Sunday, March 29, 2015

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas with Harissa and Garlic

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas with Harissa and Garlic

If you're looking for a crunchy and crispy snack that won't set you back 8,000 calories in one sitting (boy can I relate), roasted chickpeas are the ticket! This is one of those super easy recipes I should have made years ago but kept putting off. 

What Motivated Me to Finally Make Roasted Chickpeas

Walking past tiny, overpriced bags of baked kale chips and roasted chickpeas at my local health food store. At some point in your real food journey, you may develop a lens that changes your grocery shopping perspective. 

You'll start off walking through your local store and grabbing for healthier convenience food options. Then some months, or even years later, you'll take one look at the ingredients list and think I can make this at home for much less.

Once you learn the basic techniques for making real food snacks at home, convenience will still win out from time to time, but it's nice to know how to make wholesome snacks when you want (and for less money)!

How to Make Roasted Chickpeas

Why Roasted Chickpeas Are So Awesome

You start with a boring, bland can (or batch if you're using homemade) of chickpeas (a.k.a garbanzo beans). Soft, flavorless beans, essentially. A bit of cooking oil, a generous sprinkling of your favorite seasonings, and 30-40 minutes in the oven transforms these chickpeas into a crispy snack that is just as crunchy as a potato chip. 

Pretty magical, eh? 

You can switch up the seasonings however you please. Sweet, salty, savory, spicy, tangy...whatever you can imagine. 

They're great eaten straight from the bowl (and very addicting, I might add) or as a topping on salads. They're also a terrific accompaniment to beer. Say goodbye to salted nuts!

Sidenote: See that mini colander in the picture above? It's full of chickpea skins. Once they're cooked, they come off easily, but it can take awhile to remove each one. You can leave them on or take them off. It's totally optional. Although, if you're anything like me and they start to accidentally come off when you're preparing the'll try to finish the job!

Roasted Chickpeas with Harissa and Garlic

What the Heck is Harissa Seasoning?

I'm going to be completely honest with you and admit that I only know about Harissa cause it's popular in the foodie circles right now. Apparently, it's the new sriracha sauce and even made it onto this list of food trend predictions for 2015. 

Harissa is a slightly spicy and aromatic paste popular in North African cuisine (specifically Tunisia) that is often mixed with oil or water to form a paste that you can rub on meats or veggies to give them a wonderful flavor. Of course, you can work it into so many other dishes for an extra kick.

The first time I had harissa seasoning was actually this January when I was in Disney World. We ate at a restaurant in the Morocco section of Epcot's World Showcase and one of the appetizers we ordered came with harissa ketchup for dipping. It was amazing!

Roasted Chickpeas with Harissa and Garlic

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas with Harissa and Garlic
Cooked chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) roasted in the oven with a little cooking oil and your favorite spices until they're crispy and crunchy just like a chip. These make an excellent snack or topping for your favorite salads!
Adapted from Crispy Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) by Steamy Kitchen

2 cans (24-30 ounces total) of cooked chickpeas
1 teaspoon of cooking oil (I used olive oil, but avocado oil or melted coconut oil would also work)

Seasonings (To Taste)
Sea salt (like THIS)
Cracked Black Pepper
Granulated garlic
Harissa seasoning*

*Seek out a pre-mixed harissa seasoning at your local market, or snag a bottle like this online. If you want to make it yourself (I'm not sure what the ratios are) my blend contained paprika, caraway, chili pepper, cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, garlic, peppermint, and sea salt. 

Recommended Equipment
large rimmed baking sheet
dish towels or paper towels
foil or parchment paper (optional - only if you want less clean-up)

Want more real food & gadget recommendations? Check out my shop page.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Drain and rinse the chickpeas in a colander, then lay them flat on a clean kitchen towel and thoroughly pat dry with a paper towel or another kitchen towel. Dump onto the baking sheet (put the foil or parchment paper on first if using -- I didn't) and measure cooking oil over the chickpeas. Use your hands to spread the oil across all the chickpeas, then season everything liberally with your favorite seasonings. This batch had sea salt, cracked black pepper, granulated garlic, and harissa seasoning. 

Spread the chickpeas out in an even flat layer on the baking sheet, then pop into the oven for 40 minutes, or until the chickpeas are golden on the outside and crunchy throughout. To prevent the chickpeas from burning and ensure they cook evenly, I recommend setting a timer so you can shake the pan every 10 minutes. It might be annoying to have to shake the pan 3-4 times while baking, but it's worth it and only takes a second. 

When the chickpeas are done, pull them out and let them cool completely. I found that they got even crispier as they sat. You can store at room temperature (cover with a tight lid to keep the air out) for a few days. I ate this batch within two days, so I'm not sure how long they'll last past that.

Notes & Tips
  • You can certainly experiment with the amount of cooking oil and types of spices used in this recipe. It's very flexible/adaptable, but you may have to keep a closer eye on them if you're using spices that burn easily.
  • After baking, the chickpeas were super crispy, but the spices were way less pronounced. I'm not sure if I didn't use enough, or if it would be better to add extra spices after baking for a more pronounced flavor. I didn't add extra oil at the end cause I thought it might make the chickpeas soggy. However, I may give this a try next time. If you try this, let me know!
  • If you have time, this would be even cheaper if you soaked & cooked your own chickpeas first using this method to prepare and cook dried beans 

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas with Harissa and Garlic

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I'd like to hear from YOU! 

What's your favorite way to incorporate cooked chickpeas into a dish? Have you ever tried harissa seasoning or paste before? 

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