Sunday, December 6, 2009

Endurance/Chickpea Nuts

I feel like I have been running a marathon for the past three months, this coming week is the last mile, definitely the most difficult one. I am not complaining though, because when it's over it will be winter break, which is going to bring a whole slew of exciting stuff (more to come on that). One week, three exams, home free; it's that simple. I am pretty fortunate because exams and studying don't take away from the fact that I need to eat, and since I am me, I also think that I should be eating well no matter how busy I am. However, given the time I spend in the library, a lot of eating is in snack form. Before I go any further, I should tell you that eating isn't allowed in the library, there are 'food guards' that walk around admonishing people for eating, so what I have going on here is pretty risky business. To avoid any confrontation, I try to make most of my snacks as sneakable as possible, like these chickpea 'nuts' which I can surreptitiously eat without getting caught (so far).

Today, however, I decided to play it safe and make these for my non-library study group. If I have learned anything in my university life, it's that study groups don't function without snacks. I don't know if its the physical act of chewing which helps people to focus, or that fact that food keeps people on their toes, but no matter what is is, snacks are a must. These treats always surprise people, because they are pretty simple but pack a lot of punch. Chickpeas are also packed with protein, are low fat, and they have a low glycemic index, which is what makes them so great for studying; a steady flow of energy rather than peaks and lulls is really key.

None of this would really matter if they didn't taste as good as they do, but there is a reason they're one of my favorite snacks. They are super crunchy and they develop a nutty and almost buttery flavor, believe it or not. I also love that they can be seasoned in millions of ways, which means that no matter how often I want to sneak them into the library, I can never get bored. Today it's zaa'tar and cayenne, other great options are cumin, lemon pepper, or herbes de provence. I really think almost anything goes with this recipe although I would probably stick to savory flavors. Serve these to guests, take them as a snack on the run, or just make them if you're in the mood to try something new. They're a simple way to add a touch of flavor to your day.

Chickpea Nuts

1 19oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and patted dry.
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (more or less depending how hot you like it)
1 heaping tbsp. zaa'tar
1 tsp. salt

1) Preheat the oven to just over 375 degrees.
2) Toss the chickpeas with the remaining ingredients and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet.
3) Bake 30-45 minutes,stirring occasionally, until crunchy. Keep an eye on them in the last 15 minutes so that they don't burn.
4) Let them cool down all the way. Eat them right away or store them in an airtight container for up to a week.


rhonda travis said...

I was very amused to find this recipe. I've been making a very similar snack (only using a fry pan and sometimes butter rather than olive oil) since my kids have been small. To encourage their enthusiasm for this yummy snack I named it "Better than Popcorn" and to this day, that's how it gets referred whenever someone's in the mood. We love it particularly with Montreal steak seasoning.