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Carb Solutions: A Better Breakfast Patty

Image of Chickpea ‘n Apple Breakfast Patties

Over half of the U.S. adult population, some 154 million, qualify as being overweight or obese. Another 29 million of us have Diabetes, many as a direct result of being overweight. Then there are the 23.9 million overweight children who are dutifully following the example of their XXL adult role models. Diabetes and these extra pounds cost this country billions annually in both medical and economic resources, not to mention the effect these weight-related maladies have on a person’s overall mental well-being and happiness. However, both diabetes and being overweight are very manageable, even preventable, with a few lifestyle tweaks. By maintaining a sensible diet in conjunction with some consistent exercise, no matter how minimal, we can all be in total control of our own weight. One easy way to start taking that control is to make decisions about the foods we eat based on the glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL).

Simply put, our bodies convert all foods into sugar calories that provide energy to the body via the bloodstream. The Glycemic Index assigns a score of 1 to 100 to all foods based on how speedy the body converts that food into sugar. Foods that break down slowly enable the body to assimilate these calories of energy more efficiently without overwhelming the body with more sugar than it can process. While this is especially important for people with diabetes who process sugars much slower than others, everyone can benefit from eating low glycemic scores. They also reduce appetite and encourage the metabolism to burn body fat. Conversely, a diet of foods high on the glycemic charts has been proven to actually increase appetite and impede effective fat oxidation.

  • The glycemic index of a food compares its effect on blood sugar level to that of pure glucose, which has a score of 100. White breads, which are made of processed white flour, are at the top of this scale, scoring a “perfect” 100 on the glycemic index. For perspective, a score of 55 or below denotes a low-glycemic-index food; 70 or above is considered very high. Serving size is not a consideration in arriving at a food’s Glycemic Index number.
  • The glycemic load, on the other hand, focuses on how many digestible carbohydrates (sugars) a food contains in a typical single serving, which is defined as approximately 3.5 ounces. For glycemic load, a score of 20 or more is high, while ten or less is low.
So, the good news is that breakfast patties, sausage links and bacon have no carbs at all, though a low glycemic score should not be one’s only dietary criteria. Unfortunately, the category is also extremely high in sodium, calories, saturated fat and cholesterol— all of which can increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. A number of studies have also found links (no pun) between processed meat products and various forms of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Not exactly the healthiest way to start one’s day.

Instead, try these sweet-savory chickpea patties infused with fresh juicy bits of apple seasoned with smoked paprika and fresh herbs. Chickpeas deliver more nutrients than any legume variety including black beans, white beans, lentils, dry peas, and even edamame! Plus, chickpeas contain high doses of zinc, which boosts the body’s immunity and fights inflammation. They are very low in calories yet packed with energy-producing protein (11 grams in one cup) and high in fiber (35 grams per cup), which helps digestion. This high fiber content makes for a very low glycemic load score as fiber slows the absorption of the chickpea’s carbs without spiking blood sugars. Now THAT’S the way to start one’s day!

Using Melissa’s convenient Peeled & Steamed Chickpeas will greatly decrease prep time for this dish. Of course, another option is to soak dried chickpeas for at least ten hours (overnight is best) then simmer on the stovetop for another two hours. Or, combine Melissa’s Peeled & Steamed version right out of the package with the rest of the ingredients into one bowl for a quick toss, then on to the food processor to finish off the patty mix, chill overnight, form patties and bake. While quick and easy to make, a little pre-planning is required to allow the overnight detour to the ‘frig. And it really does need that refrigerator time to set. I tried to make a few patties after just 2 hours of chill; it turned into a sticky mess. So, this is not a spontaneous recipe, but the overnight requirement can be compensated for in volume. Meaning, like their cholesterol-loaded cousins, these patties can be frozen. So, make a larger batch by doubling the measurements; once baked, some can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days and the rest can be frozen for later use. Just thaw and heat up for a minute or two in a microwave while the eggs are cooking, the coffee is brewing and those buttery celeriac hash browns are browning. Enjoy!

Chickpea ‘n Apple Breakfast Patties
Serves 6
Image of ingredients for chickpea and apple patties
2 packages Melissa’s Peeled & Steamed Chickpeas
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup chickpea flour
1 small yellow onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped fine
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 apple, peeled and shredded (a sweet variety like Gala or Honeycrisp™)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Image of ingredients in food processor
Place all the ingredients on the list down to the black pepper into a food processor, pulse until well-blended but still thick with texture. Do not purée.
Image of adding shredded apple to mixture in food processor
Add the shredded apple and pulse again until mixed. Transfer this mixture to a sealed container and chill overnight.
Image of shaped patties on baking sheet pan
Shape the chickpea mixture into patties. Brush tops and bottoms with olive oil. Place on sheet pan lined with parchment paper, bake 30 minutes at 400°F, flipping about halfway through.
Image of served patties
Serve individually with a fried egg on top and celery root hash browns on the side.
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