Oven-roasted chickpeas

Chickpeas were a fixture in the Butler house. They were on salads, they were a snack, and later, when hummus became chic in the early aughts, they were mashed together with tahini.


But the Butler family is about as un-exotic as we may sound. With a mom from a small town in East Texas and a dad from Houston – and not an ounce of Greek, Turkish, Italian or Spanish blood between them – a Mediterranean staple shouldn't have been a run-of-the-mill. 

For my mom though, the small, quirky college town of Austin in the late 80s transported her taste buds to new, innovative flavors that she'd never met growing up in Jasper or even studying in Dallas. "I first had hummus and chickpeas at Tom's Tabooley on (University of Texas) campus many years ago, and made chickpeas with lots of lemon and spice because you all ate them," she told me. "You all ate them by the handful."

So, I present you with a grown-up version of a childhood snack. Lemon and parsley add bright acidity and freshness to fragrant paprika. Generous pinches of flakey sea salt take this dish from good to great.

I like to cook these just before expecting guests for dinner. A hot treat to munch on – and not to fill up too much on – is an essential welcome gift for any aspiring culinary entertainer. It's simple to finish putting together a quick salad or group entrée while these chickpeas bake or while you guests mull and catch up over a glass of wine and a handful of chickpeas.

This recipe serves 6-8 as a snack or appetizer. You can easily half this recipe, and I encourage you to do it.

What to know

If you want a crispy-shelled roasted chickpea, it's essential to take the drying time seriously listed below. Don't skimp on the drying time. Just like creating a delicious crust on chicken or fish, a dry product that lets oil or fat adhere to it is the first step to success.

What you need

  • 2 15.5 oz cans chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 big pinches of flakey sea salt (about 1 1/2 tsp), like Maldon or Fleur de Sel

How to do it

Preheat your oven to 400-degrees F. 

Open cans of chickpeas and drain liquid with a strainer. Move chickpeas between paper towels or dish towels and allow the chickpeas to dry for 5 minutes.

Place the chickpeas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pour olive oil over the chickpeas, and use a wooden spoon to ensure each chickpea gets covered in olive oil.

Place chickpeas in the oven and roast for 25 minutes, opening the oven to shake the pan every 5 minutes to get an even bake. 

Once the chickpeas have baked, remove from the oven and immediately squeeze the juice of one lemon evenly over the chickpeas.

Sprinkle parsley, paprika and salt over the chickpeas and use a wooden spoon to stir the chickpeas and cover each one in spices.

Serve immediately for the best result. You can garnish with this yogurt sauce if you want a little something extra. 

Leftovers can be used as toppings on a salad or a bowl - or even blended to into a hummus recipe for a little extra flavor.