I snack on nuts daily. I love all kinds of nuts. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pine nuts, pecans, cashews (especially cashews!), but I have been looking for a nut alternative for quite some time. Due to allergy restrictions, many schools are becoming nut-free and, as a future teacher, I may have to give up my daily nut intake come next fall.
Allow me to introduce you to a super crunchy nut substitute that you will become absolutely addicted to as soon as you try it. Roasted chickpeas. Sounds odd, I know. But, trust me, they are SO good. Chickpeas are mild in flavor so you can make them savory, sweet, spicy, salty, whatever suits your tastes! When roasted, they get super crunchy and lose any sort of bean-like taste. They are also gluten-free and a healthy, high-fiber alternative to nuts. Not that nuts aren’t healthy, but I have a slight (read: major) problem with portion control, especially when something is tasty. I could easily eat cups and cups of nuts if I am not paying attention.
The recipe below calls for raw coconut oil. I’ll admit, a jar of this stuff is a little on the pricey side, but it seems to last forever. I have had my jar for a few months and I have only used about a quarter of it.
The coconut oil adds a subtle nutty flavor to the chickpeas and it is worth the investment, in my opinion. Raw coconut oil can also be used in a stir-fry as a substitute for olive or vegetable oil or as a skin moisturizer. Seriously, just use a little of it like you would regular lotion and smell like you just got back from a tropical vacation all day long.
Maple and Coconut Roasted Chickpeas Spiked with Chili Powder
- 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons raw coconut oil, melted
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon chili powder or to taste
- Preheat oven to 375˚.
- Drain and rinse a 15-ounce can of chickpeas. Pat dry. Note: Some of the chickpeas may have a little “hood” that comes off when you rinse or dry them. Discard if this happens, but don’t become obsessive over it. You do not need to spend time going through every chickpea and removing the hood. They will roast up just fine with the hood on or off.
- In a glass bowl, melt coconut oil in the microwave. You can also place the bowl in the preheating oven for about 15 seconds. It melts quickly so don’t put it in the oven or microwave and walk away!
- Whisk in maple syrup, salt, and chili powder.
- Add chickpeas and toss to coat evenly. Toss, toss, toss. Keep tossing for 1-2 minutes to ensure each chickpea is liberally coated.
- Spread in an even layer onto a foil lined cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes at 375˚.