Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are packed with vegetarian-friendly protein, fiber, folate, and minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc for healthy strong bones. These health benefits make these lovely little legumes a great option for healthy, tasty meals that go easy on the planet as well. Bring one of these recipes to your next potluck or summer BBQ, and everyone is sure to appreciate your healthy and delicious dish.

Sweet Chick Hummus

Adapted from Cookie and Kate’s blog, this vegan dish was discovered by Scholé Yoga University Facilitator Vanessa Noble. It's a lot lighter and less dense than a traditional chickpea hummus thanks to the sweet potatoes that also add more health benefits such as the cancer-fighting antioxidants vitamin C and beta-carotene, as well as choline that reduces inflammation and promotes better sleep.

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed very well

2 medium sweet potatoes, baked at 400F for an hour or microwaved until soft if you’re tight on time

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)

2-3 cloves peeled garlic

1 lemon, squeezed for juice

1 tsp smoked paprika

¼ tsp cumin

½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional, add more if you like it hot)

Ground sea salt and pepper to taste

Allow your sweet potatoes to cool a little, then add everything to a food processor, blender or bowl if you will use a stick blender. Process until everything is incorporated, then taste. Add as much salt as needed to make all the flavors come alive for you. Serve with fresh veggies.

Chickpea Sandwich Spread

Looking for a vegetarian lunchtime option besides the classic peanut butter sandwich? This one is great in a wrap or on pita bread, and can even be made vegan if prepared with an egg-free mayonnaise available at most grocery stores.

1 can chickpeas, well rinsed and drained

3 tbsp olive oil mayo or vegan mayonnaise

2 tbsp mustard

½ tsp lemon juice

1 tsp diced onion

1 tbsp diced cucumber

1 tsp dill

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Start by smashing the chickpeas in a bowl. You can use a potato masher or use a mug to push down on the chickpeas if you need another option. Blend the other ingredients into the mash. Taste and adjust quantities as needed. This spread can also be made with a diced rib of celery instead of the cucumber, with basil and oregano as spices instead of the dill. You can also add chopped spinach to add some greens - try your own variations to make it your own, and serve on the bread of your choice.

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

So many healthy foods and fresh flavors in one dish! If you can, give this one a few hours to sit in the fridge so the ingredients can get to know each other to bring it all together. If you don’t have the exact quantities of a veggie in this dish, don’t worry. Just use what you have and it will all turn out fine.

1 can chickpeas, well rinsed and drained

1 cup diced fresh tomato

1 cup diced cucumber

1 yellow or orange pepper, chopped (red is fine too but these colors contrast the tomato nicely)

1/3 cup black olives, pitted and chopped (leave out if you’re not an olive fan)

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tbsp olive oil

½ lemon, juiced

1 tsp oregano

½ tsp sea salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the veggies and the parsley together, then make a dressing out of the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the dressing and mix to coat. Taste to see if you’d like to adjust any seasonings. Allow the salad to sit in the fridge to bring all the flavors together before serving