Chickpeas–the New Popcorn

I LOVE chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans).  I remember my first encounter with the legume almost three years ago.  I was taking the young girl for which I nanny-ed to her favorite restaurant “in the entire world!”—Souplantation.  As we made our way down the long, eye-pleasing salad bar, we stopped at the chickpeas.  She scooped about three huge mounds on her plate and I couldn’t help but look at this adorable 6 year-old with complete bewilderment (“She’s going to eat those??”)  I remember asking her what they were and she matter-of-factly said “Baby brains.”   Her answer made me laugh but as she inhaled the beans like they were M&Ms, i couldn’t help but steal one for myself to try.  I was hooked.

There are two main kinds of chickpeas, white and green, but white is what they sell in the cans in the bean aisle in the local supermarkets.  I understand that they can be off-putting to some—they have a skin on the outside of them, and if eaten raw out of the can (rinsed and drained, of course), their texture may make you wrinkle your nose.  But I have found a cure for you chickpea haters: Roasted Chickpeas.

Now, I’m sure roasted chickpeas have been around forever, but I’ve just discovered these delicious, crunchy snacks and have become quite addicted.  Next time you watch a movie with your S.O. (that’s significant other), or even better, by yourself (more roasted chickpeas for you!) consider popping handfuls of these in your mouth instead of popcorn.  Not only are they crunchy, salty, savory, and satisfying, they’re good for you too!  High in protein, fiber, and folate, roasted chickpeas are a snack you can keep popping in your mouth without feeling guilty afterwards!  Enjoy!

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Roasted Chickpeas

  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Garlic Salt to taste
  • Smoked Paprika (optional, but highly recommended!!)
  • Cooking Spray
  1. Set oven to 375° F
  2. Rinse and drain the beans.  Dry off with paper towels and set aside.
  3. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty foil  and spray lightly with the cooking spray.  Spread the beans on the sheet in a single layer.
  4. Drizzle the olive oil over the beans and season liberally with salt and pepper.  Add garlic salt (try to balance this with the salt.  If you like garlic salt, lay easy on the Sea Salt and vice versa).  Add smoked paprika (again, the amount is up to you.  I have a close bond with the spice so I like a lot on my foods.  It also turns the chickpeas a nice color after they’ve roasted!).  Toss the beans to evenly coat and then spread them back into a single layer.
  5. Stick the cookie sheet in the oven and back for about 40 minutes.  Make sure you set a timer for every 15 minutes and take the cookie sheet out and shake it so that the beans cook evenly.  The beans may take longer than 40 minutes or shorter, depending in your oven.  Just make sure to keep an eye on them (and test them too!  If after 40 minutes you try one and it’s still soft inside, time them for about 5 more minutes, then check again.)  The beans should be similar to soy nuts in consistency.
  6. When the beans are done, take them out of the oven and let them cool slightly before digging in (we don’t want burnt fingers!)
  7. Eat, eat, eat

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