Crunch Time

I love snacks, and Mr. Food It Yourself does, also. A while ago, actually a few years ago, I experimented with making crunchy chickpea snacks. The concept is simple- remove the water from cooked chickpeas to make them into a crispy snack food. Recently, Mr. Food It Yourself requested I make a batch. I had no reason to say no, as chickpeas are both inexpensive and healthy. It is easy enough to find recipes, here are just a few:

I looked over these recipes, and a bunch more. I also read the comments section. It seems that the three most important things about making crunchy chickpeas are making sure they are dry before you put them in the oven, moving the chickpeas around every 10 minutes or so during cooking, and roasting dry (add oil and seasonings after cooking). I did not know this last point. Evidently, oil can trap water, causing your chickpeas to loose crunch over a few days. Here is what went down.

While the oven pre-heated to 400F, I rinsed and drained 2, 15 oz cans of chick peas. I dried them well with a clean kitchen towel. Some recipes recommend leaving the beans to dry for a few hours before roasting. I did not do this, but if you have the space it might be worth trying. I spread the chickpeas in a single layer on a baking sheet with an edge. I shook them every 10 minutes.

After 35 minutes they were brown all over. A taste test yielded a very crunchy bean. I drizzled with a little olive oil and dusted lightly with fine salt. Fine salt is just regular salt pulverized to stick to snacks better. We make it for popcorn, but it works for these, too. A chickpea that I tasted to check seasoning was a little mushy. I put the baking sheet back in the hot oven, which was already turned off. I checked it about 20 minutes later.

So brown and crunchy! I think simple is the way to go with seasoning these snacks. It lets the delicate flavor of the chickpea shine.

YUM!

I mentioned above that these are a very affordable snack. My local grocery store chain regularly has their store-brand, low salt, canned beans which is what I used) on sale 10/$10, so this is $2.00 (US) worth of chick peas. Talk about a bargain!

I also mentioned that chickpeas are healthy. I could give you a whole lesson on the fiber, protein, vitamin and mineral content in legumes. I could tell you all about how eating more legumes can benefit your health. Thankfully, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has this amazing article, available free on PubMed. The article even has recipes in it. The TLDR: beans, peas, legumes, pulses, whatever you call them, are good for you and we should all try to replace some of the animal protein in our diets with plant protein. Why? Because the science says so.

I had not thought about these snacks in quite some time, and I am so glad that Mr. Food It Yourself brought them up. Is there a food or a meal that you forgot about for a while, then returned to an enjoyed? Or, did you realize your tastes had changed and you no longer liked that dish? Talk about it in the comments section.