The first time I tried roasted chickpeas, they were from a package (that I probably paid way too much for).
Much to my surprise, I couldn’t believe how delicious they were.
The level of crunch they had completely blew me away. And to top it all off, they were covered in a wonderful blend of spices that made me seriously question my love of potato chips.
I got the idea to try creating my own roasted chickpea recipe while FaceTiming with my mom over the weekend when she showed me a bowl of chickpeas she had tried roasting herself.
It seemed easy enough. And I couldn’t stop thinking about those delicious packaged chickpeas I gobbled up months ago.
The Quest for Something Salty, Crunchy, and Healthy
Sometime after lunch but before 5 p.m., I often find myself getting a serious craving for something salty and crunchy.
After spending a good few hours juicing my brain and stretching my creative limits for work, I waltz right over to the kitchen and start rummaging through the pantry for something that will give me the crisp satisfaction of biting down on something and feeling it cracking and crumbling into a billion perfect pieces in my mouth.
Now, this is a craving that usually can’t be satisfied by healthy options like carrot sticks, celery, or even a handful of mixed nuts.
No, this is something else. I know this because my despite my intentions to eat as healthy as I can, I often find myself reaching for a box of crackers or chips and have a hard time talking myself out of it.
And then I end up eating them straight out of the box, often with heaps of cream cheese, hummus, salsa, or some other kind of dippable substance. Not ideal.
I end up back at my desk, full of carbs and full of guilt, wishing I had had the willpower to stop myself and wondering if I might fall into the same trap again the next day.
What Salty and Crunchy Cravings Mean
A craving is an intense desired for a type of food with specific qualities. In this case, we’re talking salty and crunchy.
Cravings occur in the head, not the stomach.
In other words, you’re not really physically hungry when you’re craving foods that are salty and crunchy—you’re “head hungry,” which could mean a number of things.
It could point to a hormonal imbalance due to being deficient in one or multiple nutrients, but only your doctor will be able to tell you the specifics.
Sometimes, craving salty foods means that you’re dehydrated—a sodium deficiency. This could be caused by a number of things.
The most obvious would be that you’re not drinking enough water throughout the day, so you might want to try upping your water intake in the morning and afternoon hours to see if that helps curb your salt cravings in the afternoon hours.
If you drank alcohol the night before or had a salty breakfast or lunch, that could also explain your salt cravings.
Did you hit the gym this morning or go for a run? Intense exercise could’ve done it.
Salt is integral for balancing body fluids. When that balance gets thrown off—by consuming too much, by sweating it out, or by not drinking enough water—you might crave more.
Mental Stress and Fatigue
Now, crunchy cravings, on the other hand, could be a sign of mental or emotional stress—a common experience among office and desk workers.
Ever notice how those crunchy cravings hit in the afternoon or evening? You’ve been using your brain all day to make decisions, solve problems, and create stuff.
It can be both mentally and emotionally exhausting.
Mental willpower is highest at the beginning of the day and depletes as the day goes on—leading to what’s known in psychology as “decision fatigue.”
Decision fatigue is a term used to describe the decreasing quality of the decisions you’re able to make as you make more of then. Instead of making more decisions based on logic, your brain gets tired, and you start making more decisions based on emotion.
This is exactly why you’re drawn to relieve some of that psychological tension by munching on a bowl of pretzels or a bag of chips later on in the day. It’s a physical expression and release of everything that’s been going on in your head.
Reducing Cravings Should Be Your First Step
Now that you have some ideas about why you might be craving salty, crunchy snacks, your first plan of action should involve shifting some of your habits to reduce those cravings overall.
Since cravings reside in the head, they can’t really be cured with food—even if that food is healthy. Because let’s face it, you can still overeat on healthy foods!
So, let’s consider some simple ways to reduce dehydration and mental stress/fatigue so they don’t blow your craving totally out of proportion:
- Eat meals and snacks that are low in salt
- Drink more water (especially during/after consuming alcohol or exercising)
- Take frequent breaks at work throughout the day
- Physically leave your desk and move your body by stretching or going for a short walk
- Focus on completing one task at a time when you return to your desk
Now, I know that you can’t always maintain perfect lifestyle habits and that cravings will often pop up out of nowhere despite eating less salt, drinking more water, and taking more breaks. In these cases, healthy snacks can certainly help.
Let’s really nip those cravings in the bud for good with a healthy helping of roasted chickpeas.
Why Roasted Chickpeas Make the Perfect Afternoon Work Snack
Chickpeas (otherwise known as garbanzo beans) are a popular legume that are high in protein and fiber with a rich vitamin and mineral profile to boot.
One cup of chickpeas pack about 15 grams of protein and 12.5 grams of fiber. Both protein and fibre will help keep you feeling fuller for longer by slowing digestion and balancing blood sugar levels.
Compare that to your average serving of potato chips, which typically has very little protein and fiber content to it. That’s the kind of snack that can leave you with unsatisfied munchies even after polishing off the whole bag.
If you’re trying to lose weight, chickpeas might also be able to help.
Another study found that including one daily serving of beans, lentils, chickpeas or other pulls type helped people lose three-quarters of a pound more compared to people who did not consume a daily serving.
Even among people who were consuming the same amount of calories, those who were eating chickpeas or other pulses lost about half a pound more than those who weren’t—suggesting that a daily serving of pulses might aid in weight loss even when calories are not intentionally restricted.
How to Make Your Own Cheesy Roasted Chickpeas
There are all sorts spice blends you can add to roasted chickpeas, but I’m mostly a fan of the kind that creates a pleasantly cheesy flavour with hints of garlic, onion and war/pungent spices.
