Chickpeas are like tiny powerhouses of goodness crammed into a little bean. They’re not just for hummus anymore. These legumes are pretty much rock stars in the world of healthy eating.
So, why are chickpeas good for you?
First off, chickpeas are packed with protein. You might think of protein as the stuff that helps you build muscle, and you’d be right. But it does a lot more than that. Protein helps repair tissues, keeps your immune system in tip-top shape, and is an essential part of the enzymes and hormones that keep your body running smoothly.
Chickpeas are also high in fiber. Fiber is like the broom that sweeps through your digestive system, keeping everything moving smoothly. It can help with digestion and prevent constipation. Plus, it makes you feel full, which can help with weight management.
Now, let’s talk about vitamins and minerals. Chickpeas are loaded with them. They’re like a treasure chest of nutrients. You’ll find things like folate, which is essential for cell division and the formation of DNA. Then there’s manganese, a mineral that plays a role in bone formation and blood clotting. And don’t forget about magnesium, which is important for muscle and nerve function. Chickpeas are like a one-stop shop for all these important nutrients.
Chickpeas are also low on the glycemic index. That’s a fancy way of saying they won’t cause your blood sugar to skyrocket. This is fantastic news for anyone trying to manage their blood sugar levels, especially if you’re dealing with diabetes. You won’t get that energy crash after eating chickpeas, so you’ll have more steady, sustained energy throughout the day.
Chickpeas are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are like the superheroes of the food world. They help fight off the bad guys, which in this case are free radicals that can damage your cells and DNA. This means chickpeas can potentially reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. They’re like little protectors for your body.
Chickpeas can help lower your cholesterol levels. They’re packed with soluble fiber, which can reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream. High levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with heart disease, so chickpeas are like your heart’s best friend.
They’re relatively low in calories but high in nutrients, so you can eat a decent amount without packing on the pounds. Plus, their combination of protein and fiber helps keep you feeling full and satisfied. No more raiding the snack cupboard an hour after a meal.
And let’s not forget the versatility of chickpeas. You can throw them in salads, soups, stews, or even roast them with some spices for a crispy snack. They’re like the chameleons of the food world, adapting to any flavor profile you want.
We love chickpeas in our house, and whilst I do make houmous occasionally, our new favourite way to eat them is roasted with paprika.
I tried this way of eating them, when we used the liquid that chickpeas come in, as an egg replacement for baking. That liquid is called aquafaba and it can be used for making meringues, and as an egg white replacement for other recipes too. You can buy it ready to use or you can drain the liquid from either cooking your own chickpeas or from canned chickpeas.
I wanted to make something with the chickpeas that wasn’t houmous and had seen various people sharing that you could roast them until they are crispy and crunchy, so decided to try that myself.
I used two cans of chickpeas, but you can make as much or as little as you want. The trick to this recipe is making sure your chickpeas are really dry, before you cook them, so they don’t boil in any of their own liquid and go soggy, and to make sure the pan you use is preheated.
I use smokey paprika and some harissa paste and good olive oil and sea salt for this. You can add dried chilli flakes for more heat, cumin, or any spices you like depending on your taste and preferences.
You will need:
- 400g of cooked chickpeas. Either boiled, and drained, or canned and already cooked.
- Two tbs of olive oil
- 1 tsp of harissa paste
- 1 tsp of good quality smoked paprika
- Sea salt, approx 1/2 tsp
How to crisp up your chickpeas
- Put a baking dish or tray into a pre heate oven at 200c and heat for 5/10 minutes
- Dry your chickpeas really thoroughly. I find spreading them on a tea towel and patting them dry with another tea towel, works
- Whilst you are doing this, put your olive oil into a bowl and add the harissa paste and mix it in well
- Once you are happy your chickpeas are dried, add them to the olive oil and harissa paste and sprinkle your paprika in, and give them a good mix again. Your chickpeas should be well coated in the mix
- Carefully remove your hot dish or tray from the oven and pour the chickpeas in and make sure they are spread evenly so they cook evenly.
- Place back in the oven and cook for 1 hour. You will need to check on them every 15 minutes and shake them so they are turning and crisping up all over.
- When they are cooked, they will be golden and cripy.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle the salt over them and then allow to cool.
You can them serve them on salads, with houmous, as a side dish or as a savoury snack. They keep for about a week or so in an airtight container, and are delicuous, crispy and moreish and because chickpeas are little powerhouses of goodness, they are a great addition to a healthy meal or for a healthy snack.
Would you try them? Let us know if you do…
If you have leftover liquid from your chickpeas, the aquafaba? Don’t throw it away. Try our lime and coconut cakes which are egg free and will help you use it up.