I like crunchy snacks that are salty and seasoned well. Who doesn’t? As Americans, we all long for that crunchiness in our food and salty flavor when we need a side to our sandwich. Even when we need something to munch on when we’re going home from work, sitting on the train, fantasizing about our dinner. Since most people are working towards a healthier lifestyle, tossing potato chips out the window is a pretty safe bet. Instead of eating 75% of a bag of pointless white starch carbohydrates that will weigh you down and make you crash, why not eat a whole bag of something that will give you protein and fiber, containing minimal and all natural ingredients?
Baked chickpeas are the perfect crunch I look for in a snack. Granted, I am the “chickpea in the city” after all so I can never get enough of chickpeas. Even when I go to the dining hall salad bar, my plate’s final product is usually a visual of chickpeas on top of a salad with a scoop of hummus on the side. Shockingly, I have yet to turn into a chickpea but I’m only 20 so I am sure it could happen sooner or later.
Last summer was when I first tried store-bought chickpea snacks and made my own. Both versions were packed with flavor but when I fixed my eyes upon 2Armadillos and their ingredients, my heart sky-rocketed. The company produces snacks out of Washington DC and has been slowly expanding to mid-Atlantic retailers, specifically Whole Foods.
Most chickpea snacks on the market these days contain evaporated cane juice (complex phrase for sugar), sunflower oil, citric acid and a few other random ingredients I couldn’t explain to you if I tried. 2Armadillos keeps it straight and to the point with as many organic ingredients as possible and shoveling out four different flavored varieties: cinnamon toast, rosemary, tomato basil and spicy cayenne. Each flavor has five to six ingredients and those are simply just organic chickpeas, organic coconut or olive oil and a few spices.
The only one that uses any sugar-type substance is the cinnamon toast flavor but don’t fret, no artificial or refined sugars are used! Stevia leaf extract is the hidden gem here.
Thanks to 2Armadillos sending me a sample package of their snacks, I was able to test out each one and throw them into a few recipes.
My favorite was this cinnamon hummus toast. When thinking of what to pair the cinnamon toast flavor with, I thought why not do toast? Toast on toast. Bread on butter kinda sorta. Like eating pancakes with waffles but makes a little bit more sense. Maybe. Anyways, it worked and I recommend it.
I toasted a piece of sprouted bread, layered it with plain hummus (thick, creamy and all natural) and then crushed up the bag of chickpeas by popping them with the tips of my fingers. Easy enough, right? Followed by sprinkling the smashed peas on top of the hummus, I doused it in cinnamon and sliced it in half. The perfect go-to snack with a combination of sweet and salty.
When you use stevia, one can notice when too much is used in replace of a sweetener. With this flavor, I could tell and I couldt decide if I liked or disliked it at first. Because cinnamon toast is usually packed with sugar, my final thought was it fit the flavor well but took a few bites to get adjusted to. Because the other flavors do not contain stevia, I’m not complaining. All in all, I’d rate the cinnamon toast flavor a 9/10. Also, chickpeas on top of hummus on top of sprouted bread… my new love. Try it as soon as you can.
My favorite flavor by far is the rosemary. At the bottom of the bag were tons of pieces of rosemary and with the addition of garlic powder, the beans popped with flavor. Garlic on anything and everything is good but with chickpeas? They go together like salt and pepper. Everything mediterranean deserves garlic, anyways.
I decided to layer them on top of a simple salad of roasted cauliflower, organic mixed greens, a Hilary’s Eat Well veggie burger, and a drizzle of apple fennel dressing. When you use chickpea snacks as a topping to salads like this, it is not only an extra addition of protein but the crunch resembles that of nutritionally poor croutons. This plate had me smiling ear to ear.
Coming up close behind the rosemary in my ranking of favorites is the tomato basil. Just like the rosemary, at the end of the little pouch, the basil and oregano seasonings are chilling at the bottom waiting to be poured all over a salad or soup.
Or you could do what I did and put it right in my face hole. No big thing.
I used both the tomato basil and rosemary flavors to make simple salad toppings but for the tomato basil I just threw a ton of tomatoes and roasted veggies from my dining hall together in a rush. That’s the convenient thing I love about these chickpea snacks, you can throw them in a bowl with vegetables and you’ll have a meatless lunch with at least 6g of protein (even more if you add some lentils, quinoa or a veggie burger to the mix).
The cayenne pepper was intimidating to say the least. Unless you’re a heat-lover, beware! With cayenne pepper and chili powder, you better believe your tastebuds will be hit head on. I ate a few to test them out and loved the heat but since I am super sensitive to anything spicy, I could only eat a few every so often.
I recommend throwing them into chicken tacos or a vegetable burrito bowl for added spice if you’re looking for a little bang. They’ll do the trick!
Now that I’ve eaten the world in chickpeas (or what seems like it), my mind has started to think of more ideas for baked chickpeas and how to incorporate them into everyday meals and snacks.
When baking them in the oven, I recommend tossing them in coconut oil with cocoa powder and coconut sugar for a protein filled dessert. The ideas are endless to what you can do and when you toss certain spices into the mix, they will work with almost any meal. That’s why chickpeas are superior to any other bean.
I look forward to seeing 2Armadillos pop into more Whole Foods in 2015 and see what other flavors they will come up with next. So far, they’re succeeding tremendously. If only all snacks could contain 6 or less ingredients, chickpeas being first on the list. Life would be really freaking awesome.
You can purchase them in 3 oz. bags ($3.95) and 8 oz. bags ($11.95) here.
The more chickpeas the merrier, after all.
*** All opinions are my own. Thank you to 2Armadillos for sending me their products to try. ***