Herbed Chickpea Wraps with Grapes and Walnuts from the AICR

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The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) supports research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. Each week, the AICR also publishes a carefully prepared recipe for a dish designed to encourage healthier lifestyle choices among the public.

This week's dish is herbed chickpea wraps with grapes and walnuts.

These outside-of-the-box wraps feature four of AICR’s Foods That Fight Cancer: sweet grapes, protein-rich chickpeas, crunchy walnuts and high-in-fiber whole-wheat tortillas. Fresh basil, rosemary and thyme add aromatic flavors and promising health-promoting phytonutients.

A sweet and juicy surprise in these wraps is red grapes, which are a good source of resveratrol, a phytonutrient with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. Satiating plant-based protein comes from chickpeas and walnuts, which also are high in cancer-preventive fiber. Chickpeas, like other dry beans and peas, have other features qualifying them as a Food That Fights Cancer such as folate, resistant starch and antioxidant phytochemicals. By semi-smashing the chickpeas, their nutty flavor can mingle with the other ingredients, and they’ll stayed tucked in the wrap and not roll out.

Walnuts, known for being a good source of the plant form of omega-3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid, make these wraps wonderfully crunchy and their roasted savory flavor is a pleasing contrast to the grapes. Yogurt with its slightly tangy flavor and tart lime juice seal the wrap mixture with just the right amount of bite. Colorful spinach and tomato flavored tortillas are pretty tempting to use, but offer little real nutritional advantage. Whole-wheat tortillas are a better choice for their fiber benefit and satisfying flavor. Look for “whole wheat” as the first ingredient.

Researchers are discovering a plethora of phytonutients in herbs and studying how these compounds modify cellular processes that are linked to cancer. Basil with its sweet clove and anise bite, rosemary with its piney pungency and thyme with its mint-like piquancy brighten these wraps with an alluring aromatic depth.

The herbed mixture can be assembled in advance and refrigerated to let flavors meld. Wraps can be quickly rolled, secured with toothpicks and wrapped in wax paper or foil in the morning for packed lunches or picnics. To arrange a beautiful platter, slice wraps in half on an angle and stand cut halves against a row of grape clusters to feature the colorful filling. Garnish the perimeter of the platter with springs of fresh herbs. Herbs, grapes, chickpeas and walnuts – now, that’s a wrap!

Herbed Chickpea Wraps with Grapes and Walnuts

  • 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups seedless red grapes, halved*
  • ½ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped roasted walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 (8-inch) whole-wheat tortillas

Instructions

In large mixing bowl, add all ingredients, except tortillas, and gently combine. For more cohesive mixture, first gently mash chickpeas with potato masher just to break skins before adding remaining ingredients.

On bottom half of tortilla, spoon ½ cup mixture in broad line. Fold left and right sides toward center until almost touching. Fold bottom edge toward center. Roll wrap firmly upwards. Place toothpick 2-inches from each end. Slice wrap diagonally and place cut side up on plate or platter. Repeat. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate to serve later in day.

* To quickly cut grapes: Put whole grapes on dinner plate. Stack another dinner plate on top. With one hand gently press plate on grapes to hold in place and with other hand using serrated knife cut grapes in half.

Makes 8 servings (2 halves per serving).

Per serving: 367 calories, 10 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 58 g carbohydrate, 15 g protein, 10 g dietary fiber, 425 mg sodium.

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