Protein Powerhouse: Crispy Chickpeas

Things have been a little crazy around here lately.  I am in the middle of a work-17-out-of-19-days stretch, which includes 3 different jobs, one of which is full-time.  We also have a new member of the family at my house, my roommate's new, 8 week old puppy, Rex.  If I thought summer was flying by before, it sure is now.

In the midst of preparing the house for my friend, Mary to stay with us this week while she is in her last week of her dietetic internship (hooray!), I found some time to make these crispy chickpeas.  I had made some delicious pancakes for breakfast (my FAVORITE) but neglected to make an egg or some other protein so I ended up ravenous barely two hours later.  I always have a few cans of black beans and garbanzo beans on hand for just such an occasion, when protein is just what the stomach ordered.

I've made this recipe various ways in the past and they key is to PAT THE CHICKPEAS DRY.  If you don't, they just will not crisp up the same way.  I'm telling you now.  Don't forget this.  (Can you sense that perhaps I forgot to do this amongst puppy potty breaks this weekend?)

Like other beans, nuts or seeds, chickpeas are high in calories (about 730 per cup), which is why it is important to watch your serving size.  However, they are high in fiber and an excellent source of protein so you can feel good about snacking on a handful or adding them as salad toppers.

These things are addicting and some other equally delicious flavor variations include Lemon and Dill or Garlic and Parmesan (just add the Parmesan cheese close to the end of cooking time).  

Shake, shake, shake.
Take a break to let the newest roommate outside for a snack!

Crispy Chickpeas
Serves 6

2 cans chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
Non-stick cooking spray (I use olive oil blend)
2 tbsp. olive oil
½ tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
½ tbsp. Italian Seasoning or other dried herbs
½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Drain and rinse chickpeas.  Be sure to pat dry with a paper towel.  In a medium bowl, combine chickpeas, olive oil and seasonings.

Spray large cookie sheet with non-stick spray.  Spread chickpeas onto cookie sheet in single layer.

Cook for about 50-60 minutes. Every 20 minutes shake the pan gently to rotate chickpeas.  Let cool for about 1 hour to let chickpeas crisp up.  Enjoy within 1 day.

Nutrition Facts: 286 Calories, 9g Fat, 40g Carbohydrates, 13g Protein, 12g Fiber, 370mg Sodium, 584mg Potassium

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