Easy, Four-Ingredient, Crispy Fried Chickpeas

Vegans are lacking protein. How many times have you heard that? By now, it’s a distant echo that somehow still seems to taunt all the cruelty-free eaters in the vegan-verse. But the thing is, we know it’s not true. Vegans get plenty of protein. In fact, for all the omnis out there– your meat gets its protein from plants. That’s right– you heard it here first. Well I don’t know if you actually heard it here first, but if you did, that’s freaking awesome and you’re welcome.

Some of the greatest sources of protein in the vegan world come from lentils, beans (legumes) and other foods like tofu and seitan. Not to mention the loads of seeds and nuts that are also protein-rich. As I continue to force myself to eat– I mean, journey down the road of embracing a completely whole foods diet (similar to my early vegan days when I didn’t know what to eat and had no idea that Champ’s Diner existed), I will continue to load up on more protein-rich goodies, and beans have always been one of my favorites. Mix them with rice and you’ve got a source of complete protein, meaning that all nine essential amino acids are set in that protein to help your body do all the amazing things it’s capable of doing, besides going to and from work and laying to watch Netflix (calm down, I’m pointing a finger at myself).

Chickpeas are pretty high on that bean list– also known as garbanzo beans, they are not only yummy, but really versatile in the kitchen– after all, they can turn into falafels. If that ain’t a miraculous transformation, I dunno what is. But, when you’re tired of eating them in their natural form, and don’t feel like making falafels, try out this recipe. It’s basically breaded and fried chickpeas, but the great part is, it shouldn’t take you too long to make because you don’t need anything more that a few ingredients, and a few simple steps– in less that 20 minutes, you’re in fried bean heaven.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 15.5 oz. can of chickpeas, not drained
  • 3/4-1 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs (plain or panko breadcrumbs can also be used— whichever you choose, be sure that your breadcrumbs are vegan! Many brands contain dairy and/or eggs)
  • 1/8-1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt

What to Do:

  1. Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium heat with olive oil in it.
  2. While the oil is heating, mix the breadcrumbs and salt together in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Open the can of chickpeas, but do not drain them of the water in the can.
  4. Test that the olive oil is fully heated with a very small drop of water (do not stand over the oil because it will splatter when hot!)
  5. Using a metal spoon, transfer the wet chickpeas to the breadcrumb mixture, draining each spoonful of water but leaving the chickpeas wet (the water from the can acts as the “binding agent” and helps the breadcrumbs stick to the chickpeas fully, so you want them to remain wet!).
  6. Transfer about half the can, mixing the beans into the breadcrumbs quickly, then transferring them to the oil slowly and carefully so the oil does not splatter.
  7. Shake the pan to spread the chickpeas across evenly.
  8. Let the chickpeas fry over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, then, turn the chickpeas and continue to fry for an additional 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
  9. Drain the fried chickpeas on a dish that has been lined with a dry cloth or paper towels.
  10. Repeat these steps with the remaining half-can of chickpeas.

Date Posted on Instagram: 2/18/2020

*Product Review*: Vegan Toona!

Tuna — a saltwater fish that is part of the mackerel family. The size of the fish can range, depending on the specific type. Are those quick, fun facts what come to your mind when you hear the word “tuna”? Yeah, me either. When we hear that word, most of us think of the minced flesh that comes in a can. But even that description may be off-putting to some– well, by some, I mean non-vegans. Because, like any sentient being, that minced mush in a can is indeed flesh.

Before going vegan, like a lot of non-vegans, I tried to eat more tuna and seafood on my initial route to health. Sea creatures do not usually contain large amounts of fat and most people view eating them as healthy– in fact, many people go pescatarian before going full-vegan. Or, they just stop there.

I was a big fan of canned tuna in my pre-vegan days. But thinking back on it now, filling a sandwich with tuna that is loaded with mayo isn’t necessarily #healthgoals. Either way, I hadn’t had tuna in about two years– that is, I hadn’t had any form of a vegan variation since going vegan. Until recently 🙂

Vegan tuna in all it’s canned glory.

First, a bit of the back story; when I was still in my exploratory vegan days (although those days don’t ever truly end, do they?) I happened to find some mock vegan tuna as part of a vegan “starter kit” online. I bought the kit (this was over a year ago), and I tossed the tuna in the cabinet because– well, that’s me. I was excited to try it, but wanted to “wait” to showcase it for whatever weird reason. I recently cleaned out the cabinets and saw that lonely lil’ can in the back, still unused. First, I thought about why I was so weird to wait to use this canned baby for so long (yes, really), then, I made a tuna sandwich!

The canned tuna I had was made by a brand called Sophie’s Kitchen. They make plant-based seafood which is amazing, because I love seeing plant-based seafood all over Vegan IG. I hope to try a lot more of their products in the future, but for now, I’m also trying to calm down on the processed goods, so it’ll have to wait. But check them out and see what they have to offer!

Now, for the nitty gritty– how did it taste? What was the flavor like? The texture?

Before I get to all those deets, I have to preface this with saying that anything that is vegan (with the exception of the amazing things they’re doing with the Impossible and Beyond Burgers as well as some seitan-based chick’n sandwiches) is usually never going to be an exact replica of what you were used to eating on an omni diet. You have to learn to adapt your palate a bit, as well as relish in the fact that something that is reallly close to what you used to eat (especially if you prepare it the same way) is still really delicious, and now, cruelty-free.

That being said, visually, I was pleasantly surprised. It actually looked like canned tuna. Not a carbon copy, but it could fool an omni, for sure. It was packed in olive oil, which was refreshing because actual tuna packed in oil is usually packed in vegetable oil, and I always thought that was weird because veggie oil seems more appropriate for cooking and not packing. It fell apart in chunks, and just looking at, I was a happy camper.

That black shadow in the back– Trey thought he was getting some toona too. Yeah, right.

Texture-wise, I was also happy. It felt like what I was used to eating when I ate a tuna fish sandwich! But then, is it truly that hard to replicate a minced meat texture? Something to think about! It was a little bit heavier, but not overly so.

The flavor was kinda scary. I know about some products, like kelp granules, that help to mimic that seafood flavor. And although this didn’t taste exactly like tuna fish, that seafood-y flavor was definitely there. It mixed well when I added other ingredients and mayo to it, and once all that was mixed together, it legit looked like meaty tuna.

All the flavor, none of the cruelty.

As I just mentioned, when eaten on it’s own (I took a few bites before adding anything else), it was a bit heavier in my mouth–not like a fully light seafood feel. That could have been because of the pea protein and/or potato starch bases I’m assuming, because that is what this mock delicious-ness is mostly made of.

So, at the end of it all, I’d definitely give this canned delight a 8/10 and I would hands down purchase it again. I think for transitioning vegans, it might take a bit before they feel comfty mixing it plain into a salad or eating it out of the can. For me, two years in, I’d gobble the can down plain– eh, I might add a little salt and pepper.

But for transitioning vegans looking for that comfort food feel of a delicious “tuna” fish sandwich slathered in mayo on bread– just imagine, you could be eating this, completely cruelty-free: