Santa Monica Farmer’s Market is a place for constant learning and inspiration.
There is so much produce from different cultures – peppers from Mexico, tomatoes from Japan, fruits from Chile – all cultivated locally.
I tend to learn more in this particular market than I do in the French markets about new foods. Like these garbanzo beans – fresh, green and sold in thick bunches. I had never seen fresh garbanzo beans before. And the way they taste – right out of the pod – so wonderful, crunchy and fresh.
I always loved Garbanzo beans – in soups, stews, salads -they are a great source of protein, DHA Omega 3, folate, fiber, calcium, iron, manganese and vitamin C. They can be roasted, stewed, fried, and when you get them fresh, you can eat them raw.
It is sold in bunches, still on the vines. You have to spend time picking them off, then peeling off the hard shell that is reminiscent of soybeans. It is a nice project to do together with your child – taking off the pods from the vines, carefully unwrapping the beans from the shell, then adding them to whatever dish you are making for lunch or dinner. Our first test dish was a simple heirloom tomato salad with olive oil and sea salt.
After rinsing the beans, we simply sprinkled them on top of the tomatoes and ate them raw. Fresh beans are sometimes difficult to find, and the season was apparently short. But now – as the farmer proudly told me – they will be able to provide them all year long since they found a new way to cultivate them. I made a mental note that they would be great for lunch boxes and snacks.
Magnus was so proud of ‘his’ beans, that he kept insisting that we include them in everything we ate that day – in the rice, in the salads, and in the sauteed shrimp dish for dinner. The beans were crunchy and crispy raw, and tender after a bit of cooking. We all decided we preferred them raw, and headed back to the beach.