It’s Super Bowl (and Puppy Bowl) season again. And, right on cue, I’m craving a new kind of crunchy snack.
I first discovered crispy chickpeas at a holiday party this past December, and I’ve become just the eensiest bit obsessed with them. When chickpeas are roasted at high temperatures, they turn deep golden and so crisp they shatter between your teeth. They’re lighter than chips, yet meatier and more satisfying. And they’re fiendishly addictive, especially when tossed with a blend of smoky spices and eaten out of hand in front of the TV.
I’ve written before about easy-to-make crunchy snacks. This recipe falls squarely in that category. There’s a little bit of wait time involved–40 minutes or so–but almost no effort. It’s the same principle as roasting almost anything: crank up the oven, toss your victims with a little oil and some salt, spread them out on a baking sheet, and pop them in the oven until this:
…turns into this:
In fact, this batch I photographed came out a little underdone. Don’t be afraid to take it to a goldener, crispier place. You want these so dry they rattle as they move, without even the slightest hint of chalkiness in the middle. When in doubt, taste. Then taste some more.
When it comes to seasoning options, the sky’s just about the limit. I’ve experimented with different spice blends, and the recipe below includes my favorite: a smoky brick-red mix of chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne. I’ve seen recipes that suggest finishing with garam masala or curry powder, and recipes that suggest adding a little garlic or citrus zest to the roasting pan. I’m sure they’re all delicious.
In fact, I bet you could do nothing to these but toss with a little salt and pepper, and they’d be just fine.
Smoky Crispy Chickpeas (makes about 1 cup)
Inspired by The Kitchn
1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas OR 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
Salt to taste (I used this, which was nice)
Preheat the oven to 400º F. Drain and rinse chickpeas, and dry thoroughly on paper towels. Pat dry or use a salad spinner–you want these bone-dry. Remove any loose skins.
Toss chickpeas with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until chickpeas are golden and crunchy. Remove from oven and toss the hot chickpeas with the spices. Serve warm or at room temperature.