The Hungry Swimmer: The Power of Chickpeas

by Zoe Gregorace 1

December 07th, 2020 Hungry Swimmer, Lifestyle

In this world there are two types of people – snackers and non-snackers. If you fall into the snacker category, you might relate to this scenario all too well. To set the scene, imagine it’s that strange, in-between time of the afternoon. You just ate lunch but are seemingly ravenous and it’s not even dinner time yet. You might be tempted to reach for something super salty or greasy and nurse a big ole’ bowl of the stuff while lounging on the couch. However, it is likely that this influx of empty calories will leave you feeling more sluggish than ever. Ditch the potato chips and cheese puffs and say hello to crunchy chickpeas- your smart snacking solution!

Now I know what you’re thinking, “crunchy chickpeas?!?”. Yes. And if you’ve never had them before, I’m more than happy to share some versatile ways to incorporate them into your daily eats. Not only do they have a satisfying crunch, but they’re packed with plant-based protein and fiber, making for a more nutritious munch! And if you’re a snacker like me, you’ll definitely thank me later!

Buffalo Cauliflower Chickpea Bowl


  • 3 cups kale (+ 6 grams protein, 3 grams fiber)
  • 2 chopped celery stalks
  • 2 chopped Persian cucumbers
  • Handful of shredded carrots
  • Buffalo cauliflower bites (+ 5 grams protein, 3 grams fiber)
  • Creamy cucumber dressing (+ 6 grams protein, 3 grams fiber)
  • 1 serving ranch-flavored roasted chickpeas (+ 6 grams protein, 6 grams fiber)
  • = 23 grams protein, 15 grams fiber

For the Buffalo Cauliflower bites (serves 2-3)

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • Coating
  • ¾ cup oat flour
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup original unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup water

Hot Sauce

  • 4 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 450F
  2. Cut head of cauliflower into florets
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the coating ingredients
  4. Dip each floret into the batter and coat evenly. Make sure to space out each floret onto a parchment lined baking sheet
  5. Bake for 12 minutes, then flip and bake for another 12 minutes
  6. In a bowl, melt the vegan butter and combine with the hot sauce
  7. After baking, let the florets cool for 10 minutes. Coat each floret with the hot sauce and place back on the parchment lined baking sheet
  8. Bake the hot sauce covered florets for 12 minutes. Flip then bake for another 12 minutes
  9. Let florets cool for 10 minutes before enjoying

For the Creamy Cucumber dressing

  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • ½ cup chopped cucumber
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp water
  1. Add ingredient to a blender and blend until smooth
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to serving

Isn’t this bowl absolutely drool worthy?! And better yet, it’s completely vegan! Shocking right? Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty bowl or are on the lookout for the ultimate better-for-you Sunday football munchies, this loaded buffalo cauliflower bowl will certainly not disappoint.

Sweet & Salty Harvest Mix 


  • ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds (+9 grams protein, 2 grams fiber)
  • ¼ cup golden berry dried fruit blend (dried cherries, cranberries + golden raisins) (+1 gram protein, 1 gram fiber)
  • 1 serving dried apple rings (+3 grams fiber)
  • 1 serving sea salt-flavored roasted chickpeas (+6 grams protein, 6 grams fiber)
  • = 16 grams protein, 12 grams fiber

Whenever you’re in the mood for a snack mix of some sort, you  can never go wrong with dried fruit and seeds. Better yet, spice things up with some roasted chickpeas to achieve that irresistible crunchy texture! I highly recommend opting for dried fruits without added sugar and seeds or nuts without added salt. If you want to add some spices to the mix, you can sprinkle some sea salt and cinnamon over top to enhance the sweet and salty vibe!

 Roasted Harvest Bowl


  • 2 cups Arugula (+ 2 grams protein, 1 gram fiber)
  • 1 cup Sweet Potato, cubed (+2 grams protein, 4 grams fiber)
  • ½ cup Portabella Mushrooms (+1 gram protein, <1 gram fiber)
  • ½ Hass Avocado (+1 gram protein, 5 grams fiber)
  • ¼ cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds (+9 grams protein, 2 grams fiber)
  • ½ cup Brussels Sprouts ( +1 gram protein, + 2 grams fiber)
  • 1 serving Biena Habanero Chickpea Snacks (+6 grams protein, 6 grams fiber)
  • = 22 grams protein, 20 grams fiber
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F
  2. On a cutting board, chop sweet potatoes into cubes and slice each Brussels sprout in half
  3. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On one sheet, spread out the sweet potato cubes and Brussels sprouts. On the other, spread out the sliced mushrooms. Season the vegetables with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Place both sheets in the oven
  4. After 20 minutes, remove the mushrooms from the oven. Let the Brussels sprouts and sweet potato bake for another 20-25 minutes then remove
  5. Fill a large bowl with arugula and drizzle with olive oil. Top with the roasted mushrooms, sweet potato and Brussels sprouts
  6. Slice an avocado in half and remove the pit. Place the avocado on top of the mixture then sprinkle the raw pumpkin seeds and Biena Habanero chickpea snacks on top
  7. Enjoy 🙂

 Who doesn’t love a colorful, nourishing harvest bowl, especially in the cold winter months. In addition to the hearty, roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potato, the creamy avocado and crunchy chickpeas add some contrast to the bowl, keeping your taste buds highly entertained. Better yet, this bowl is completely vegan and still packs over 20 grams of protein – not too shabby! However, as always, I welcome the option to modify this recipe to fit your eating style and taste preference. I recommend adding roasted chicken breast for additional protein or wild salmon for more protein and healthy fats!

Check out my website for more recipe inspiration and be sure to share your chickpea creations with me @whatzoeeeats.

About Zoe Gregorace

Zoe Gregorace is currently studying Nutrition Policy at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and recently graduated from Tufts University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and was a proud member of the Tufts Swimming and Diving team (Go Jumbos!). During her 16 year career as a competitive swimmer, she developed a passion for sports nutrition. She enjoys writing on the topic of nutrition, health and wellness and posts her meal creations on her Instagram page @whatzoeeeats. As a former college swimmer, she strives to share recipes and nutrition tips to promote balanced eating and optimize sports performance.

Leave a Reply

Notify of
1 Comment
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 months ago

Thanks for the article, Zoe! I’m a huge advocate for plant-based eating and really enjoy chick peas myself. I hadn’t heard of roasted chick peas before, but they sound delicious!