Chickpeas are so versatile, aren’t they? I love their flavor, and especially their texture, which is perfect in soups, tossed over a simple green salad, or even as the base of a salad on their own. I thought I knew just about every way to prepare a chickpea until last week. I was trying to think of something snacky I could put out with cocktails for a little get together we had, and I didn’t want to rely on ordinary (read: boring) salted nuts. I remember seeing a recipe forever ago in a magazine for roasted chickpeas, which renders them golden brown and addictively crunchy.
You can prepare these in many, many different ways…tossing them with dried herbs, garlic, black pepper, soy sauce and sesame oil, or even Old Bay before roasting. I used my favorite smoked paprika, which gave them depth, and a warm, smoky flavor. I think they’d be perfect as part of a tapas spread.
If you look around for similar recipes, you’ll find varying times and temperatures for cooking; this is the method that worked for me. High heat to brown the chickpeas and give them a nutty flavor, and a low heat for drying out the excess moisture.
Smoky Roasted Chickpeas
Makes enough for a party of 10 or so
2 (14.5-ounce) cans chickpeas
2 to 3 teaspoons olive oil (enough to coat)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Preheat oven to 425°.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas, and place them on a few layers of paper towels or a non-terrycloth dishtowel. Rub the beans gently to dry them. If the skins come off, remove and discard them, but don’t worry about getting every single one.
Place the dry chickpeas in a bowl, and toss with the oil, paprika, and salt. Taste one, and adjust the seasonings. Spread the chickpeas out on a sheet pan, shaking pan gently to distribute evenly.
Roast chickpeas for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven, and stir. Lower oven temperature to 225°. Wait a few minutes for the oven to cool, then return pan to oven. Bake for 20 minutes longer, or until chickpeas are golden brown and very crunchy.
Try not to eat them all before your guests arrive. Store any leftovers (if there are any) in a ziploc bag for up to a week.