Roasted Chickpeas

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These I discovered as an appetizer at an upscale bar and tapas place. Great crunchy savory salty things to whit your whistle for beer… or whatnot. The perfect fall snack! Simple, savory, and oh so scrumptious!

I had to try them at home, and since then they’ve become a favorite of mine for low-cost high-reward delicious savory snacks. Not only that but it’s a fantastically healthy source of protein, not to mention some vitamins and minerals. And, well, if you’re avoiding salt there are any number of delicious seasonings and herbs that would make them pretty darn tasty even without. But if that’s the case you have to be cautious about which cans you buy because most use salt when they go into the can.

Yum!

Step one:
Open a can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans. Or two if you like.
Preheat the oven to 400F, but it works great if you put it in early so long as you shake them periodically.

Step two:
Rinse the chickpeas off with water in a colander. Or if you are strained on time or energy go the quick and dirty method of leaving the lid part way on and rinsing vigorously several times while still in the can by filling the can then shaking it. Some people shuck them, that is, they take off the thick skin before baking. The skin has some vitamins and I don’t find I like the ones whose skin have fallen off any more than those with it still on, but that’s personal preference.

Step three:
Cover a rimmed baking pan with foil (for easy cleaning–not strictly necessary). You can use anything that can go in the oven that has a lip around the edge that won’t let them roll off.

Step four:
Dry the chickpeas. Somewhat with a clean towel, somewhat in the oven if you like. Then you have to take them out and shake them around or they will cook and dry out on top and remain slightly soft on the bottom. E.g. put in pan, roll with a paper towel to start to dry, put in the pre-heating oven, take out every ten minutes and shake the pan with an oven mitt to turn.

Drying them out after rinsing them but before adding oil ends up making them crunchy on the outside and soft in the center. A perfect combination! And foil on the lipped pan makes it a cinch to clean afterwards!

Step five:
Once dry all over and possibly a bit warm, douse lightly in oil (olive or safflower), then salt and season. It’s much better to add oil too late, just before taking them out, than too early before they dry. Let them shake and roll a little to cover them all. If it’s still not two warm I use a *clean* hand to roll them around the sheet till they are covered in oil. Other oils like peanut, safflower, coconut or vegetable can be delicious too. My current favorite is olive oil or safflower followed by a generous sprinkling of Tony’s creole seasoned salt, which you can probably find in your favorite grocery store.

When dry oil and season, then put back in the oven to get deliciously crunchy! I like olive or safflower with Tony’s seasoning, but many flavors can be quite scrumptious.

Step six:
Bake or roast at 400F till crunchy on the outside and slightly soft on the inside, or till they begin to turn a nice golden brown. I recommend tasting one every ten or twenty minutes after they start browning till you decide how you, personally, like them. 350-450F are all OK temperatures, just with different baking times. Say 25-60 minutes depending on your tastes for crunch. If you find it doesn’t get crunchy enough you may have added a little too much oil.

Taste every ten minutes after they start to brown till you figure out the perfect length of time for your oven and your taste buds! Careful: let them cool a little as they will be piping hot. They cook well at other temperatures, so if you want to throw them in while baking something else go for it!

Let them cool slightly then munch in front of a movie or share as an hors d’oeuvre and something to munch with your beer, er, root beer, er fizzy beverage of choice.

I can eat the whole can myself! Whoops, did I say that out loud… :] Better make two to share. Nom nom nom! Best while still hot!

More ideas for seasoning combinations:

Any seasoning salt (like Tony Chachere’s creole, mm!),
rosemary (possibly also chopped garlic?),
paprika, cumin, coriander, salt,
basil and pepper,
fresh oregano and salt,
chili powder (alone or with lime juice and fresh cilantro),
curry powder or garam masala and tomato paste or tomato juice (won’t be as crunchy perhaps),
tarragon, fennel, garlic, lemon, (honey?),
cumin, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg.

There are some who suggest sweet versions, but I once got adventurous and baked them coated in chocolate, and it turned out really not so good for us, so I’ve been hesitant to try again. But mixing honey and apple cider vinegar that you let caramelize shortly with various flavors seems… like something I might be trying out before too long. We’ll see!

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