My preferred choice for striking that perfectly cheesy, corn chip-like flavour is by using nutritional yeast. This vegetarian and vegan-friendly deactivated yeast is sold in the form of yellow flakes, which you can find in the bulk foods section of many grocery stores or the supplement section of health food stores.
Besides being a wonderful plant-based substitute for parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast is best known for being high in vitamin B12. It’s also lower in calories and fat than real cheese at just 56 calories per two tablespoons.
Two tablespoons of nutritional yeast contains around 1 gram of fat, 6.5 grams of carbs, 7.5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.
Prepping the Chickpeas
The first thing you’ll want to do is set aside at least a couple of hours to make this recipe. It’s very simple, but the drying and roasting is the most time consuming.
I suggest planning to make a batch on the weekend or in the evening sometime after work.
You’ll need two cans of no salt or sodium reduced chickpeas in water. You might think that that’s a lot of chickpeas, but once you see how much they shrink during the roasting process, two cans will make a lot more sense.
Place a sieve in your sink, open the cans of chickpeas with a can opener, and pour the chickpeas into it.
Run the faucet to give them a good rinse, using your hands to swish them around.
Now take a paper towel and gently pat the chickpeas down while they’re still in the sieve to get rid of excess water.
Get two or three plates and place a paper towel down on each of them. Pour the chickpeas onto the plates so that they’re laid flat on the paper towel.
Pat the chickpeas with a paper towel one more time, trying to absorb as much water as you can. Be careful not to pat too hard and crush them.
You might notice that many of the skins have come off. Go through them and carefully collect any skins that have come off.
Now it’s time to wait. I recommend letting the chickpeas sit on the counter to dry for as long as an hour.
The longer they’re able to dry, the easier it will be to roast them. Now let’s get roasting!
Roasting the Chickpeas
I’ve seen recipes for roasted chickpeas saying to roast them anywhere from 375° to 425° Fahrenheit, so I decided to try the middle ground at 400°.
You don’t want to end up with soggy chickpeas, but you also don’t want to burn them.
Pour the chickpeas into a bowl and add two tablespoons of olive oil plus half a teaspoon of garlic salt. You can use regular table salt or sea salt instead—I just like that extra punch of garlic!
Gently stir the chickpeas until they’re all coated, then pour them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Depending on your oven and how dry the chickpeas are, you’ll need to roast them for 35 to 55 minutes. Check them every 10 minutes to stir them around and make sure they’re not starting to burn.
The chickpeas will shrink nearly half their size get darker in colour when they’re close to being done.
I highly recommend taste testing a chickpea yourself to see if it’s reached the desired crunch level yet. Even if they look like they could be done on the outside, they might still have a lot of moisture in the center.
Adding the Cheesy Flavouring and Spices to the Chickpeas
Now that your chickpeas are nicely roasted, it’s time to cheese them up!
Put the chickpeas into a large bowl immediately after taking them out of the oven and add a quarter cup of nutritional yeast, one teaspoon of garlic powder, one teaspoon of onion powder, and one teaspoon of paprika.
Gently stir the chickpeas around in the bowl with a spoon so that the nutritional yeast and spices adhere to them.
Let them cool for a few minutes and then store them in a glass or plastic container. No need to refrigerate these bad boys!
You can expect these cheesy roasted chickpeas can keep for as long as 3 to 7 days. They might lose a bit of their crunch over time, but with two cans per batch, you should be able to bring them to work as a snack for several days of the work week.
One cup of roasted, unsalted chickpeas with no oil or other ingredients is about 268 calories. I’d say that a half cup is plenty enough for a daily serving (that should last you most of the work week), so with all the extra ingredients included in this recipe, the total calories comes out to 210 calories per half-cup serving.
Finally, you can indulge in the salty, cheesy, CRUNCHY textures and flavours of a healthy, guilt-free snack—and actually feel fuller and satisfied for longer.
This might just be the solution you were looking for to help you resist walking over to the office vending machine or reaching into the kitchen pantry for that random bag of tortilla chips.
Believe me, I know how hard it is to stop yourself. But with a bit of planning, you can do it (and not have to suffer).
I hope you enjoyed this cheesy roasted chickpea recipe! Feel free to share it or pin it to your healthy eating Pinterest board.
Cheesy Roasted Chickpeas
- 2 cans No Salt Added Chickpeas (19 oz.)
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Salt or Sea Salt
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Paprika
- Pour the chickpeas into a sieve and rinse in the sink.
- Take a paper towel and gently pat the chickpeas down while they’re still in the sieve to get rid of excess water.
- Get two or three plates and place a paper towel down on each of them. Pour the chickpeas onto the plates so that they’re laid flat.
- Pat the chickpeas with a paper towel one more time, trying to absorb as much water as you can. Be careful not to pat too hard and crush them.
- Go through the chickpeas to remove any skins that fell off.
- Let the chickpeas sit on the counter for one hour to dry.
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Pour the chickpeas into a bowl and add two tablespoons of olive oil plus half a teaspoon of garlic salt (or sea salt if preferred).
- Gently stir the chickpeas until they’re all coated.
- Place the chickpeas onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- *Roast for 35 to 55 minutes. Check every 10 minutes to stir them around and make sure they’re not starting to burn.
- Put the chickpeas into a large bowl immediately and add a quarter cup of nutritional yeast, one teaspoon of garlic powder, one teaspoon of onion powder, and one teaspoon of paprika.
- Gently stir the chickpeas around in the bowl with a spoon to coat them.
- Let them cool for a few minutes and then store them in a glass or plastic container for 3 to 7 days.