Spilling The Beans On Garbanzos

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - October 25, 2006
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The Susan G. Komen Hawaii Race for the Cure just happened in Kapiolani Park, raising funds and giving attention to the fight against breast cancer. Many people walked with pink papers on their T-shirts commemorating those who have won - or lost - their battle with the disease, which is projected to develop in at least 10 percent of all American women.

One name on numerous shirts was that of Cherye Pierce, the indefatigable community volunteer whose recent bout with breast cancer has seen her emerge with a clean bill of health. Having chaired such events as Kamaaina Christmas for the Honolulu Academy of Arts and the Heart Ball for the Hawaii Heart Association, just to name a couple of charities, Cherye is a much sought-after committee member and a respected leader, serving on the board of The Contemporary Museum.

Cherye, a native of New Orleans, also is one of Honolulu’s finest gourmet cooks and known for her fabulous entertaining at the Waialae Ike home she and husband Dr. Jim Pierce share with their two poodles, Scampi and Jezebel. She often imports Cajun and Creole ingredients to make her creations even more special. She headed up the Junior League cookbook project years ago and continues to collect recipes from around the world.

Here’s a dedication of a healthy recipe for Cherye and all those on Oahu who know that we can never give up trying to find a cure for breast cancer.

Garbanzo beans originated in the Middle East and records of their use dates back more than 7,000 years ago.

Also called chickpeas, they have a smooth texture and nutty flavor, and are used in many Middle Eastern recipes such as hummus and falafel.

Garbanzos are an excellent source of the trace mineral molybdenum, which is a component of an enzyme that helps to detoxify sulfites, which are commonly added to many foods. Some people are sensitive to these sulfites, and can suffer from rapid heartbeat, headache or dis-orientation if they are inadvertently consumed.

Garbanzos’ high fiber content prevents blood sugar from rising too fast after eating, so these beans are a good food choice for people with diabetes or hypoglycemia. They are also a good source of protein, manganese and folate, and contain copper, phosphorus and iron.



* 1 pound fresh green beans, trim tough ends off (may also use frozen, cooked until crisp tender), cut into 2-inch pieces
* 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
* 1 medium Maui onion, sliced thin
* 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
* 1/3 cup nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
* 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
* 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
* 2 teaspoons sugar
* salt and pepper, to taste
* romaine lettuce leaves
* grated Parmesan, for garnish

Cook fresh or frozen string beans in microwave or steamer. Combine with garbanzo beans and mix; add onion and combine well.

Mix yogurt, cheese, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper and stir until combined.

Add more seasoning to taste.

Note: Use bottled nonfat or lowfat dressing, if desired, instead of yogurt mixture.

Place lettuce leaves on six plates and arrange bean mixture on lettuce. Arrange tomato slices on top. Drizzle with yogurt mixture, and sprinkle with

Parmesan cheese.

Makes six servings.

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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