So, I know it’s the new year and “everyone” (whoever they are) is watching what they eat and crowding the gyms. But, you still get that urge to snack, right? And you probably tell yourself things like, “Oh, I shouldn’t” or “I’ll feel so guilty if I eat this.” But then you decide you’ll have just a bit, so you reach into the bag of Cheezo-Salto-Addicto-Pops. And then somehow the bag is empty, and there no longer seems to be any point in watching what you eat or working out. And the next thing you know, you’re buying stretchy pants in a bigger size, putting a new recliner on the 48-month payment plan and the world as you know it crumbles into bits.
Oh dear, we invest so much guilt and angst and shame into the simple act of eating something.
If you want a snack, have a snack!
There are two ways you can approach this. The first is to give in to the siren call of addictively engineered food, but in a strategic way. Don’t keep “economy” bags in the cupboard or “family size” boxes of bars in the freezer. When you get a craving, walk to the corner store and buy the smallest bag of chips you can find or a single ice cream drumstick. Yes, just one. Then go home, get comfy in your cushy chair, turn on your favourite TV show, and really, truly enjoy that snack. Savour every salty, cheesy, sweet, rich and luscious bite. Then be proud that you avoided the pitfall of mindlessly chowing your way through 4,242 empty calories. Well done!
The second approach is to enjoy a real food snack. I don’t mean an apple or a strawberry-spinach smoothie. What I have in mind is something with that indulgent snacky quality that we crave sometimes. Something with some crunch, some zing, some sweetness, yet also some redeeming nutritive value without being all up in your face about it. Like these maple glazed kicky walnuts or maybe some roasted spicy, salty chickpeas. Yes, you can turn those little protein bombs into honest-to-goodness snack food, the kind of thing that you can pour into a bowl and nibble idly throughout the evening while you catch up on Orange is the New Black on Netflix (any guesses as to how I’ve been spending my time lately?). I think my curried version of roasted chickpeas would go well with a nice crisp beer, too. And at the end of the evening, if they happen to be all gone, oh well. No need for any guilt, if you’re inclined in that direction, unless of course you stole the can of chickpeas from the grocery store.
Roasted Curried Chickpeas
The spice level of these roasted chickpeas is mild, reflecting my own taste. If you like more of a break-out-in-a-sweat spiciness, feel free to dial up the chili powder to suit your tastes. It takes about 5 minutes to throw these together, and you can practice channel-surfing while they’re in the oven.
One of the wonderful things about a recipe like this is that you can create just about any flavour profile you can think of by varying the spices. I’m going to have fun playing around with this recipe.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 ℉ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You will need one or two clean tea towels, or good quality paper towels that won’t leave bits of paper on the chickpeas.
- 1 tsp olive or grapeseed oil
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder (this is not as hot as cayenne powder, so keep that in mind if substituting)
- 1 19-oz can chickpeas (I use a brand with no added salt)
- 1 to a few pinches of sea salt or kosher salt, depending on how salty you like your snack
In a large bowl, mix together the oil and spices.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then tip them onto a clean tea towel and put another towel on top (if the towel is large, put the chickpeas on half and fold the other over top). Gently dry the chickpeas, and pick off as many loose skins as possible.
Tumble the chickpeas into the bowl and stir with a spatula until well coated with the spice blend. Tip the dressed legumes onto the baking sheet, and use the spatula to get as much of the spice mixture onto the tray as possible. Roll the chickpeas around to get as much of the spice blend onto them as possible. Sprinkle with the salt.
Roast for 20 minutes, then stir the chickpeas around. Roast for another 10 minutes, or until the chickpeas are dark golden and crunchy. Set the tray on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!