Sunday, April 21, 2019

Vegan Oil Free Roasted Pizza Chickpeas. Canned (Not So) Goods

These Roasted Pizza Chickpeas are the best snack! They’re flavourful and a little salty and, in true snack fashion, encourage you to eat slowly- one at a time and with your fingers. I mean you can shove a handful in your mouth, but I don’t suggest it. Oh and they're full of heath supportive fibre.

Before I get into how you can use these roasted pizza chickpeas to makeover snack time or upgrade your lunch I want to talk about an easy but powerful action you can take in your kitchen right now to improve your overall health and save a few bucks.

Get rid of the canned beans.

I used to think that beans came in cans. Like that’s the only way you could buy them. If I needed chickpeas or kidney beans I went straight to the canned foods aisle. In case you don’t know, because I didn't, beans and legumes are best bought in their dried form.

Before I learned about dried vs. canned beans, I’d head to the grocery store and load up on canned beans to make soups and, the token bean dish, chili. I’d lug them home and line them up on my counter with my can opener ready! My kitchen was a red alert zone-silver tops, jagged edges and ripped up labels strewed all over the counter. I literally thought this was how it was.

I'm almost ashamed to admit that the first time I cooked beans from their dried form was in culinary school. I was 29! I know, what world was I living in? Perhaps the do-whatever-seems-easiest world.

But I didn't know at what cost.

A much, much easier way of stocking beans and legumes is to buy them dry! They’re there; although they take up much less space in the grocery aisle and you might have to look high and low to find them (literally, they’re usually on the bottom shelf).

Not only is buying dried beans cheaper, it’s also much healthier!

Canned food can last a lifetime but the canning process and the can itself can lead to some not-so-healthy consequences.

Canned Complications:

First of all, the canning process involves heating the can to high temperatures to sterilize the contents, compromising whatever pre-cooked stuff is on the inside.

Second, and most concerning, the majority of cans are lined with plastic made from some amount of Bisphenol A (BPA).

BPA is used as a barrier between the aluminum and the contents of the can because we don’t want the aluminum leaching into our foods. Instead, we get some BPA leaching into our foods!

BPA is a chemical used in plastics and is known as an endocrine disruptor, meaning it can mess with our hormones. It’s been linked to reproductive issues, obesity, cardiovascular disease, the list goes on. The potential to or extent at which BPA harms our health is subject to debate and has been for many years.

There are so many studies investigating BPA and how it affects humans when ingested. One of the first I read was about canned soups. In 2011 a Harvard School of Public Health study shocked the nutrition world when they discovered that volunteers who consumed a serving of canned soup each day for five days had a more than 1,000% increase in urinary bisphenol A (BPA) concentrations. The implications of this and similar studies are controversial but there is a lot of suspicion about BPA and research is ongoing.

Many studies have followed and most of us now look for the "BPA free" label on our water bottles.  There may be restrictions on BPA in plastic and baby bottles but it’s still used in most canned goods and other every-day items.

Bottom line: Canned foods aren't exactly health supportive and most cans are made with BPA, exposing your food to BPA, probably exposing you to BPA. When in doubt, throw the cans out (well maybe recycle them or donate). Avoid canned beans and cook your own!

Other ways to reduce your BPA exposure is to switch your plastic food storage containers to glass ones and never microwave anything that's in plastic containers. Maybe just never microwave anything.

Cooking your own beans is EASY.

You don’t need measuring cups or timers or any fancy equipment. Throw a couple handfuls in a big bowl, cover with water and let sit overnight. The next day drain, transfer the beans to a medium-large pot, cover with water by 2-3 inches (eyeball this) and partially cover. Also make sure there is a few inches between the top of the pot and the water to avoid boiling water from spilling out. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Keep the pot partially covered and simmer for 1-2 hours.

How do you know they’re done? Take one out, let it cool and eat it. If it’s soft, it’s done! If the beans are starting to break open and their skins are floating around in the pot, they're also likely done.

