I used to work at a restaurant called The Country Kitchen when I was a teenager. I'm from Wisconsin, and Country Kitchens were spotted all around the state. I'm not sure if they're there anymore, but my job as a waitress afforded me the ability to aimlessly spend my tips buying clothes. Amazingly, all those clothes wore out pretty quick, but my college student loans managed to stick around a while. Lesson learned. (Note to self: do not let the kids make the same mistake!)

Putting all youthful financial mistakes aside, The Country Kitchen had a salad bar. One of the staples was chickpeas. I have to be honest, sitting on a salad bar, soaking in bath of some crazy juice, chickpeas (at least a la Country Kitchen) never looked the least bit appetizing. Fast forward to today, long after hummus became all the rage, I couldn't imagine my kitchen cupboard without those fibrous little nuggets. 

Usually I make hummus, but today I made Crunchy Spiced Chickpeas! I wanted something savory, but healthy - and I found it. A word of warning: they're addictive. 

Chickpeas are a fantastic source of fiber for improved digestion and blood sugar control; manganese for smoother skin and bone health; and folate for better brain function and cardiovascular health

Enjoy these Crunchy Spiced Chickpeas on a salad, on top of soup (instead of crackers) or on their own. 

Crunchy Spiced Chickpeas
Serves 3

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Drain and rinse chickpeas thoroughly. Take a moment to make sure as much moisture is off the bean as possible.

3. In a medium bowl, toss the chickpeas with the coconut oil, coating the beans thoroughly. 

4. Sprinkle the cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper and sea salt onto the same bowl and continue tossing until the seasoning coats each bean.

5. Layer onto a baking sheet.

6. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.


TIP: Keep the beans toward the center of the baking sheet. Beans that drift toward the edge of the baking sheet have a tendency to burn. 

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