I first came upon chickpea poppers, as I fondly like to call them, in a Canyon Ranch cookbook while searching out healthy snacks to serve at a party. Many many variations later, I have kept them in rotation for parties or solo dining. The lifespan of the little poppers is short, but they can be revived when thrown into the oven and re-heated for 5 minutes. What makes the poppers so great is that they are able to scratch that crunchy, salty, itch which creeps over you during cocktails. They can also serve as a salad flavor booster, standing in for calorically dense croutons.
I've played around with the spices as well as utilized canned versus dried chickpeas, and most variations seem to work. Dried chickpeas require a 12-hour advanced planning prep, which is not always conducive to impromptu cocktail guests or snack attacks. I've done Middle Eastern themed, where I've combined cumin, coriander, za'atar, and pimenton spices to evoke an earthy flavor-fullness. I've also made somewhat of an Indian spiced theme with curry, garlic, turmeric, and cayenne. Then there is the classic, which started it all, it is a mixture of oregano, garlic, onion, chili, and basil and finished with a hearty tossing of parm.
The popper recipe below is a variation of the Middle Eastern flavor focused snack. Lately I've been gravitating toward earthy cumin and coriander in order to evoke flavor-induced memories of travel and happy times. Feel free to play around with spices and herbs. The recipe below is a simple template for inspiration.
Middle Eastern Spiced Chickpea Poppers
- 1 15oz can sodium-free chickpeas
- 1 tbsp olive, avocado, or coconut oil
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp pimenton
- 1/2 tbsp za'atar
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400
Rinse and thoroughly dry the chickpeas.
In a bowl, whisk to combine the oil and spices. Toss the chickpeas in the bowl and coat.
Spread the chickpeas out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet covered in parchment. Roast for around an hour, tossing every 15 minutes until the poppers are browned and crunchy but still have a slight give.
Serve alongside your favorite cocktail or tossed in a salad.
Small and compact, these little nugs pack a mighty nutritious punch. Chickpeas are naturally fat-free, are complex carbohydrates, lean vegetable protein, and fiber rich. They possess folate which, in part, helps form healthy babies and supports cell function as well as provides cardiovascular protection.