Once you turn the heat off you can let them sit in the cooking water until you’re ready to handle them or you can drain right away and transfer to a glass jar or storage container. Let them cool with the lid off until they’ve reached room temperature. Then cover and refrigerate. The beans are ready to use and will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Ok so I know the part you’re hung up on is the cooking for “1-2 hours”. That’s a lot of time if you’re busy, and I know you are.

So here are my two favourite ways/times to squeeze in bean cooking;

In the morning before work toss the beans in a bowl of water. As soon as you get home from work, drain the beans and transfer to a pot. Cook them while you’re puttering around and getting ready to make dinner. By the time they’re done you’ll be cleaning up from dinner. This way it doesn’t take much extra time, effort or attention.

Or do it when you have more free time, like the weekend.

On a Friday or Saturday night toss the beans in the bowl. When you wake in the morning, drain the beans and throw them in a pot of water (you know the drill by now). Cook while getting breakfasts or lazing around- as you should on a Saturday morning. They’ll be done by lunch and ready for you to enjoy! Keep them covered in the fridge and you have fresh beans for the week!

Full disclosure; I keep one can of chickpeas and one can of black beans in my pantry for culinary emergencies, like forgetting that I agreed to make a snack for a party or when I'm in the middle of a recipe and realize I forgot to soak and/or cook beans that the recipe calls for.

I opt for brands that do not use BPA in their can linings, like Eden Foods. Note that BPA free canned goods are much more expensive and should still not be relied on as a regular ingredient. Canned food is practical for camping or maybe an apocalypse...but not for every day cooking.

Blogged while watching West World. I am so creeped out.

Roasted Pizza Chickpeas are best paired with... Snack Time & Salads!

These Roasted Pizza Chickpeas are great to snack on. Especially if you enjoy snacking on foods like popcorn or chips. Put some in a bowl and enjoy! Avoid eating standing up in the kitchen, this is how we overeat when snacking. I've offered an oil free version and a version with coconut oil. I prefer to make them sans oil but without the additional fat they don't get crispy. So if you want that snack-y crunch, try the coconut oil version. Or make half and half and see how you feel!

These Roasted Pizza Chickpeas are tasty on their own but are also perfect for a salad! I add these chickpeas to simple green salads to make them interesting! The dried herbs mix in nicely with any vinaigrette and leave a pizza-y flavor throughout!

Other ways to upgrade your salad without adding additional fats or sugars include topping salads with veggie balls (like these Turnip Chickpea Meatballs)  or crumbling bean burgers (like the Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers) into salads.

Thing I'm excited about; The Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis cookbook! My pal Ingrid gathered OMS recipes from OMS'ers all over the world and compiled them into a cookbook! If you're looking for low saturated fat, plant based and fish recipes, this book is ideal! I'm also excited to be featured in here multiple times! The big dream is my own cookbook, I'll take this as a step in the right direction!

Roasted Pizza Chickpeas

2 cups
35 minutes

  • 2 cups chickpeas (cooked or canned and drained)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • fresh pepper to taste
  • Optional-2 teaspoons melted coconut oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add the chickpeas to a large bowl.
  3. If using, drizzle the coconut oil over the chickpeas and toss. If making an oil-free version skip to the next step.
  4. Spread the spices evenly over the chickpeas and toss. Some of the spices will stick to the sides of the bowl, try and scrape as much out as your can with a spatula. Transfer to the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. After 20 minutes, remove from the oven and shake them around and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cook for 5-10 minutes! Enjoy.

Without oil the chickpeas won’t get as crispy. Instead they will be a little chewy, which I love!
As these pizza chickpeas cool completely they will soften a little more.
Store in a glass container on your counter. They will keep this way for about 3 days. Otherwise, store in your fridge for up to 5-7 days.
Add ¼-½ cup to leafy green or grain salads for extra oomph!