Now imagine half the pan gone... cause that's what this scene looked like after 15 minutes out of the oven. I'm telling you these roasted chickpeas are addictive.
That should really be my "is the 'healthy' version actually good test"... how much survives the cooling process. In this case, the roasted chickpeas scored high marks. They're also extra good warm, kinda like popcorn.
They're worth saving and storing though because these little guys are awesome on top of salads. They add a nice crunch, kinda like a crouton; if croutons had fiber and protein, plus nutrients like folate, phosphorous and zinc.... which just for the record, they don't.
A major upgrade from stale bread.
Have you noticed chickpeas work kinda like a blank canvas? They're the neutral base that can turn into pretty much anything.
Just look at the variety of hummus flavors out there: red pepper, basil pesto, spinach artichoke, beet....
Or, did you know, they can go sweet? Like this recipe for raw cookie dough. Yep, made out of chickpeas!
I've seen recipes for cookies, fudge, cakes, pies, you name it.... with chickpeas as the base.
Even plain, they're great for bulking up a salad, bowl of veggies, or a stew. They play well with just about anything. And they're super low maintenance too.
Like most beans and legumes, they're great to stock and store in the pantry whether in cans (just look for the non-BPA lining and no salt added) or dried.
Of course canned beans are about as convenient as it gets, so I like to always keep a couple on hand.
But if I'm on my game for the week and planning ahead, I feel like making them from dried is worth it.
Why cook them from dried, you ask?
It is a bit of a process because you need some time, but you really don't have to do all that much. And I say it's worth the little extra thought for a few reasons...
- They taste a lot better
- You can prepare them so they're easier to digest (more on that below)
- You can avoid the questions that come with cans (ie. BPA lining?, leaching aluminum?, salt added?)
- Did I mention they taste a lot better?
So, what I was saying about, a-hem, being more digestible...
There are a few things you can do to take the magic out of the fruit, if you know what I mean... One is soaking them overnight, or even for a couple of days, which helps to breakdown the sugars that our bodies have a hard time digesting.
The other is adding a piece of kombu seaweed to the soaking and/or cooking water. Kombu contains an enzyme that helps breakdown the hard to digest sugars. And it will infuse the water and chickpeas with more minerals. Add a small piece to soups, stews and stocks to add minerals and flavor in those dishes, too.
How to Prepare Dried Chickpeas (and other beans)...
- Measure out a cup or two (depending how much you want to make. Sometimes I'll make a double batch and freeze half) and pour dried beans into a large bowl.
- Comb through the chickpeas with your fingers and if you see any rocks or debris, remove them.
- Add water and drain and rinse a couple of times to wash them.
- Once washed, add water again to cover chickpeas with at least 2-3 inches of water.
- Set bowl aside and allow chickpeas to soak overnight, or longer - can soak 2-3 days.
- Optional: add a small piece of kombu seaweed.
- If water gets too low as the chickpeas absorb it, add more.
- Bonus points: change the water a couple of times. This will help to get rid of even more of the hard to digest sugars.
- When ready to cook, drain and rinse chickpeas.
- Pour chickpeas into a large pot and cover with 2-3 inches of water.
- Optional: add a small piece of kombu seaweed to the water.
- Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer at least 2 hours. Or cook in a slow cooker on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. The lower and slower the better to make easier to digest.
- When done, test chickpeas by trying to mash one with a fork. If tender and mashes easily, they're done.
- Drain and rinse.
- Chickpeas are ready to add to dishes, make hummus, etc.
- Store in an airtight container in fridge. Will keep 3-5 days.
Or, ya, you could just open up a can, too.
As always with canned beans look for "non-BPA lining" on the label and "no salt added."
In the canning process manufacturers use a lining to prevent the food from sticking. BPA is a chemical used in many plastics that's been linked to certain cancers. There are plenty of brands out there now that don't use BPA so it's easy to find.
And always drain and rinse them before using.
Either way you go, at this point you've got your perfectly primed blank canvas...
Now it's time to bring on the flavor and more...
The spices are the real stars here.
The chickpeas are just the delivery mechanism.
I heard someone say recently talking about the health benefits of spices that they are like the "chemotherapy of the plant kingdom." Basically, that all spices have such health protective benefits, at the cellular level, that a good rule of thumb for anyone, or anything, is to simply add more spice.
I mean, think about it, spices have been used for centuries to help preserve food and make it last longer. They do the same on the inside for us too!
Spices have also been shown to prevent the formation of harmful compounds that are the by product of high heat cooking, particularly AGEs when grilling. If you add spices to the meat, it reduces the amount that are created and protects your cells from damage.
All of these benefits are due to the natural anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory (all the "anti"s) benefits of spices.
It's amazing to think all of this, and that spices are simply plants! They've just been turned into powders and potions that look and seem a lot more complicated than they really are.
I used to be really intimidated by spices until I got more comfortable cooking.
Most recipes that use them give you a specific formula - like 1 tsp of this, 1/2 tsp of that...
Cooking isn't meant to be that exact or strict though.
It just feels that way when you're out of practice.
These crunchy spiced roasted chickpeas are a great way to experiment with flavors, see what you love, like, and don't. And start "playing" with your food a little bit.
You'll notice there's no exact science to this recipe or the spice variations you can try. So practice eyeballing it and getting to know your spices.
And enjoy all the flavor and fun they bring to the table!
Crunchy Spiced Roasted Chickpeas
- about 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
- avocado oil
- garam masala
- sea salt
- black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Place chickpeas in a container and drizzle with avocado oil and sprinkle on seasonings. Close the container and seal it tightly and shake to coat chickpeas in oil and seasoning.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread chickpeas out evenly.
- Bake at 425° for 30 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container for storage. Will keep for two weeks.
- Note: I don't measure out seasonings when I make these, I usually just sprinkle them on and put enough to cover them evenly. When using pepper spices (noted with a * below), sprinkle more lightly as you don't need as much and too much will be, well just too much. You can also change up the spices and seasonings as you like or try one of the variations below.
garlic + Italian seasoning + paprika*
cinnamon + turmeric + cayenne*
chili powder + coriander + cumin
cumin + paprika*
coriander + cayenne*
For a little sweet...
cinnamon + coconut sugar
If you give this recipe a try, come back and let us know how it turned out in the comments. We'd love to hear what you think and any insights, tips or other ideas for spice combos, too!
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Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps people take charge of their health and to start listening to themselves over the latest diet trend to optimize their own wellness, happiness and potential. Her family-friendly meal plans help parents take charge in the kitchen, too. This leads to more vegetables, less junk, and happier, healthier kids and parents. Megan shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.