Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Snacks For a Rainy Weekend

By Lauren Rauh

It was the night before the hurricane was supposed to hit. By the time I made it to the grocery store that evening the shelves were pretty picked over. In the pre-hurricane panic, it at first seemed the masses were most worried about starving. But on closer inspection it wasn't clear the most practical things they wanted—canned beans, instant rice, the nonperishable staples—it was the junk food isles that boasted the long stretches of bare shelves. Perhaps everyone was less worried about starving and more worried about boredom…nothing like a bag of Cheetos to chase the cabin fever away! Now, I’m no health nut, but I usually find junk food much too salty and never filling enough to justify the price and purchase. No, I prefer to make my junk food; popcorn, candies, spiced nuts, by the bowl full for parties and movie nights. But the hurricane gave me ample time to think up some additional snacky snacks.

With all the canned beans stacked in my cabinets, I thought of the yummy, crunchy, spiced snacks that I ate by the handfuls in India during parties and holidays (I studied, worked, and traveled in India for two inconsecutive years, by the way). These snacks were always fried however, and I wondered if I could recreate the taste without all the messy hot oil. I’m sure I’m not the first to come up with this pleasing protein-packed snack, but I’m quite happy with the outcome. My roommate and I gobbled up the goodies during our Saturday night movie marathon to weather the storm.

1 lb. cooked chickpeas (about 4 cups or 2 cans worth)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cumin
Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If using canned beans drain and rinse them well.

Carefully and thoroughly dry the rinsed beans. If the fiber casings come off while drying you can discard them or leave them behind, they’ll get crispy in the oven.

Combine the oil and spices in a large bowl. Toss the beans in the bowl, making sure they are evenly coated. Spread the beans evenly on a baking sheet and bake the beans until they are crispy.

Stir the beans every 10 minutes or so for about 40 minutes. The beans should be crunchy all the way through, don’t worry about over baking them. Let the beans cool and snack away to your hearts delight!  These will keep for up to a month in an airtight container.

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