Jul 12 2012

Roasted Chickpeas

Before we moved to Portland, we stayed at The Ace Hotel three times. Enchanted by its laid-back, well-designed vibe, we felt 'at home' by our second stay, thanks to the friendly greeting by the desk clerk, our pre-existing knowledge of the room layout and breakfast spread, and knowing exactly what to order off the room service menu.

Now normally I avoid room service. I can think of few times in my travels where room service has actually been necessary and delicious. I don't like to stay in my room and scatter crumbs all over the freshly made bed-- I feel disconnected from my food, surroundings, and new city. But in cases where my flight arrives past the point of finding good food anywhere--and when I'm too tired and disheveled to even think about putting on a presentable face--good room service is akin to a religious experience.

This brings me back to the Ace Hotel. The Ace Hotel shares a space with Stumptown Coffee and Clyde Common, one of the best restaurants in Portland. As a guest at The Ace, you can order from Clyde's menu (not the entire menu, but enough amazing choices that you don't feel like you're missing out). A long haul flight from the East to West Coast messes with both your circadian rhythm and blood sugar. Each time I've flown East to West, I've felt simultaneously hungry and nauseous. Our cure for our jet-lagged discomfort was Clyde Common's house-made ginger beer and fried chickpeas. The ginger beer is snappy and and the bottle is literally packed with ginger--I've since ordered it when I've not been jet-lagged and it's equally good when all my senses are functioning properly.

The chickpeas stand out in my memory because they were responsible for teaching me that you could fry chickpeas. In retrospect, it might be good that I passed through many years of life without considering this as an option. Fried chickpeas are incredible. You get all of the pleasures of popcorn mixed with the addictive quality of french fries. And your brain somehow tries to justify that they're healthy because they're garbanzo beans! (Note to brain: they're not healthy).

If you want a healthier version of fried chickpeas, roast them. Heidi Swanson's roasted chickpea recipe is straightforward and easily accomodating to whatever spice or herb you feel like adding. Roasting draws out a nuttier flavor to the beans than frying them. Fried or roasted chickpeas are a perfect snack for when you just can't have popcorn or a bowl of cereal again. And if you happen to be visiting Portland and staying at the Ace, trust me: order the chickpeas!

Roasted Chickpeas

Recipe Adapted from Super Natural Everyday

Makes 3 cups


3 cups/425 g cooked chickpeas OR 1 1/2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon harissa

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

lemon zest from 1 lemon

1 teaspoon chopped parsley

1 teaspoon chopped thyme


1) Preheat the oven to 425. Pour the chickpeas onto a rimmed baking sheet, spreading them out into a single layer. Roast for 10 minutes.

2) After 10 minutes, shake the pan to ensure that none are sticking and roast for 8 minutes longer. Watch carefully to prevent burning!

3) In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, paprikas, harissa, salt, lemon zest, parsley, and thyme.

4) Transfer the chickpeas to this bowl and toss to combine. Return the chickpeas to the baking sheet and roast for 3 or 4 minutes longer.

5) Let cool for a few minutes and serve. Enjoy!