Protein is what seems to separate dinner from not dinner—and one easy solution is pan-fried chickpeas. I’m of the opinion that, with a heavy enough sprinkling of crackling, salty, delicious garbanzos, you can turn almost anything into dinner, like a vibrant green, beet, and carrot salad (pictured). Tailor the seasonings to the flavor profile of the rest of the meal. For a crouton substitute, I like to use the garlic powder—but for snacking, I like to mix it up a little. The longer you cook these, the crispier they’ll be; you can turn the heat down to take them all the way without burning them, but my favorite way is to get them crisp on the outside without giving up the creamy tenderness of the inside.
- Heat the oil in a medium pan over medium heat until it is—wait for it—medium hot. Add the chickpeas in a single layer and salt them liberally. Leave them for a few minutes, unmolested by you and your spatula, so they can start to turn a bit golden on the bottom.
- Now start flipping and turning them every so often, shaking the pan around, until the chickpeas are as crisp and brown as they could be without burning. This will take 10-15 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Add a sprinkle of granulated garlic (or other seasonings), if you’re using it, then taste for salt and remove the chickpeas to a paper-towel-lined dish to cool a bit before snacking (you don’t want to burn your fingers!) or adding them to a salad (you don’t want to wilt the lettuce!).
Recipe by Catherine Newman
Catherine Newman blogs about cooking and kids at Ben and Birdy. She’s the author of the books Catastrophic Happiness and Waiting for Birdy, and she edits the award-winning nonprofit kids’ cooking magazine ChopChop.