Does adding powdered green tea to snack foods make them healthier? I think it does, because when you eat or drink finely-ground matcha or sencha powder, you consume the whole tea leaf. Some of the important antioxidants in green tea are not water-soluble, so you end up throwing most of them away when you brew green tea. Ground green tea packs a more powerful antioxidant punch and as my grandmother said, ‘pennies make dollars!’ A quarter-teaspoon of matcha or sencha powder here and there can add up to the equivalent of many cups of brewed green tea!
But for me, the best reason to add green tea powder to snacks is the delightful, hard to describe but oh-so-recognizable flavor of Umami (ooh-mah-me). Umami, the so-called ‘fifth taste,’ is a savory flavor that appears in toasted or roasted foods, and adds depth, fullness, and an extra sense of satisfaction to foods. Green tea is a great source of Umami and is easy to sprinkle into all kinds of foods.
Today, with the sun shining, I decided I wanted a crunchy, salty, healthy snack to go with my afternoon iced green tea with lemongrass syrup. Chickpeas are also healty, loaded with fiber, zinc, folate and protein. These crunchy chickpeas really hit the spot! I used canned chickpeas for convenience, but this snack is simple to make and very inexpensive if you plan ahead, and start with dried chickpeas.
Spicy Matcha Crunchy Chickpeas
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
3 cups cooked, drained chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) or two 14 Oz cans, drained
3 Tablespoons olive or canola oil, divided
¾ tsp to 1 tsp salt (according to your taste)
½ tsp powdered green tea (Matcha or Sencha)
¼ tsp chili powder if you like a little heat!
Spread the chickpeas in one layer on a baking sheet, and blot as dry as possible with a clean kitchen towel. Toss the beans with half of the oil, until they are all lightly coated.
Put the pan in the middle of the pre-heated oven, and roast for 40 – 50 minutes, until the beans are crisp and well-browned. Remove the pan from the oven, and while the beans are still hot, mix with the remaining 1 ½ tsp of oil and sprinkle on the salt/green tea mixture. Stir the beans until they are well-coated and then allow to cool thoroughly.
The beans will keep for about a week in an airtight container at room temperature.
Note: If you are using dried chickpeas, start with 1 cup dried beans, and soak 4-8 hours in a generous amount of water. Drain off the soaking water, then cook in 3 cups fresh water for 2-3 hours until tender. Drain, and pat dry
If you like this recipe, try our “homemade wasabi green peas,” too!