Meat-eater’s guide to being vegetarian

Swearing off meat after the WHO report? Here are 5 alternatives using chickpeas

The World Health Organization caused a stir recently after a report highlighted the dangers of eating meat.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a research arm of the WHO, has classified red meat as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” and processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans.”

While eating a steak isn’t as bad as smoking, the report highlighted the need to eat red and processed meat in moderation.

With that in mind, here are five vegetarian substitutes for meat using chickpeas, a nutrient dense food.

Smashed chickpea sandwich

FullSizeRender-2An easy way to use chickpeas, this sandwich is quick and simple to prepare. Mix washed chickpeas with avocado, green onion, cilantro and lemon juice, mashing the mix until the chickpeas have been mostly broken down. On toasted bread, layer spinach and sliced cucumber before laying on the chickpea mixture. Fresh and filling, this is a easy way to move away from a cold cut sandwich.

Chickpea burger

For those interested in burgers and looking for substitutes, try replacing the patties. Mix chickpeas, garlic and pepper in a food processor until it reaches a paste-like consistency. Then mix in flour, egg and shaved carrot, and continue to blend the mixture. Pan fry or use the barbecue and enjoy.

Spicy Garlic Chickpeas

This versatile take on chickpeas can be used for anything from a snack to protein for chickpea tacos. Using rinsed chickpeas, mix olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and paprika in a bowl. Toast in the oven until golden brown. Just make sure you make a double batch — they’ll disappear fast.

Chickpea and Arugula Salad

Mix arugula, mint, chickpeas and red onion in a bowl and toss lightly with your choice of vinaigrette. A simple homemade vinaigrette can be made with lemon zest, lemon juice, redline vinegar, olive oil, oregano and garlic. Top with feta cheese, and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, toasted chickpeas. This can double as a side, main or is excellent in a multigrain wrap to have on the go.

Chickpea Pasta

This chickpea pasta is vegan friendly, full of protein and, thanks to zucchini, adds a serving of vegetables to your diet in one meal. To start, cook zucchini in a pan with olive oil until golden brown. Mix in chickpeas, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and pepper about halfway through cooking. Slightly before the mixture is finished add a generous helping of spinFullSizeRenderach and cook until wilted. At the same time, cook a portion of whole wheat pasta.

For a garnish create a simple gremolata by heating oil with breadcrumbs, garlic, lemon zest, parsley and a small amount of mint.