Spicy Sautéed Chickpeas

If you have ever felt at a loss to think of an inexpensive, super simple, and quick source of protein, I've got you covered. Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, aren’t usually a staple in the Standard American Diet (SAD, get it?). If you haven’t had them in their whole form, you’ve probably tried them in hummus before! I don’t think I had ever bought them for myself until I worked as a special diets cook in Minnesota. I had to be super creative in order to meet the needs of campers and counselors with special diets ranging from pureed to casein-free to vegan. Chickpeas came up over and over when I looked up allergen-free, plant-based meals, so I learned how to use them in a bunch of different ways.

These days, I don’t have tons of time, money or equipment to experiment with unique chickpea recipes. It's just not the best use of my time - I’m sure you can relate. Instead, I typically whip up a batch of these chickpeas every week or two. It takes under 10 minutes from when you grab the can of chickpeas to when you pop the little golden nuggets into your mouth.

What to Expect:

  • Flavor: spicy, savory, warming

  • Texture: crispy outside, soft chewy inside

  • Nutrition: plant-based protein, dietary fiber

  • Good for: salads, tacos, grain bowls, snacks

Why Am I Rinsing and Drying My Chickpeas?

I recommend rinsing canned beans to remove the starchy, salty canning liquid from the beans. This step can also help get rid of any metallic flavor that may have developed during the canning process. I like to dump my beans into a fine mesh strainer and run water over them until all the bubbles are gone. At the same time, I roll the chickpeas around in the strainer with my hand to start to remove the peels/skins.

After the chickpeas are rinsed, shake off the excess water and dry them in a bowl. My technique is to layer paper towels on the bottom of the bowl and rub them dry with a paper towel in my hand. This allows me to dry and remove the peels in the same step. Picking out the peels is a little tedious, but it helps get a crispier and smoother final product. I like these repetitive, mindless kitchen tasks - it puts me in a zen mode where I can let my mind wander. Try to dry the chickpeas as much as possible, so that they can achieve maximum crispiness when you cook them.

How Can I Cook Them Perfectly?

Another key step of this recipe is to make sure the pan gets hot, but not so hot that your oil starts smoking (warning: it might catch on fire if it’s smoking!). When the pan is the perfect temp (usually medium high), add your seasoned chickpeas to the pan, give it a shake, and then let them sit for about two minutes before you touch them again. Resist the urge to toss them around all the time, even though the sizzle is almost irresistible. If you give them the chance to stay in contact with the pan in one spot, they can develop delicious, crispy parts, which adds super satisfying texture. 

Spicy Sautéed Chickpeas Jordan Mitchell, RD

As always, I can't wait to see what you use your sautéed chickpeas for! I eat them the most on salads and bowls, but I also love eating them as a snack filled with fiber and protein to keep me full! Tag me @workinggirlnutrition when you make them!

print recipe
Spicy Sautéed Chickpeas
Add a pop of plant-based protein to your meals with these spicy savory sautéed chickpeas! The recipe comes together in under ten minutes from start to finish and is super simple! These are great to add to salads, grain bowls, tacos - anywhere meat can go, these garbanzo beans can go!
  • 15 oz. Canned chickpeas
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Oil of choice
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Cracked black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. Cayenne pepper
1. Rinse the canned chickpeas. 2. Warm pan to medium high heat with oil of choice. 3. In a bowl, dry chickpeas and remove skins. 4. Season chickpeas. 5. When pan is hot, dump in chickpeas and sauté. Don’t move the pan around too much, allow them to develop crispy brown parts.6. Remove from heat after about 5 minutes of sautéing. Chickpeas should be hot to the touch and crispy in parts.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2-4 servings