Healthy crunchy salty snacks: always an oxymoron, at least until these little protein-packed balls of crunch rolled onto my baking sheet and crisped up in my oven. Would you ever have thought that tossing a can of garbanzo beans onto a baking sheet would create an addictive Corn Nut-like snack? I wouldn’t have, so thank you Anna for enlightening me.
Oven-crisped chickpeas Words of encouragement received from family and friends were what kept me going during the last few weeks before the California bar exam. But those same words did not keep me awake while studying.
Crispy chickpeas, on the other hand, did their best to wake me up with a satisfying yet guilt-free crunch every time I was on the brink of nodding off. And on all three exam days, crispy chickpeas greeted me with a smile at the lunch break, promised to discuss anything but the content of the morning’s exam, and provided an energizing protein snack that kept me awake, focused, and full but food coma-free during the afternoon portion of the exam.
As you can probably tell, I’ve become a bit obsessed. But there’s no reason to be ashamed about this snack obsession. Chickpeas are high in fiber and protein, and keep me full – and energized – much longer than a bag of chips. Plus, if you use unsalted chickpeas and season them with your favorite spices, you really don’t need to add salt.
And chickpeas are so incredibly cheap. A 14-ounce can of unsalted chickpeas costs just 89 cents at my local Whole Foods, but they’ll cost a fraction of that if you’re willing to buy dried chickpeas and boil them on your own. Granted, having to cook the chickpeas yourself will take away from the 3-minute prep time that makes these puppies so easy to make, but you can choose the method based on whether time or money is your main concern.
Super cheap, packed with protein, full of fiber, delightfully crunchy, easy to make, and flavored with spices instead of massive amounts of salt … I predict that you will soon be just as obsessed with crispy chickpeas as I have been for the past month.
Crispy Chickpeas (adapted from Girl’s Gone Child)
These not only make a great crunchy savory snack but also would be an excellent substitute for croutons atop a salad.
2 c. chickpeas, unsalted (canned; or freshly cooked and cooled)
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt (less if using salted chickpeas)
1 tsp. spices (suggestions: cajun seasoning, chaat masala, garlic salt)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Drain and rinse cooked chickpeas with water. Pat completely dry. Toss chickpeas with olive oil and salt (if using). Spread seasoned chickpeas evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes, and then toss with remaining spices (don’t add spices at the beginning because they’ll burn).
Continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes until chickpeas are as crunchy as a dense chip or Corn Nuts. Remove from oven and test the texture of the biggest chickpea you see on the baking sheet. If it’s not crispy enough, toss the pan in for 5 more minutes. Once sufficiently crunchy, remove from oven, cool for 5 minutes, then munch away!
As long as you’ve crisped them sufficiently, crispy chickpeas will keep for 3 to 5 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature. (If you haven’t crisped them enough, they might start tasting stale after a day or two.)