Spice Roasted Chickpeas

Makes about 3 cups

Warning: these are addictive. These chickpeas have a perfectly crisp exterior, and if you crave salty, spicy snacks like I do, you will love them. They are reminiscent of the Crispy Ceci from Vancouver restaurant, Campagnolo. The Ceci is an appetizer that features fried chickpeas with chilies, citrus, and mint – it is arguably the most popular dish at Campagnolo, and dare I say one of the most talked about in the city’s restaurant scene as a whole.

Make no mistake, I have no problem with fried chickpeas, but I bake these at home. That said, achieving the right level of crispiness becomes a bit more of a challenge without the aid of hot oil. I’ve made many batches of these over the past few years, with varied success and I’m now happy to report that I have been having consistent results with this recipe and method.  There are a few key things that I believe contribute to this:

  •  Removing excess moisture. To do this, actually take the time to dry the chickpeas, per instructions below;
  • Using canned chickpeas, instead of freshly cooked;
  • Ensuring the chickpeas aren’t crowded on the roasting pan;
  • Baking at a higher temperature for shorter period of time, rather than low and slow; and
  • Roasting on a convection setting or, if you don’t have a convection oven, increase the oven temperature by 25°F. 

Needless to say, I have been making these a lot lately, and they seem to fit in just about anywhere: as a much healthier after work snack than Brett’s beloved kettle-cooked chips; tossed in salads for a bit of crunch and burst of flavour; or served to guests as an excellent accompaniment to cocktails or one of Vancouver’s many fabulous micro-brews. Most recently, I am particularly enjoying them after a good workout, as they are the ideal recovery snack with their balanced offering of carbohydrate and protein, along with the salt and spice to help replenish electrolytes and lost fluids. I predict they will be making an appearance on many future hiking trips too. 

Give them a try and let me know, what’s your favourite way to enjoy them?

Ingredients

  • 2 14-oz cans quality chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp Mexican chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp powdered garlic
  • ½ tsp hot smoked paprika
  • sea salt to taste

Method

Pre-heat oven to 375°F convection roast, or 400°F if you do not have a convection setting.

Using a large sieve, drain chickpeas and rinse well with cold water. Shake off excess water and transfer chickpeas to a large, clean kitchen towel. Gently toss the chickpeas around the towel to remove excess water.

Place chickpeas in a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss gently with the spices and a little salt. Empty chickpeas onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and ensure they are in a single layer and the pan is not crowded.

Place pan in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, gently shaking the pan once or twice during the process.

The chickpeas are done when they appear dry and have a light crunch when you bite into them, but aren’t too hard. Remove from oven. While still hot, season with additional salt if necessary. Serve slightly warm, or completely cooled.

Note: if storing, ensure the chickpeas are completely cool, then place in a small tin to preserve their crispiness. They will keep for up to 3 days (if you can manage not to eat them before then). If you do find they have lost their crunch, toss them in the oven for 10 minutes.