Sauté for about 6 to 8 minutes, until the chickpeas begin to caramelize and brown slightly.
- Remove from the heat, and allow the chickpeas to cool slightly.
- Serve the warm chickpeas over steamed rice, and garnish with sliced peppers, cilantro, cashews and green onions.