Warm, spicy, salty - want to know more? I have a snack for you with all those attributes, the humble chickpea kicked up a few notches. If you like to nibble on something fun with friends over drinks, or you wish to add some texture to a pureed soup, this one is for you. Roasted chickpeas work well as a salad component also, perhaps a visual and crunch enhancement to a middle eastern mix of chopped tomatoes, cuces and peppers, doused in a lemon juice/olive oil/ garlic infusion. Or, I can visualize these crunchy, toasty little nuggets sprinkled randomly throughout a Tunisian carrot salad, seductively scented with cumin and cinnamon and speckled with fresh chopped cilantro.
Start with a 15-ounce can of chickpeas and drain them well. Pat them dry with a paper towel. Put these chickpeas in a bowl and toss with a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, finely chopped fresh rosemary and a solid sprinkling of the Moroccan spice ras al hanout (you could substitute curry powder if you like). Feel free to include a large pinch of cayenne pepper for a friendly hit of heat. Place seasoned garbanzos in a single layer onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in a 400 F oven, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, until hot, browned and crisp. Serve with cold beer or cocktails. A silky pureed lentil soup garnished with a few of these babies will elevate your game.
Roasted chickpeas can be prepared a few hours before a party or a meal and reheated for 5 minutes at 400 F. With fibre, crunch, salt, spice and a comforting warmth, they will become a seductive quick and easy go-to snack.
There is no reason why you couldn't prepare this dish in a skillet, frying the drained, dried chickpeas in olive oil or butter with the spices and flavours of your choosing. Flavour ideas: chopped garlic, orange zest, Mexican chile powder, fresh grated ginger, lime juice. Select your theme and fry the chickpeas over medium heat until golden and crisp.
Looking for more fun nibbles to indulge in over drinks?