Crunchy Roast Chickpeas with Za’atar, good and good for you

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Roasted chickpeas in a blue bowl with a silver spoon.
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I know I’m far from alone in starting off the New Year with the ideals of eating well. That’s the kind of commitment that will contribute to making the year a happy one. I spent the better part of last year not feeling so hot, and altered eating habits were forced on me under protest.

But that did not nor has it ever really meant reducing my sugar intake by much. As you know from all sorts of posts, I love my sweets. I just do and no matter how much I want to be an agave-only, and sweets-on-special-occasions girl, I have not attempted to achieve that level of discipline, and I may never (it’s got to be hereditary; when I spoke with my mom in Florida about my upcoming visit, I said I’m going to make us cream puffs! She said: I was JUST thinking about cream puffs!).

Chickpeas drying on a paper towel.
Roasted chickpeas on a baking sheet.

But what I can do is keep finding good fixes, be they salty or sweet, for my afternoon hankerings. I’d like to blame the mid-day hungries on my relatively new life as a hermit-writer, but I had the afternoon crack attacks pretty much every day when I was working in Chicago. The idea that when you plan for the hankerings, you’ll eat much better, is finally getting through to me. When I haven’t planned, and I don’t have a great snack, or a handful of super good fruit, or a little bowl of vegetables sprinkled with salt to take my mind off of those orange slices (the jelly candy version of course, not actuals) that I bought in a hunger-driven grocery run, that’s when I get into trouble.

Seasonings to make roasted chickpeas.
Four blue bowls with different flavors of roasted chickpeas in each bowl.

I’ve been wondering about roasted chickpeas for a couple of years (sometimes it takes a while for my actions to catch up with my mind). I love chickpeas in my hummus recipe and chickpea feta salad, but I had yet to try them roasted until crunchy. I did try them one rainy Saturday afternoon when I lived in San Francisco, and they came out nothing short of mushy. I figured they’re much better in hummus or my falafel recipe, so I’d just leave it at that.

I was missing the key to a crunchy outcome: dry the chickpeas out thoroughly before roasting them. Then, once blasted in a hot oven, they become a seriously healthy conduit for just about any flavor combination you can dream up. You get the same hand-to-mouth pleasure that you would with a bowl of popcorn or chocolate-covered peanuts, the satisfaction of hearing your own mouth crunch (which means yummy things are happening), and depending on what you’ve put on your chickpeas, like za’atar, you might also get to lick your fingers. This can only lead to feeling pretty happy, like you’ve done something really good for yourself, because you have.

Two blue dishes with silver spoons.
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Crunchy Roast Chickpeas with Za’atar

This is healthy food at its very best. Chickpeas are packed with fiber, protein, and vitamins, knocking other coated crunchy snacks out of the ballpark. I’ve tried a few different flavor combinations to get the hang of it; try anything that sounds good to you, from garlic parmesan to simple sea salt. Be sure not to add the oil and coatings until after the chickpeas are roasted, so they’ll crunch up. Some toppings are great placed back in the oven after being stirred into the roasted chickpeas (like brown sugar and spices, to caramelize the sugar).
Prep: 1 hour
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups chickpeas, from dry or canned
  • 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons za'atar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
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Instructions 

  • Rinse the chickpeas and spread them on a paper towel to dry out for an hour or so.
  • Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a heavy-rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper and place chickpeas on the pan. Bake in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, stirring and rotating every 10m inutes. Taste a chickpea or two. If they are crunchy, they’re done. If not, keep going until they are.
  • Place hot chickpeas in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, za'atar, and salt.

Notes

Try these ideas too (all begin with a drizzle of olive oil over the hot chickpeas):
  • honey + cinnamon
  • smoked paprika + cayenne + salt
  • truffle salt (incredibly good)

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Maureen Abood
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
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5 Comments

  1. Sandra McCabe says:

    How do you store these chickpeas?

    1. Maureen Abood says:

      Sandra thanks for asking, the chickpeas should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

  2. john dory says:

    thegreenflyer

    Maureenn…..Thank you! I look forward to reading more from you.

    Regards,

    JD

  3. Holly Nakfoor Kohli says:

    Maureen – I came home from work today & made these with Za’atar….holy cow!! They are fantastic. It will be my new obsession. Looking forward to trying out different variations. Great job on this one, thanks for sharing!

  4. Diane Nassir (My maternal grandmother was an Abowd) says:

    Yummm!