Saving the planet one chickpea snack at a time

Saving the planet one chickpea snack at a time. If you are a fan of salty and sweet snacks, chickpea snacks are a great alternative that will provide you with protein and fiber. They are also a sustainable food. 

Why are chickpea snacks so popular?

Chickpea snacks are popular for their nutritional properties and for the plant based feel good factor. They are also delicious when they are crispy roasted and flavored, much like peanuts. Even people who are not normally fans of the texture of cooked chickpeas can be converted by the toasted version. They are very easy to make too. 

What are chickpeas?

Chickpeas or Garbanzo beans are part of the legume family Fabaceae. This includes other beans like kidney beans and also peanuts (Harvard Chan School of Public Health). 

Chickpeas come in two types; 

  • Kabuli – a light coloured rounded bean that we are familiar with in the US and UK and 
  • Desi – the dark coloured type found on the Indian subcontinent and in the Middle East

Are chickpeas sustainable?

Chickpeas are relatively sustainable. They don’t require a lot of water to grow, they can be grown in arid soils and, like most legumes, they enrich the soil they are grown in (CHKP Foods). Around 90% of the world’s chickpeas are grown in India, so this food does need to be transported. In the United States, chickpeas are grown in California, Idaho, Washington and Montana. You can also grow your own chickpeas, according to Gardening Know How.

Chickpeas nutrition

Chickpeas are high protein carbohydrates with lots of fiber and vitamin B. Canned and drained chickpeas contain 66.7g of water for every 100g, 7.05g of protein, 2.77g of fat, 22.5g of carbohydrate and 6.4g of fiber (US Department of Agriculture FoodData Central). 

Canned chickpeas are super convenient and if you are eating a plant based diet, the aquafaba – the water in the can – can be used as an egg alternative. 

Chickpeas calories

One of the reasons that chickpea snacks are so popular right now is their low calorie count at 139kcal per 100g. Compare this to other high protein snack ingredients like almonds (579kcal) or cream cheese (350kcal). 

Making canned chickpeas into a snack is super easy. They can be baked, fried or blended into hummus paste and served as a dip. But be aware that every additional flavoring you add will add to the calorie count. For example, tahini has 570 kcal per 100g. And frying chickpeas in oil will add to your fat intake. 

So what’s the best way to cook and serve chickpea snacks?

Making falafels

Falafels are made up of ground chickpeas and spices. Mix a couple tablespoons of oil, drained and mashed chickpeas, onion, spices or herbs, seasoning and an egg to bind them. Shape the mix into balls. Then deep fry for a few minutes in oil. This will increase the calorie count to around 333 kcal per 100g of falafels and of course, the egg is not plant based.

If making falafels feels like a bit of a faff for a snack, try fried chickpeas as a snack instead.

Fried chickpeas snacks

Fried chickpea snacks are quick and easy. Simply season the drained chickpeas with your preferred condiment whether that is salt, pepper, lemon pepper, garlic powder, paprika or chili and fry them in olive oil in a shallow pan for 20 minutes until they are crispy. 

As we noted above, frying chickpea snacks will increase your daily fat content, so consider air frying if you have an air fryer.

Air fryer chickpea snacks 

Air fryer chickpea snacks are made in exactly the same way as fried chickpea snacks. Drain the can of chickpeas. Season them with salt & pepper and any other seasoning you like – chili, paprika, cayenne pepper, herbs, etc and toss with olive oil (optional). Spread in a single layer. Air fry the chickpeas for 10-15 minutes on 180 degrees centigrade or 350 degrees fahrenheit. I do them for ten minutes and then check them. Then choose whether to continue to cook them for the further five minutes. 

Baked chickpeas snacks

Baked chickpea snacks are made in the same way as air fryer chickpea snacks, they just take a little longer to bake. Season drained canned chickpeas, toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil, and layer them on aluminum foil or directly on a baking tray. Baked chickpea snacks take around 40-50 minutes at 180 degrees centigrade or 350 degrees fahrenheit. I regularly shuffle them on the tray and check them after 40 minutes. 

Homemade chickpea hummus recipe

Homemade chickpea hummus is really easy. Just add the drained chickpeas into a blender, add some flavoring – caramelized onion is my favorite – add 3-4 tablespoons per 15 oz / 400g can of chickpeas. You can add a clove of sauteed garlic sauteed in a tablespoon of olive oil. Or you can add 1-2 tablespoons of tahini. If you are weight watching, simply season and add 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice per can of chickpeas. Then blend until smooth. Serve with carrot crudite. 

Do you like chickpea snacks?

Do you and your family like a chickpea snack?  What’s the main reason you choose them?  

  • They are a sustainable food. 
  • They’re easy to prepare. 
  • They are plant based. 
  • They are high in protein and fiber.
  • They are low fat (so long as you don’t add oil). 

We love chickpea snacks. For all the reasons we have given above, we encourage you to give them a try and see if you enjoy them too.