crispy roasted chickpeas
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Spicy crispy roasted chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, are nothing like dry roasted nuts though they may look similar. The dish of oven baked chickpeas with grilled peppers and chillies is a wholesome vegetarian lunch or dinner as chickpeas are an excellent source of protein and fibre.
Chickpeas are funny little things - they look nothing like peas to start with but more like little nuts. Shouldn't they be called chicknuts? I guess not because they have more in common with peas and beans after all, belonging to the legume family, than they have with nuts. They used to be the poster foodstuff of hippy, new age and vegetarian diet, and rightly so: they are a reasonable source of protein if you don't eat meat or eggs.
If you look up alternative, historical or other language version names, it’s really confusing: garbanzo (Spanish), Indian pea, ceci bean, Bengal gram (India), cicer (Latin), hummus (Hebrew), hamaz (Arabic), nohut (Turkish), shimbra (Ethiopia), pois chiche (French), grão de bico, gravanço, ervanço (Portuguese), mdengu (Swahili). Blimey. Not one of those words looks much like another. But from the list above you can see how widely they are known: the Mediterranean, Middle East, Africa and Indian subcontinent.
Think 'chickpeas' and you will most probably expect a recipe for hummus or falafel; a curry, a stew or a soup. Think again, however lovely dishes they are. My favourite chickpea dish is more like a gratin than a curry. I like to keep them whole and make them crispy rather than saucy. Tinned chickpeas are perfectly okay to use - unlike beans and possibly lentils, I could never discern any difference in taste between the dried, soaked and cooked and the tinned, drained and rinsed. Just make sure you buy organic chickpeas - that does make a difference.
Red peppers on the other hand are quite fun to grill and peel at home and lots better value. But if it’s too much, use the grilled peppers sold in jars, just make sure they’re not vinegary.
crispy roasted chickpeasServings: 2-4Time: about an hour and a half
- 2 tins of chickpeas
- 1 large red pepper
- 1 red chilli
- 100-150g cup mushrooms, sliced
- a few spring onions, chopped finely
- a chunk of blue cheese (optional)
- 1 tbsp. butter
- about 50g grated Parmesan
- a small bunch of coriander, finely chopped
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic granules
1. First prepare the pepper and chilli, put both, whole, under the grill and roast until well charred. Put them into a plastic bag for a few minutes – that will loosen the skin up and make it really easy to peel them. Peel, deseed and dice them – chilli much finer than the pepper.
2. In a dry pan roast the sliced mushrooms until scorched. It’s not necessary to add fat – they’ll absorb more flavour later in the dish if roasted dry.
3. Drain the chickpeas and rinse them well. Butter a gratin dish, put the chickpeas in and add all the other ingredients save the Parmesan. Mix well, tuck in a few dots of butter and sprinkle with a third of the Parmesan.
4. Bake in the preheated oven (200C/400F/gas 6) for about 45 minutes, stirring and adding more Parmesan on top every 15 minutes. Serve with green salad.