Think your kids won’t eat chickpeas? Try this simple recipe for a healthy lunchbox snack and prepare to be surprised

By Emily

With school starting up again, you might be like me and trying to think of some new, healthy things to put in your kids’ lunch boxes. This year my kids need packed lunches every day, so I’ve got to get my act together and add some new things to the mix so that they don’t get bored. I’ve decided that these crispy chickpeas are definitely going to be in the rotation.

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Though I used to buy something similar in the Latino grocery stores when living in Los Angeles, I only recently started making them myself.

I was really surprised to see how my kids immediately took to them. I put a bowl out in the dining room for them to try, and after one taste they started this procession around the table, chanting “chick! peas! chick! peas!” and circling around and around for another handful.  It’s strange how they like these so much but won’t eat chickpeas served in other ways. I think it must be because they are crispy and super flavorful, the type of thing you start to crave.

Try them out, even if your kids don’t usually like chickpeas, and I bet you will be surprised.  Leave us a comment about how they go over, and please feel free to post any other ideas for healthy lunchbox items – we would love to hear them!

Recipe: Crispy Chickpea Snacks

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These roasted chickpeas are an easy, affordable, high-fiber snack (with no sugar). You can adapt the seasonings to whatever your kids like, or make them with just the olive oil and a pinch of salt. My kids and I like the spices shown below – we use ancho chili powder and the amount of spice is fine even for my two year old.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), 15oz each
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or other oil of choice)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (you can adjust this based on how salty the chickpeas are to start with)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Drain the cans of chickpeas well, preferably using a strainer or colander.
  3. Spread them onto a baking sheet and dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
  4. Drizzle the chickpeas with the olive oil and sprinkle them with the spices, shaking and mixing to evenly coat them (or brush them with a basting brush).
  5. Roast in the oven for around 30-40 minutes, shaking occasionally, until crispy.
  6. Allow the chickpeas to cool completely before storing. They keep nicely in a paper bag for a day or two or in a glass container for up to a week, assuming they have been well-roasted and are dry. If you are unsure if they are dried out enough and safe to store at room temperature, keep them in the refrigerator and you can always re-toast them briefly in the oven if you like them extra crispy.

Note: we recommend this snack for older children as they could be a choking hazard.

Photo credit: Lori Lovoy-Goran

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