Are you looking for a tasty, satisfying snack that will actually contribute to better health, instead of destroying your waistline?
But in those moments of obsession when you really need something with big taste and a devilish crunch – like an entire bag of potato chips, or two big handfuls of salty nuts – bland snacks are sadly inadequate.
Know what I’m talking about? Then let me introduce the unassuming chickpea.
A guilt-free alternative to junk food or pigging out on nuts covered in salt, these petite pulses can be seasoned and roasted to a sublime, crisp texture with outstanding flavor.
In fact, they’re so good, you’ll think you’re eating the finest processed, preservative-laden junk food – not a dietary giant!
Roasted and Seasoned To Perfection
Chickpea snacks can be made with dried garbanzos, provided you remember to soak them overnight.
But I recommend keeping a can or two on hand for a quick alternative – they crisp up just as well, and you don’t have to plan ahead.
To ensure you get the goodness of dried beans, look for organic varieties in BPA-free cans, as well as low-salt or no-salt options.
Read more about the difference between dried and canned beans, and learn which one will be best for your own cooking needs!
With virtually unlimited flavor combinations and all those spices on your shelf to experiment with, a good rule of thumb is to use one dominant seasoning, along with one or two additional complimentary seasonings.
Add a teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt to round out the recipe.
Here are a few different flavor combos:
- For savory fare with a bit of Italian flair, try mixing garlic salt, dried oregano flakes or dried basil (or both!), and finely grated Parmesan cheese.
- Try a combination of curry powder, smoked paprika, and cumin.
- For heat lovers, spice them up with wasabi, nori flakes, and black pepper.
Read my recipe below to learn what I use to make my personal favorite flavor combo: smoky and spicy garbanzos!
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Rinse and Dry Garbanzos
Drain and rinse the beans well in a colander under cold water. Lay them out on a clean, dry dishtowel or paper towel and pat dry.
You can also use a salad spinner to quickly spin away extra water!
Allow them to air dry for up to 30 minutes while the oven preheats to 425°F, and while you combine the seasonings (I’ll explain how in the next step).
And for those looking for a vegan egg white alternative, save the juice from the canned beans for amazing aquafaba!
Step 2 – Mash and Mix
Even with a double recipe, the quantities are still small enough to fit in a mortar.
Mash the chipotle pepper. Mix in the olive oil, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and sea salt.
Step 3 – Coat the Chickpeas
In a medium bowl, combine the beans and seasoning mix. Toss lightly together until well coated.
Step 4 – Spread Evenly
Spread the garbanzos evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, ensuring they have enough room to roast.
If they’re too crowded, they’ll steam in their own juices and never crisp.
Step 5 – Bake and Shake
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, shaking the pan to stir the beans every 10 minutes. Re-spread every time you shake for even roasting.
Watch the last 10 minutes of baking carefully, as they can quickly burn! The chickpeas should be thoroughly browned, not black and burnt.
At this time, remove one of the darker beans, and cut it open. The center will still look and feel a little soft.
Immediately turn off the oven, open the door slightly, and leave the pan inside as the oven cools for an additional 10 to 20 minutes – this creates a wonderful crispy crust and finishes drying the center, without the risk of charring.
After the first 10 minutes, remove one of the beans, and cut it open, just like before. The center should now be dry, and ready to eat! If it is still soft, leave the pan in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
Step 6 – Enjoy!
Roasted chickpea snacks can be served warm or cool.
If you have any leftovers (which is doubtful!), store them in a paper bag to retain their crunch – airtight containers will make them soggy.
The Last Bite
Sweet, savory, or blazing-hot spicy, these little nuggets taste so good you’ll be amazed that they’re actually good for you.
Even the kids will love them, especially if you serve them for your next movie night instead of popcorn!
For the best crunch, remember make sure your rinsed legumes are as dry as possible before mixing with the oil and seasonings, and give them plenty of room to roast. And if you double up a batch, use two baking sheets.
Satisfying and flavorful, you’ll love what the humble chickpea brings to the table!
Do you readers have any favorite flavor combos you’d like to share? Drop us a note in the comments below.
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Photos by Lorna Kring, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Lorna Kring
Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.