Baked Chickpeas and Tasty Treats

So, I just tried this yesterday and I have to say, I’m quite excited about it.  Mainly because I have a bit of a weakness for salt and vinegar potato chips, and this really hits the spot without all the crap you find in chips…plus chickpeas have tons of good stuff in them and they fill you up AND they taste good, besides.  Radness on so many levels.

Now, most of you are probably already familiar with chickpeas in salads, hummus, curries, etc. I was intrigued by this recipe because it’s cheap and simple, and once you’ve made up a batch you have a quick finger food for snacking on the way to practice or in between meals, that gives you a quick protein shot and fills you up.

Here’s the recipe:

2 cans chickpeas, drained
3-4 c. white vinegar (I actually used a little white vinegar and a little cider vinegar, and just enough
to cover the chickpeas)
salt and pepper
olive oil

–Empty the drained chickpeas into a medium saucepan along with the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Bring this to a boil and let sit for 30 minutes.
–Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and preheat the oven to 425. Drain the chickpeas and spread them out over the baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. (I think you could also experiment with other spices or oils, and come up with some great taste combinations.)
–Bake them for 45 minutes, turning once about halfway through. When done, let them cool and refrigerate.

Let me talk a little about what you’ve now got here. Chickpeas are an excellent source of protein and fiber, which means you stay fuller longer. They have a low glycemic index, which means they stabilize your blood sugar and the carbohydrates are broken down and digested slowly, which gives you slow burning energy=more energy for longer. They also have tons of iron, which is important for menstruating women; plus, iron is an important part of hemoglobin which transports oxygen from your lungs to all of your cells (oxygen is good). Iron is also part of critical enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism.

Chickpeas also have tons of other smaller, trace minerals that are important for your daily health, such as molybdenum, folic acid, manganese and zinc. Not to mention some of the other great benefits: they reduce you levels of LDL (the bad cholesterol), help prevent diabetes because of their ability to stabilize your blood sugar, and may help reduce your risk of coronary heart disease. The other biggie here is that they contain phytochemicals called saponins, which are of particular importance to women because they help lower the risk of breast cancer and protect against osteoporosis. They also help minimize hot flashes in post-menopausal women.

Sounds like a win-win situation to me. I know I will be making up more batches of these tasty treats, and trying out some different spice ideas. I think things like cumin and turmeric might be good possibilities, or maybe a little soy sauce. [Turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory in and of itself; studies have shown that India’s population has one of the lowest rates of cancer and other inflammatory diseases, perhaps due to their frequent consumption of turmeric.]