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Roasted Chickpeas

Crunchy, roasted chickpeas make for tasty, arguably healthy, and relatively quick bar bites. With cooler weather just around the corner, it’s time to crank up the oven. To heat up the palate, warm spices like cumin, black pepper, and cayenne give roasted chickpeas a punch of flavor and a heat that brings pink to our cheeks (the cocktails help, too). If you want something with a little more complexity, season the roasted beans with garam masala or a spicy curry powder blend. Whatever you do, make sure their completely dry and dark brown. They should shatter when you bite them.

With nothing more than an inexpensive can of chickpeas (garbanzos), some olive oil and a little salt (all pantry staples), you can have this hearty snack prepped and toasting in 10 minutes. The oven does the rest of the work while you prep other dishes. Be sure to drain and pat the chickpeas dry between paper towels before tossing with oil and seasoning. The goal is to dehydrate them as much as possible as quickly as possible without burning them. Extra water slows that down.

Roasted chickpeas are a perfect snack whatever the libation. They’re equally at home with a glass of bubbly and a pint of beer. Their spices get an amplification boost from stiffer drinks like our favorite gin martini or a great rye Manhattan. In the highly unlikely event you have leftovers, they make great croutons on salad. Whatever the occasion, roasted chickpeas are a guaranteed crowd pleaser!

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Roasted Chickpeas

1 can chickpeas
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon garam masala (or other dried herbs of choice)
kosher salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Drain the can of chickpeas (discarded or save water for another use)and pat down the peas with a kitchen towel or paper towels until the peas are as dry as possible. Place the peas on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil over them and toss until coated. Put the sheet pan in the oven.

After 8 minutes remove the peas from the oven and place them into a medium sized bowl. Add the garam masala, kosher salt, and pepper, toss until coated. Put the peas back on the sheet pan and return to the oven for another 5-8 minutes or until dark and crispy.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before eating.

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Hummus Two Ways

Seasoned simply with salt, hummus really is the sort of thing we can all whip up at a moments notice since the pantry staples used are common and relatively inexpensive. Never mind that blending it up is a snap. And because the chickpeas, the primary ingredients of this dip, happen to be packed with fiber and protein and are naturally low in fat, hummus can be enjoyed as an everyday food, fit for foodies and fast-food junkies alike.

Our pantry is stocked with a mix of chickpeas (garbanzos) canned and dried, which we add to soups, pasta dishes, and veggie hashes. Puréed with tahini and garlic (fresh or roasted), chickpeas become thick, creamy hummus, perfect as a dip for toasted pita and raw veggies. The tahini adds richness in the form of sesame oil. The garlic, when raw, adds flavor and heat, depending on how much of it you use. And when the garlic is roasted the unami flavor is at it’s peak! Toasted cumin, while not traditional, lends an earthy depth of flavor to hummus, while the lemon juice brightens it.

You can imagine, given its texture and mild neutral flavor, that puréed chickpea mixes well with other flavors. Here, we’ve gone in a couple of different directions. In one batch, we added puréed butternut squash to the hummus and topped it all with sage-infused olive oil and toasted pumpkin seeds. In the second batch, we added roasted eggplant and freshly ground cumin seeds. Any type of roasted or cooked vegetable can be pureed and added to hummus. It’s a great way to sneak in some extra nutrition while adding a unique spin on a traditional middle eastern classic.

We’re already planning our next batch of hummus. Using roasted pureed beets which will add sweetness and dramatic color to the dip as well as an earthy, vegetal taste. It will be the perfect thing to contribute to a Labor day get together.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus

2 cups cooked chickpeas in water (canned ok, homemade preferred)
2 cups roasted butternut squash
5 cloves roasted garlic
1/2 cup tahini
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, freshly ground
4 tablespoons olive oil
8-10 sage leaves
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
salt & pepper

Drain the chickpeas, reserving the water. Add them to a food processor along with the squash, tahini, ground cumin, salt and pepper. Pulse a few times then process for a minute or two until a smoothish consistency, adding two tablespoons olive oil through the feeding tube during the process. If the hummus is too thick, add a little of the reserved bean water. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the other two tablespoons olive oil in a small sauce pan until hot. Add the sage leaves a few at a time, cooking until the leaves are fried, anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute or two, depending on the size of the sage leaves. Drain the leaves on a paper towel and set aside to cool. Allow oil to cool.

Once the leaves are cool, set aside a few of the nicest leaves for garnish and then crumble the rest into the hummus and pulse a few more times. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the hummus into a serving bowl and top with the reserved fried sage leaves and sage oil. Sprinkle on toasted pumpkin seeds.

Serve with toasted pita chips.

Roasted Eggplant Hummus

2 cups cooked chickpeas in water (canned ok, homemade preferred)
2 cups roasted eggplant
5 cloves roasted garlic
1/2 cup tahini
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, freshly ground
salt & pepper

Drain the chickpeas, reserving the water. Add them to a food processor along with the roasted eggplant, tahini, ground cumin, salt and pepper. Pulse a few times then process for a minute or two until a smoothish consistency, adding the olive oil through the feeding tube during the process. If the hummus is too thick, add a little of the reserved bean water. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl and top with a little more ground cumin, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Serve with toasted pita chips.