Baked Chickpea Fries

If you’ve ever had dinner at Charlie Was a Sinner in Philadelphia, you may have had their amazing chickpea fries.  I’ve always been a french fry addict, but never thought to make fries with chickpeas!  Healthier and packed full of protein, I may never go back to potato fries again!  Well…that’s not true, but now I can make a meal out of fries that will actually keep me full!

Since adopting a plant-based lifestyle I am constantly asked where I get my protein.  I would say about 80% of my protein comes from beans: lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, great northern beans, black beans, fava beans, etc – the list goes on and on!

Chickpeas are probably one of my favorite legumes, not only because they are delicious, but they are also extremely versatile.  They have a nutlike taste and a texture that is buttery, yet somewhat starchy and pasty.  I use them to make hummus, curries, soups, chilies, falafel, “tuna salad”, “chicken” cheesesteaks and of course now fries!

In addition to being an excellent protein source, here are some other health benefits of the chickpea:

  • Fiber Advantage and Weight Loss: Like other beans, Chickpeas, are rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that snares bile (which contains cholesterol) and ferries it out of the body. Research studies have shown that insoluble fiber not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders.
  • Protein for Vegetarians: Chickpeas are a good source of protein. Combined with a whole grain such as whole-wheat protein, they provide amount of protein comparable to that of meat or dairy foods without the high calories or saturated fats.
  • Manganese for Energy Production: Garbanzos are an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese, which is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses. Just one cup of garbanzo beans supplies 84.5% of the daily value for this mineral.
  • Iron Boost: Garbanzos can boost your energy because of their high iron content. This is particularly important for menstruating women, pregnant or lactating women and growing children. Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism.
  • Stabilizing Blood Sugar and Low Glycaemic Index (GI): Soluble fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels. If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, beans like garbanzos can help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. They have low GI value of 28 – 32 means the carbohydrate in them is broken down and digested slowly. This is helpful for weight loss as it controls appetite.
  • Heart Healthy: Regular intake of Chickpeas can lower LDL (bad) and total cholesterol. Garbanzos contain the significant amounts of folate and magnesium. Folate lowers the levels of the amino acid, homocysteine and strengthens the blood vessels. Studies have found chickpeas lower the risk of heart attack
  • For Women: Garbanzo contain phytochemicals called saponins, which can act as antioxidants. It could lower the risk of breast cancer, protect against osteoporosis and minimizes hot flushes in post-menopausal women.
  • Weight Loss: Due to high fiber content and low GI, chickpeas are excellent for weight loss diets. Salad with chickpeas are tasty and can keep you full longer, controlling the appetite.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil or cooking spray for pan

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the chickpea flour slowly and stir until smooth.
  2. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and spices and mix for another minute or until it is thickened. Remove from the heat.
  3. Oil a small baking dish or casserole pan. Spread the chickpea batter into the pan evenly, smoothing the top with a spatula. Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight until it is firm and solid.
  4. Remove from the refrigerator. Loosen the edges with a butter knife or thin spatula. Turn the dish over while keeping one hand on the chickpea block and carefully let the block land on a cutting board. Cut the block into thick fries.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat both sides of each fry with olive oil. Bakes for 25 minutes, turning fries over half-way through cooking.