Chickpeas: Sweet and Savory Recipes by Einat Mazor

What we have with Chickpeas is a beautifully presented cookbook with a very sophisticated list of recipes. Neither health nor vegetarian oriented (though recognizing both within), this is designed to provide a variety of uses for the chickpea – some exotic, others variations on a theme (e.g., hummus), but all quite interesting and well presented. Yes, this is definitely a cookbook for those who like to cook and explore – it has some of the most original/interesting recipes I’ve come across in the past several years and crosses many cultures.

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The book breaks down as follows: Introduction; Spreads and Snacks; Soups and Salads; Entrees; and Baked Treats. The recipes are diverse: vegetable muffins, baked cauliflower patties, Thai chicken, Mediterranean beef stew, pasta bolognese, baba ganousch, stuffed grape leaves, tabbouleh salad, miso & chickpea soup, Moroccan soup with pita chips, etc. Some of the recipes call for whole chickpeas, some for blended, and others for flour. Note that a food processor is a must for a chunk of the book.

Each recipe is beautifully presented and easy to follow: a multicolor page with title, introduction, vegetarian and gluten Free icons (if applicable), ingredients (in italics to stand out), serving size, and preparation/cooking info in simple numbered form. It’s exactly what one wants to see in a recipe to make it easy to follow and use. Many, but not all, have a full page photograph afterwards.

What struck me most about the recipes is the sheer depth. There were only a couple items (e.g., hummus) that I was fairly familiar with; most were quite new dishes that look to be fun to explore as I go through the recipes. But of note is that there are also a lot of ingredients that probably are not in the standard North American pantry. So they do require planning ahead and a bit of a search for the rarer items at specialty stores.

The recipes look solid and are easy to follow. Nothing feels experimental here or someone trying too hard to find a random use for chickpeas in order to fill out the book. A beautiful presentation also goes a long way toward making this a delightful cookbook to explore. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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