Crisp-roasted spiced chickpeas

As you can tell from my recipes, I love chickpeas and I use them whenever I can, but up till recently I’d only used them in their soft, floury state. I´ve been missing out! A while ago I finally ventured making these attractive, spicy-looking crisp-roasted chickpeas you can see circulating on the Internet. They were meant as a topping for my couscous with maple-roasted squash, but when I took them out of the oven and they were munched up by my family right off the baking sheet before they reached the dinner bowls, I knew a new favourite snack was born.

roasted chickpeas

Roasting chickpeas completely transforms these little legumes. It crisps them up until they resemble crunchy nuts with a nice, chewy inside. You can flavour them to your liking using fresh herbs and dried spices. Prepared like this, they make an addictive, yet high-fibre and protein-rich snack, an attractive homemade nibble with drinks and a perfect topping for salads, soups and roasted veg. Plus, they´re really easy to prepare. What´s not to love?

roasted squash

Tinned chickpeas, a little oil for crispness, flavouring of choice and a hot oven and you´re ready to go. In the recipe below I´m coating the chickpeas with ras el hanout-spiced oil, which gives them a friendly, warm flavour. But you can get creative and use any spice or herb blend you like here: think fresh garlic, fresh rosemary, lemon zest or paprika, sumac, za´atar, cumin, coriander, turmeric or any other dried spice to your liking.

roasted chickpeas

For convenience, I coat the chickpeas in flavoured oil and briefly roast them on quite a high temperature. For some spices, though, there´s a risk they´ll burn and turn bitter. With the ras el hanout I didn´t have that problem, but if you experience this with your choice of flavouring, you can avoid this by simply roasting the chickpeas in unflavoured oil and rolling them into their spices when you take them out of the oven.

Prepared like below, they are best enjoyed straight from the oven. If you keep them longer than a a day, they´ll turn chewy, which can be nice in its own way and still makes them a good topping for, say, a packed couscous-with-roasted-veg lunch or a bring-along salad – just be sure to keep them apart to prevent them turning moist. If you want your chicks to keep longer as a snack, you can dry them out in the oven a bit longer after roasting – simply turn off the oven and leave them in for another 20-30 minutes and check every once in a while to make sure they don´t turn too dark. This way, they´ll crisp up on the inside as well and they´ll keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

Now, without further ado, let´s get baking!

roasted chickpeas

Crisp-roasted spiced chickpeas – fills 1 multi-person snack bowl, or serves 4 as a salad/soup/roasted veg topping

Ingredients

  • 1 400 g can chickpeas (drained weight 265 g)
  • 1½ tbsp. rapeseed oil
  • 1½ tsp. ras el hanout
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Alternatives: instead of the ras el hanout you can keep it simple and just use salt and pepper for flavouring, or you can get creative with your flavour combos: think fresh garlic, freshly chopped rosemary, lemon zest, cumin, coriander, turmeric, za´atar, (smoked) paprika, chilli flakes or any other dried spice to your liking.

Preparation

Heat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7.

Rinse the chickpeas under cold running water, drain and pat dry with a piece of kitchen paper. If you have time, leave them to air-dry for a while for extra crispness.

While patting them dry, you may notice some of the skins coming off. You can squeeze the chickpeas out of those thin skins quite easily with your fingers and I personally tend to do so. This is time-consuming, though, and those skins lend their own kind of crispness to the baked result, so depending on your preference, you can decide not to bother and simply pop them in the oven as they are.

Mix the ras el hanout with the oil, salt and pepper and stir to a paste. Toss the chickpeas with the spiced oil and spread them onto a lined baking sheet.

Roast the chickpeas for 15-20 minutes until crisp. Depending on your oven, they might take a bit longer. Simply taste them for doneness: you want them crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle; when in doubt, remember they´ll crisp up more once they cool down.

Enjoy on the same day, either straight from the oven or cooled down, sprinkled over salads or warm dishes, or on their own as a healthy snack or a nibble with drinks.

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