While writing the first draft of my new book, The Low Cholesterol Cookbook and Action Plan (to be published in January 2018), I was reminded just how important fiber is to a cholesterol-lowering diet
Adults need to consume 5 to 10 grams (or more) of soluble fiber daily to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. As for total dietary fiber, adult women need 25 grams and adult men should consume 38 grams of total fiber per day (those over age 50 require less). Source: The Mayo Clinic’s article, Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet.
As I crafted a chart of fiber-rich foods to include in the book, I quickly realized that personally, I was lagging fiber-wise. A quick victory was needed and I found it, quite by accident, in chickpeas.
I had no idea that a mere 1/2 cup of chickpeas delivers 6.3 grams of dietary fiber—that’s nearly 25% of the daily dietary fiber needed to reduce cholesterol, in one easy snack. As raw chickpeas don’t appeal, I poked around the internet and discovered chickpeas can be roasted!
Melissa Clark’s Crunchy Roasted Za’atar Chickpeas New York Times article had an interesting recipe. But it was Emma Christensen’s How To Make Crispy Roasted Chickpeas in the Oven post on The Kitchn I found most helpful. Here are her key tips:
“First, dry the chickpeas as much as possible. I like to gently roll them between two clean dishtowels. Also, don’t skimp on the olive oil. You can use less, but your chickpeas will be less crispy. Lastly, wait to toss the chickpeas with any spices or seasonings until you pull them out of the oven, otherwise the spices have a tendency to burn and become bitter.”
Experimenting to come up with a cooking plan, I discovered convection baking at 400 degrees worked better / delivered crispier chickpeas than regular roasting. Based on user comments, I dispensed with the parchment paper. You can use my version of the recipe below as a starting point, then add either fresh herbs like Emma Christensen suggests, or my favorite—Penzey’s Balti Seasoning for an easy Indian flavor (click picture for Amazon link *)—or sprinkle liberally with your favorite herbs and spices.
Make a batch of Roasted Chickpeas to keep on hand for a few days as a delicious, high-fiber snack—or swap them for high-fat croutons in salads, grain bowls or even soups.
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 teaspoons Penzey's Balti Seasoning
Heat the oven to Convection Bake 400°F (or Bake at 425°F)
Rinse and drain the chickpeas: Open the cans of chickpeas and pour the chickpeas into a strainer in the sink. Rinse thoroughly under running water.
Dry the chickpeas: Pat the chickpeas very dry with a clean dishtowel or paper towels. Ideally, leave them to air-dry for a few hours. Or rub dry thoroughly, removing any chickpea skins that come off.
Toss the chickpeas with olive oil and salt: Spread the chickpeas out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Stir with your hands or a spatula to make sure the chickpeas are evenly coated.
Roast the chickpeas in the oven for 30-45 minutes, shaking the pan every 10 minutes. The chickpeas are done when golden and slightly darkened, dry and crispy on the outside, and soft in the middle.
Remove chickpeas to a bowl. Sprinkle the Balti Seasoning over the chickpeas and stir to coat evenly. Taste and add more seasoning if desired.
Serve while the chickpeas are still warm and crispy. They will gradually lose their crispiness as they cool but keep for a few days in an airtight container, becoming chewy rather than crispy but still delicious.
If you have time, the easiest way to get the rinsed chickpeas totally dry (key to crispy results) is time. Rinse the chickpeas and leave them to air dry for a few hours on dish- or paper towels.
I hope you give these a try for a great, fiber-rich salad add-in or snack. In my experience, they’re delicious with wine or beer!
* Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link that earns me a small commission, at no additional cost to you. That said, I only recommend products I personally use and love.