Meatless Monday: Chickpea Poppers!

Today for meatless Monday, we enter the world of snacktime (although if you’re like me, you’ll probably eat the whole batch in one sitting, making it somewhat of a meal).

I don’t remember which website I originally got this idea from, but crispy roasted chickpeas have been making the rounds on food blogs for some time now. They’re extremely versatile, delicious, and pretty healthy, too!

Besides eating them straight from the oven, they make a great salad topper (taking the place of croutons).

Here is the recipe for my favorite flavor:

Italian Style Chickpea Poppers

1 can of chickpeas
Garlic Powder
Crushed Red Pepper
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano Cheese (or parmesan, etc.)
~3Tbsp high-heat oil (I use avocado)

The amounts of the seasonings will vary based on your taste, but in my experience it’s most important to not skimp on the cheese.

To make your poppers, rinse and drain the chickpeas, then mix all ingredients well in a bowl. Feel free to sample while mixing to get the seasonings right.

Spread on a cookie sheet (you might want to line it with foil), and pop ‘em in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 45min. Then, raise temperature to 400 degrees Fahrneheit for 30min. Bump the oven up to “broil” (or as high as it goes) for the last minute or two to get them really crispy. It’s important to start out on low heat if you want them to be drier and crispier- if you set the heat too high it will make the outside crunchy but the inside will still be soft. I struggle with letting these cook long enough, but it really is worth it in the end. To quote one of my favorite professors in a laboratory manual, “Patience is a virtue, and it is time for us to be virtuous!”

The waiting game- this is the worst part about this recipe!

The waiting game- this is the worst part about this recipe!

Unfortunately, I haven’t had much luck storing these for any extended period. It hasn’t been a problem for me because I usually eat the whole batch on the day that I make them. I’ve stored them in a plastic bag overnight for use in a salad the next day, and they kept reasonably well but your mileage may vary.

Like a healthy potato chip- bet you can't eat just one!

Like a healthy potato chip- bet you can’t eat just one!

Feel free to experiment with your favorite seasonings- some other ideas include Cajun seasoning (I highly recommend Dinosaur BBQ’s Cajun Foreplay spice rub, if you can get your hands on it), salt and black pepper, buffalo, ranch- the possibilities are endless!

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