While there was always a jar of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) sitting on the counter in my mother’s kitchen, I didn’t truly start to love them until I was an adult. Don’t get me wrong – I was the weird kid who brought 100 chickpeas to the 100th day of school when all the other kids were bringing fun things like 100 Legos or 100 pennies. Maybe if my mom had made ranch chickpeas for kids like me, it would have turned out differently. Alas …
But the thing that really helped me to LOVE chickpeas was the air fryer. Before then, I would eat them in hummus, or in a salad, but it just wasn’t the same craving that I now get when I make roasted chickpeas in the air fryer.
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Challenge Issued …
My kids, however, do not share my same love for chickpeas. Whenever I make them, they wander in to the kitchen and ask questions like “those are just for you, right mom?”. As much as it’s fun having a monopoly on the chickpeas in the house (I mean, it’s a lot harder to run out when I’m the only one eating them), I really wanted to share my love with my kids. So I’ve started on a not-so-secret mission to get my kids to love chickpeas (or at least like and eat them). I admit, I would totally settle for “like” instead of “love” at this point. Heck, I might even settle for them tasting them without squished up yucky faces.
Enter the first in a series of chickpea recipes aimed at kids (and let’s be honest, I like these too): Ranch Chickpeas
The Hunt for the Perfect Recipe Began … Ranch Chickpeas for Kids … Do They Exist?
The idea for ranch chickpeas started one night a couple weeks ago when my very opinionated 10 year old told me he would “never like chickpeas”. Not one to shy away from a battle, I took to the internet and rounded up supposedly kid friendly chickpea recipes to try. Instead of my usual “grown up” chickpea toppings like curry powder or Tuscan seasoning blend, I decided to try my hand at things that make good potato chip flavors, like ranch, BBQ, and sour cream and onion. There were several recipes for ranch chickpeas for kids, so I gave some a try.
Trial and Error …
The first batch of chickpeas didn’t turn out right (apparently ranch burns when in the air fryer for too long … who would have guessed?). The second batch was not burned, but still not amazing. The third batch though, was a winner. Not only did my son taste one (which is a huge success in the first place), but he asked for more, and … wait for it … ate the entire bowl … not a single one left! Cue the singing angels, because we might have witnessed a miracle.
Now for the real test. I asked him (trying to not sound scared of the answer). Did you like them? His resounding answer: “Yeah, they’re ok.” Quickly followed by a “Can I have more?”. In the words of a ten year old, that is truly high praise.
The 5 Secrets to Really Good Ranch Roasted Chickpeas
1. Don’t dry the chickpeas with a towel.
For this recipe, I experimented with a couple different time saving techniques. I didn’t dry the chickpeas after rinsing them. Instead, simply rinse and let the air fryer do the drying for you. Not only does this save me a couple minutes, it also saves paper towels, so it’s cheaper and better for the environment.
2. No need to shake the chickpeas halfway through cooking.
If you use the basket with the holes in it, the air flow will evenly crisp the chickpeas, so no shaking needed. Another 30 seconds saved. (Trust me, these add up.) I tested this in Big Red, my trusty air fryer. While I love my air fryer (read more about that here), almost all air fryers have this basket with holes, so use what makes sense for you.
3. Add the ranch seasoning near the end
Most of the chickpea cooking will happen without the seasoning on it. In the last two minutes, you’ll want to add the ranch seasoning and then finish cooking. This will prevent burning (ask me how I know this).
4. For extra ranch flavor, add more seasoning after cooking
My kids liked it both methods, but if your kid loves ranch, then add some extra seasoning after cooking to spice it up even more.
5. When spraying the chickpeas, do it over the sink.
I used to have a whole routine when making chickpeas. I would put them in a bowl, add my oil and spices, mix with a spoon, then pour them into the air fryer pan while it was sitting on the counter. Of course, at the end of that, I now had a bowl, a spoon, and a counter to clean. Not fun. After much experimentation, what I now do is transfer the chickpeas straight into the air fryer basket, hold it over the sink and spray with oil. I then cook to dry and add seasoning near the end straight into the air fryer basket. No dirty dishes to deal with from the prep of the chickpeas. And any oil that misses the air fryer basket is easily rinsed away with the water in the sink.
Another side benefit of chickpeas
In addition to being healthy and easy to make, this recipe is also very budget friendly. While prices may vary slightly where you live, for me, I used one can of chickpeas ($0.79) and half a packet of ranch. The ranch was $1.39 for a box of four packets, so each box will make 8 servings, or $0.17 per serving. I also used a couple sprays of the canola oil, which I’m not including in the total here. So, for two servings (with each of us snacking on half a can of chickpeas), the total cost was $0.48 per serving. If you want to save even more money, you can buy dry chickpeas and make your own in the instant pot to use in this recipe.
Ways to Serve These Ranch Chickpeas
My favorite way is to eat them straight out of the air fryer. They are amazing while still warm. Here’s some other options though, that might work well for you.
- Pack in lunch boxes in snack size containers or ziplock bags.
- Toss onto a salad for some added crunch and flavor.
- Make a big batch and eat instead of popcorn for movie night.
- Air Fryer
- Can Opener
- 1 can chickpeas 15.5 oz
- canola oil use as needed
- 0.5 packet ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix 0.5 packet is about 2 tsp
- Open the can of chickpeas and rinse.
- Pour chickpeas into air fryer basket.
- Holding basket over sink, spray with oil.
- Air fry at 390 degrees for 10 minutes. No need to preheat.
- Using the potholder, hold the air fryer basket over the sink. Sprinkle on the ranch seasoning. Note: It helps to lose less ranch seasoning if you ensure the chickpeas are grouped together in the air fryer tray.
- Air fry at 390 degrees for 2 more minutes.
- Remove, let cool, and enjoy!