Whether you call them chickpeas, ceci or garbanzos, these plump beans offer a lot of goodness in a package or can. One of the most common legumes in Mediterranean region, chickpeas are delicious and high in protein, vitamins and fiber and low in sugar and fat (not to mention price).
Chickpeas have a creamy texture and nutty flavor that matches well with heavy spices, bold herbs and tangy lemon. I always have a few cans of chickpeas in my pantry to jump start a quick meal. Their texture is softer than beans cooked from scratch, which makes them perfect for purées and dips. They're great tossed in a salad or dropped into a simmering soup, or quickly warmed in a little vinaigrette to serve alongside grilled meat, fish or poultry.
Instead of serving chips and dip, satisfy guests' salty-snack cravings with healthful roasted chickpeas:
Drain, rinse, and pat dry a 19-ounce can of chickpeas. Toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, a pinch of ground pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano, thyme, sage, cumin, smoked paprika or cinnamon. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake at 300 degrees, stirring occasionally, until browned and beginning to crisp, about 50 minutes. Serve at room temperature.
Carole Kotkin is manager of the Ocean Reef Club cooking school and co-author of “Mmmmiami: Tempting Tropical Tastes for Home Cooks Everywhere.”