Aren’t crispy, oven-roasted chickpeas just the best? They’re an awesome, versatile snack and party appetizer. They go great as toppings for soups, and as “croutons” for fresh salads. The chickpea’s mild, nutty flavor goes so well with a variety of seasonings, from deeply savory and salty to sweet.
I can eat these things like a big bowl of popcorn.
But. The one problem with oven-roasted chickpeas is keeping them crispy. They’re perfect out of the oven, but soon revert to the soft state in a matter of hours. After some experimentation, I’ve hit upon a roasting method that keeps the chickpeas crispy long enough to make them worth the effort, plus some storage tips.
The key to maintaining crispiness in oven-roasted chickpeas is to dry them out as much as possible without returning them to their super-hard dried bean state: the perfect chickpea snack has an outer layer that’s snappy and crispy (not dried-bean hard), but a tender, toothsome inside.
The challenge lies with the cooking oil, which binds the seasonings to the chickpea. A regular run through the oven will crisp up the chickpea, but the oil easily penetrates the surface, softening up the whole works before you can get your fill. Sadness ensues.
So without further ado, the secret:
Double-roast the chickpeas, and create the seasoning blend in the form of a paste that uses a small, small amount of oil.
The first roasting occurs at a low temp and dries out the surface of the chickpea without really cooking it further. The second roasting — bare, no oil — crisps them up perfectly. Then you toss the hot-hot-hot chickpeas with the seasoning paste and let them cool a bit to set.
And the verdict?
I did this experiment with canned chickpeas, because they’re very convenient and, honestly, I’m not always foresightful enough to cook up chickpeas in advance. The whole process with canned chickpeas takes about an hour and half, with an hour of it being hands-off oven time.
Without the use of a commercial desiccant packets, no chickpea is going to stay perfectly crisp indefinitely. But there is definitely a way to prolong the oven-roasted chickpea more than one day.
- Plastic bags: Oh my goodness no. In my test, my perfectly crispy chickpea lost their crunch merely an hour after being added to a plastic baggie, from which I squeezed out all the air. The next day, they weren’t soggy, but they weren’t crunchy-crisp either, and tasted mildly stale to boot. Just, no.
- Glass containers: This method fared surprisingly well. I added chickpeas to a small container with a tight fitting lid, leaving plenty of headroom in the jar. They tasted great for the entire first day, and lost only part of their crispiness overnight. No stale flavors.
- Room temp, out in the open: Clearly the winner. I placed the chickpeas in a bowl and laid a paper towel across the opening. If you use shelf-stable ingredients (i.e., don’t smear them butter or something), they should last a couple of days with no problem.
My completely unscientific conclusion is that air circulating around the chickpeas keeps the wet nature of the oil-paste in check. I didn’t make enough chickpeas to test filling a glass jar completely to the rim and sealing it tight. I would expect that they would come out similar to the plastic bag.
- 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) (15 ounces)
- 1 scant teaspoon olive or coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon powdered garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Preheat oven to 200°F.
- Dump the chickpeas into a strainer and rinse until the foaming stops and the water runs clear.
- Remove as many skins as possible by rubbing them with paper towels. (Skins can also be "pinched" off by squeezing a chickpea between forefinger and thumb.) Dry the chickpeas on a towel and transfer to a rimmed, parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Dry the chickpeas in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove and bump up the heat to 350°F. Let the chickpeas cool while the oven heats.
- Return to oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes. (If you think of it, give the pan a shake at 15 minutes to "turn" the chickpeas.)
- During the last 10 minutes of the second bake, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and heat until slightly shimmering. Add the seasonings to the oil and "smoosh" them into the oil using a small spatula to form a loose paste. You might be tempted to add more oil, but don't. As long as all of the spices incorporate into a paste, you've used plenty of oil.
- Remove the chickpeas from the oven at the 30 minute mark and immediately pour them into a medium mixing bowl. Add the seasoned paste, and stir until the chickpeas are completely coated with the seasonings. Return the chickpeas to the hot baking sheet and spread out in a loose single layer to cool.
Chickpeas are soft by nature, so keeping them crispy can be a challenge. The double-baked chickpeas will stay crispy for several hours at room temperature. Do not store in a plastic bag: they will immediately begin losing their crispiness. A glass jar with plenty of headroom works better. But, for maximum crispy staying-power, pour into a bowl and cover lightly with a paper towel. Keep at room temperature.