A healthy vegan snack that’s tasty enough for meat lovers
With party season around the corner, it’s time to start searching for snacks and nibbles to serve. If you’re in the US, the first big holiday happens this Thursday: Thanksgiving.
So here’s a handy appetizer idea. These Spicy Roast Chickpeas (a/k/a garbanzo beans) make the perfect starter. Their zing helps stimulate appetites, but their low-fat profile keeps things light and healthy.
They’re also easy to make. Which leaves you more time to wrestle with that turkey.
Recipe: Spicy Roast Chickpeas
Chickpeas go by many names. Not just garbanzo beans, but ceci beans, channa, and a host of other monikers. Which seems fitting for a legume that packs so many nutrients—and so much flavor. It’s also one food that most people with dietary restrictions can eat.
This recipe requires cooked chickpeas. You can soak and cook dried ones if you want. Or you can just use canned, already-cooked chickpeas. For this recipe, I generally use the canned ones, which tend to be high quality and inexpensive.
This dish may remind you of our post on Spiced Party Nuts. As is the case with that recipe, exact spice quantities aren’t critical—change things up to suit your own taste. You can even omit some ingredients if they don’t appeal to you.
You’ll get best results if you rinse and drain the canned chickpeas, then let them dry for 3 hours or more before making this recipe (though if you’re pressed for time, you can skip the drying time and just roast the chickpeas a bit longer). Active prep time for this dish is about 5 minutes or so; roasting time is 30 to 40 minutes; and post-oven resting time is an hour or so (they’re ready to eat hot out of the oven, but their flavor improves if they sit and absorb the spices for a while).
This recipe yields 3+ cups of roast chickpeas. You can easily cut it in half. Or you can double this recipe—though you might have to use two baking sheets.
These roast chickpeas are best eaten soon after you make them. They will keep in an airtight container for a few days, or even up to a week, but they tend to lose their crispness. I guess you could freeze them, too. But trust me, leftovers won’t be a problem.
- 2 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder (can substitute another chile powder, or commercial chili powder; see Notes)
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or to taste; optional)
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt; optional)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or neutral oil (I generally use pure olive oil—i.e., the cheap stuff)
- Empty the cans of chickpeas into a strainer or colander and rinse off the packing liquid. Then spread the chickpeas out on paper towels to dry (I generally dry them on a rimmed baking sheet that’s lined with a couple layers of paper towels; this keeps the chickpeas from scattering everywhere). Allow the chickpeas to dry for at least 3 hours, or even overnight. (You can skip the drying if you’re in a real hurry, but you get better results if you do this.)
- When ready to roast the chickpeas, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Mix all the spices and salt in a small bowl.
- Add the oil to a large nonstick skillet and heat it on medium. When the oil is hot, add the mixed spices and stir well, then turn the stovetop heat down to low. Cook the spices for a minute, then add the chickpeas. Cook the mixture for another 2 or 3 minutes, stirring fairly frequently (I generally use a heat-proof silicone spatula, but a wooden spoon works just as well). You want to coat all of the chickpeas evenly with the spice mixture.
- While the spices and chickpeas are getting to know each other in the skillet, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (this makes cleanup a snap).
- When the chickpeas are ready (2 or 3 minutes—timing isn’t hugely important) take them off the stove and spread them out on the baking sheet in a single layer. Roast the chickpeas for 20 minutes.
- At the 20-minute mark, stir or shake the chickpeas to turn them over (so they cook more evenly). Continue cooking until the chickpeas are nicely browned and crispy—usually 30 to 40 minutes total time.
- When the chickpeas are done, remove them from the oven. Taste, and add a sprinkle more salt if necessary (it never is for me). Let the chickpeas cool for an hour, then serve or store in an airtight container.
- This dish has a fair amount of spiciness. It’s not overwhelming, but you’ll notice a bit of heat. If you want less spice, feel free to reduce the amount of cayenne and/or chipotle chile pepper—or even omit them altogether.
- I like to use chile (with an “e”) powder in this recipe. Chile powder contains dried ground chilies, with nothing else added.
- Chipotle chile powder has a nice smoky note, though some people find it too spicy. Ancho chile powder also has good flavor (and less heat), so it makes a great substitute. Many supermarkets carry both types of chile powder. If they don’t, just bug your grocery manager until they do (in my experience, grocers are pretty open to adding items if someone requests them).
- You can also make this recipe using chili (with an “i”) powder. Chili powder contains chile powder, along with flavorings such as salt, oregano, cumin, and coriander. Every supermarket carries chili powder—and most also carry chile powder these days. More about the difference between the two in our post on Chili Basics.
- When sautéing or roasting, I generally don’t use extra virgin olive oil because its volatile flavors dissipate easily in the heat. Instead, I use pure olive oil, which is much cheaper.
- The spices in this recipe will overwhelm the flavor of most oils in any case. So you can use something with a neutral flavor if you like. Canola oil would be a good choice.
- For this dish, almost any combination of spices that sounds good to you probably will be. So feel free to experiment. If you don’t like curry, for example, drop it and add more chile powder.
- I often change up spices in recipes like this one. For example, I sometimes add minced fresh rosemary or dried thyme (I don’t like dried rosemary, so I never use it).
- BTW, quantities need not be exact for either the spices or the chickpeas in this recipe. Just get in the ball park, and you’ll be fine.
Appetizers All Around
“Wowzer!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Are these good or what?”
“Um huh,” was all I could say, my mouth full of Spicy Roast Chickpeas.
“I like these even better than Spiced Party Nuts,” she added.
“Me too,” I said. “Love the texture. Though Homemade Chex Mix still might be my favorite snack.”
“But don't forget Candied Bacon," said Mrs K R. “And Pimento Cheese—I totally love that on crackers or party rye.”
“Or in a sandwich,” I said. “Though speaking of cheese snacks, it’s pretty hard to beat our Easy Cheese Straws.”
“Yep,” said Mrs K R. “We do have a solid repertoire of appetizers. So which ones should we make for Thanksgiving?”
“How about all of them?” I replied—true to form.
“That might be a bit much, even for us,” said Mrs K R.
“Yes,” I said. “But remember, leftovers are the best part of Thanksgiving.”
“Indeed they are,” said Mrs K R, scooping a handful of Spicy Roast Chickpeas. “I’ll eat to that!”
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Spiced Party Nuts
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