Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Snack Attack: Spicy Baked Chickpeas!

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In honor of full-disclosure, I should tell you a few things...

1) No matter how health-conscious I become, I will never say 'no' to a good snack.
2) If I ever have the pleasure of being invited to your home, I WILL (no doubt about it) sneak a peek inside your pantry to assess your 'snack factor'. 
3) If your snacks are savory, kiss them goodbye.
4) If they are sweet, breathe a sigh of relief. You're in the clear.
5) I consider a person's 'snack factor' very important when choosing a mate... and you should too!

It's pretty clear I love to snack. I can barely get through the hugs and hello's when I go home to see my parents without making a beeline for the pantry to see what's up. It's shameful but true (right, mom?). So since February is all about the   L-O-V-E and snacks are my one true culinary love, why not spend the month featuring my favorite healthy treats?

Last week, I went back for more of Ella Nemcova's 'Cleanse Cooking Class' at Freshmade NYC. We started things off with her recipe for Spicy Baked Chickpeas. This snack is reminiscent of munching on a handful of your favorite nuts, without the high fat content! Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are a great source of protein. Just 1 cup provides you with 30% of your daily requirement! In addition to protein, chickpeas are packed with fiber, antioxidants, potassium (for heart and kidney health) and thiamin (for brain health and mood regulation). Could this snack be any more impressive?!?

The onset of Blizzard Nemo last weekend left me with all the time in the world to try making them on my own. Did I forget to mention that they're SUPER EASY too?

Here's the play-by-play...

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and arrange a rack in the middle of the oven. You'll need 2 cans of chickpeas (again, chickpeas, garbanzo beans... same thing) and extra-virgin olive oil (try to use the good stuff)!
Drain and rinse your chickpeas well. Then pat them dry with a paper towel or clean dishrag and throw them in a large mixing bowl.
Add 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil.
Sprinkle with 1 tsp. ground cumin, 1 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper and 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Mix well to evenly coat.
Place the chickpeas in an even layer on an ungreased baking sheet...
...and bake 30-40 minutes until crisp. Just watch carefully at the end so they don't burn!
Look at that beautiful snack! This basic recipe has endless possibilities! Next time I'm making a sweet version!
Snack away, my friends! There's no shame in THIS snack!

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