The perfect snack food for kids is equal parts super crunchy and salty, not too spicy, not too bland, bite-size, but also consumable by the fistful — all of which is why goldfish and their ilk are go-to snacks. Plus: there aren’t too many healthy snack ideas quite like them. But there’s one (healthier! homemade!) snack-time winner waiting in the wings: roasted chickpeas.
Health-wise, chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans) are loaded with fiber, zinc, folate, protein, and a host of other vital nutrients. There’s a reason why this legume is a staple in so many countries — in particular, throughout the Mediterranean and South Asia (India, Pakistan). Crunchy roasted chickpeas are good for vegans, vegetarians, the gluten-free, and omnivores alike. If you dry-roast them, they’re a pretty low-calorie, savory snack as well.
Taste-wise, chickpeas are a blank slate, kind of like potato chips. They give you the opportunity to play with different flavors to come up with various snack recipes. You can season them with plain sea salt and parmesan cheese, or spice them up with chili powder. The recipe below, for instance, includes smoked paprika (flavor, but no spice!) and garlic powder, but the possibilities are more or less endless. Buffalo chickpeas! Curried chickpeas! Shawarma chickpeas! Wherever it is your taste buds hail from — be it somewhere in Asia, Mexico, or the American South — there’s bound to be a roasted chickpea recipe that tastes like home. Even sweet tooths can get their due, with a cinnamon-and-sugar treatment, or even chocolate.
Practicality-wise, roasted chickpeas have a serious edge on almost anything that comes in a bag — no crumbs. And other than dry or canned chickpeas, chances are you have all the ingredients you need on hand already. So get roasting chickpeas. Your children will thank you—just as soon as they finish their new favorite after-school snack.
And you, dear parent, can also get in on the action. More adult flavors — truffle roasted chickpeas, anyone? — can transform a great snack into an almost sophisticated pairing for cocktail hour, or an interesting new texture in your go-to salad.
Chickpeas, they’re not just for hummus anymore.
Here’s a basic recipe for roasted chickpeas, adapted from How Sweet It Is. Adapt at will.
- 2 cups chickpeas (dried and cooked or two 15-oz. cans, skins removed)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (table salt is fine)
- 1/16 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/16 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 425º F
- Pat dry chickpeas with a paper towel. They should be completely dry (and be sure to remove any loose skins)
- Toss chickpeas with olive oil, add seasonings and toss again to coat
- Spread chickpeas out in a single layer on a baking sheet
- Bake for 15 minutes, toss well, then bake for another 15 minutes
- Let cool before serving. They can be eaten warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container.