There’s an endless need for quick, tasty snacks you can put out for guests around the holidays. Savory ones are even better, because we’re typically confronted with a glut of sugar and we really crave something to balance all that sweetness.
Air fried chickpeas are my favorite go-to snack for just this very reason.
WHY AIR FRY CHICKPEAS?
I’ve found that the air fryer is a far superior device for making these nutty, popcorn-like nuggets.
The secret? The small surface area of the chickpeas, plus the compact nature of the air fryer basket and the constant circulation of hot air, equals air-fried chickpea perfection. Every aspect of every chickpea comes into contact with the air because they rest in a basket that allows for circulation. On a baking sheet, you don’t get that.
Sure, you could roast these chickpeas in the oven, and I’ve certainly done that and it’s delicious, but it takes quite a bit longer than air frying. And you don’t get that all over crispiness that the air fryer creates.
Air Fried Chickpeas are a Healthy Snack
Air fried chickpeas are also ready in a flash, are endlessly versatile, and taste really good. They happen to also be a healthy snack that may fill you up a little more than, say, pretzels, thanks to the protein and fiber in them.
A LAST-MINUTE PARTY SNACK
This is so easy that you can do it in a flash right before guests come, and the chickpeas will likely be gone just as fast. And it’s better to make this at the last-minute, too — these chickpeas aren’t something you can make ahead of time and reheat because they just don’t keep. They tend to get sort of soggy within an hour.
If for some reason you have leftover chickpeas, feel free to toss them into salads the next day—they’ll be a little more dense and chewy than their air fried counterparts the day before, but flavorful nonetheless.
DON’T DOUBLE THE RECIPE
I also wouldn’t advise doubling the recipe—you’ll mess with perfection.
Just make a second batch, and vary the seasonings if you like. I’ve offered a few suggestions here.
DRY The CHICKPEAS THOROUGHLY
When you rinse the chickpeas, feel free to send them through a salad spinner—just know you might end up with a few running out of the bottom, depending on the design of your spinner. (Mine has drainage holes that are larger than the spinner insert holes, but I digress…)
Doing this step removes excess water. Regardless of whether you use the spinner, spread the chickpeas out on a clean dish towel or several paper towels to absorb excess moisture. You want them to be as dry as possible so they will absorb the little bit of oil you’ll put on them and so that they get as crispy as possible in the air fryer.
If any skins come off the chickpeas during this step, just discard them.
MORE WAYS TO FLAVOR YOUR CHICKPEAS
Because I am kind of obsessed with za’atar, that’s what I used for these chickpeas. If you’ve never had za’atar, it’s a spice blend found commonly in Middle Eastern cuisine comprised of oregano, thyme, marjoram, sumac, and sesame seeds. As you might expect, it suits the chickpeas exceedingly well.
But I’ve offered a few suggestions for other flavor profiles in the recipe below, including a spicy mix, a French mix, and an Italian mix. Which one will you try?
MORE GREAT PARTY SNACKS