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Food & Recipes

Alton Brown’s Easy Trick for Getting Crispy Baked Chickpeas Is a Healthy Snack Game-Changer


Baked chickpeas are a delightfully healthy snack, but getting them just right in your oven can be a hassle. Trust me, I’ve tried every trick I could find to make sure my garbanzos actually crisped up, but always ended up disappointed by the mostly mushy results… Until now.

Just when I thought I should give up on making my crunchy chickpea dreams come true, I happened to stumble upon one of Alton Brown’s blog entries revealing his secret weapon: a salad spinner.

I knew getting canned garbanzos as dry as possible before roasting them was essential for achieving the perfect texture, but no matter how many paper towels I wasted or time I spent letting them sit out ever really got the job done. So, this tip definitely felt like a lightbulb moment!

After draining the liquid from a can of chickpeas, I poured them straight into my salad spinner, a simple hand-crank contraption from IKEA ($4.99, IKEA). I gave the legumes a few rounds and watched as more of the liquid still clinging to the beans was quickly whipped away. I drained the spinner and then gave my chickpeas a few more rounds in the spinner just to make sure they were as dry as they could be.

I also went ahead and wiped them down with a paper towel, but hardly noticed much liquid lingering around. And then it was time to bake! I laid the chickpeas out on my sheet pan and sprinkled a little salt over them, popped that into my pre-heated oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit, and then let them roast away for 20 minutes.

Here’s how the baked chickpeas looked when I took them back out of the oven:

Crispy baked chickpeas

Even just visually, I could tell these were far superior to any of my previous attempts. When they were cool enough to taste, the crispy texture of chickpea goodness was confirmed! I can’t wait to experiment with different spices and flavors on my next batch, like garlic powder or adding some heat with cayenne.

I tossed mine on pasta, which I highly recommend for a fun crunchy layer on top of the creamy sauce and al dente noodles. But these baked chickpeas can also work great as a crouton replacement in salads or as a snack all on their own!

In hindsight, I should have known to check if Brown had any tips up his sleeve for this culinary frustration in the first place. His techniques for things like cooking pasta quicker or taking the bite of out bitter coffee are already staples in my kitchen, after all.

Give your chickpeas a spin before roasting and I’m sure you’ll be just as happy with your crispy snack, too!

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