How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Cooked spaghetti squash is a great nutrient dense, gluten-free, lower carb alternative to pasta or rice noodles. There are two great methods how to cook spaghetti squash and we’re giving you all the details you need to know!

Bowl of instant pot spaghetti squashHow to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash noodles are probably the easiest alternative to traditional pasta there is. While it doesn’t taste exactly the same, spaghetti squash is a nutrient-dense, low carb alternative to pasta (whether gluten-free or not). If you can’t eat pasta or noodles for whatever reason, this is a pretty good substitute. It can take the place of almost any noodle dish, ranging from a classic “spaghetti” and meatballs, to a baked Italian “pasta” dish or even as a Pad Thai. Cooking spaghetti squash is so simple, being a mostly hands off cooking task. The hardest part is slicing it in half, so we are giving tips below.

Safe knife skills with spaghetti squash

How to Safely Cut It:

Your best answer to safely cutting a spaghetti squash is to have a large sharp knife, and a flat stead surface to cut it. With one hand, steady the spaghetti squash, and with the other press the knife into the squash before using your weight to leverage the knife through the squash. Once the knife is at least an inch inside the squash use your other hand to push down on the knife until it cuts through the squash entirely.

We cut the squash in two ways:

  1. Crosswise the the middle: This is our preferred method. This way is easier because there is less squash to cut, and you don’t have to go close to the stem. This results in long strings of noodles.
  2. Lengthwise: This method is harder to cut the squash and results in shorter noodles. Don’t try to attempt to cut through the hard stem. Once you’ve cut to that, take the knife out and use your hands to pull apart the spaghetti squash halves.

Still are afraid to cut the squash? You can always cook the squash whole, and cut after it is cooked. It’s obviously much easier to cut after it is soft, but we don’t prefer this method (see below as to why).

Can you Cook Spaghetti Squash Whole?

Yes you can, but this was not our favorite method of cooking it. If you are truly intimidated by cutting a squash, cooking it whole certainly makes it a lot easier to cut, but if you follow the tips above you should be able to safely cut a spaghetti squash. We didn’t like the result of a whole cooked spaghetti squash because it is harder to scoop out the seeds when they’re soft because you can’t easily distinguish between the inedible seeds and the edible squash strands.

Roasted spaghetti squash

Long strands of spaghetti squash

Our Favorite Way to Cook It

We are fans of cooking spaghetti squash in both the oven and in the Instant Pot. There is a slight difference in taste, and an even greater difference in cook time between these two, but knowing both is useful.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Oven

Roasting spaghetti squash in the oven takes longer, but it results in tender caramelized squash noodles. This is definitely our preferred method if we have the time. To make it, all you do is split the spaghetti squash, scoop out the seeds and drizzle with oil, salt and pepper and roast until fork tender. More detailed directions are below in the recipe section!

How to Cook Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash

Steaming spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot is by far the quickest method, and great when short on time! The squash noodles have a more straight-forward taste to them since there is no caramelization occurring. We prefer splitting the spaghetti squash and scooping out the seeds before cooking it, but you can steam it whole.

Spaghetti squash meal prep

Do you Eat the Skin of the Spaghetti Squash?

No! While some squash has edible skin, this is not one of them. Simply scoop out the “noodles” and discard the skin.

How to Use it

Treat spaghetti squash noodles like pasta! It can be eaten as is with a little oil, salt and pepper and parmesan cheese or you can use it in any variety of recipes. Check out below for some of ours:

Recipes using Spaghetti Squash:

Watch the video:


How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time 00:03 Cook Time 00:45 Inactive Time 00:00 Total Time 00:50 Serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 1 3-4lb. spaghetti squash (see note)
  • splash of oil (roasting only)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

For the Oven:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with foil
  2. Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise (for short "noodles") or crosswise (for long "noodles") and scoop out seeds. 
  3. Scoop out seeds and discard.
  4. Brush inside with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Place facedown on baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until you can pierce with a fork.
  6. When cool enough to handle, scrape out "spaghetti" with a fork.
  7. Cooked spaghetti squash will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator.

For the Instant Pot:

  1. Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise (for short "noodles") or crosswise (for long "noodles") and scoop out seeds. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
  2. Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot.
  3. Stack the spaghetti squash on top of each other (cut-side up).
  4. Close the lid and make sure the knob is turned to sealing.
  5. Set to manual high-pressure for 10 minutes (longer time will be needed for bigger squash)
  6. When the timer goes off, turn the vent on the top of the lid to venting to release the steam.
  7. Once the venting knob has dropped, open the lid and shred the spaghetti squash with two forks to turn squash into spaghetti-like noodles!
  8. Cooked spaghetti squash will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

  1. If your spaghetti squash is a different size, you may have to adjust the cooking time, especially for the Instant Pot.
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash

How to Make Marshmallows (Paleo)

These Paleo Marshmallows, made with honey and maple syrup, are a surprisingly easy (and impressive) project, and also the very best tasting marshmallows you’re likely to ever eat. Below we offer so many tips on successfully making them, as well as options to flavor them!

Cubes of Paleo MarshmallowsPaleo Marshmallow Recipe

After so many of you successfully made our Homemade Marshmallow Fluff and loved it we knew it was time to get testing to make Paleo Marshmallows! It may seems a little daunting to think about making something like marshmallows, but truly it isn’t that hard. Making these marshmallows is not only a fun activity with impressive results, but seriously they are the BEST marshmallows you’ll ever have tasted–we promise.

What makes this gelatin marshmallow recipe different?

Our recipe is a little different than a lot of marshmallows out there. Aside from being made without any corn syrup and using only unrefined sugars to sweeten the marshmallows, our recipe is different because it includes egg whites, which is a classic French style. The addition of egg whites makes for a fluffier marshmallow that is easier to handle while you are making them. But don’t worry, the egg whites are cooked by the hot sugar syrup to a safe temperature. These fluffy marshmallows are melt-in-your-mouth delicious and are worth the (small) effort to make homemade.

Pouring beef gelatin marshmallows

Here are the Tools You Need for Homemade Marshmallows

Tips for Making Homemade Marshmallows

The first thing you need to know about making marshmallows is that you are making candy! You’ll be cooking up a very hot sugary syrup and then pouring it into beaten egg whites and softened gelatin and whipping them up until the whole mixture has transformed into a glossy stiff peaks. Then you place it in a starch dusted container and let it set before cutting.

  1. The size of the pan you use to make the square marshmallows depends on how big you would like your square marshmallows. For a smaller marshmallow squares use a half sheet pan, or a 9×13 pan. For larger marshmallows use an 8″x8″ or a 9″x9″ pan. Or alternatively you can make cylindrical marshmallows, which will need a sheet pan to hold the piped mixture.
  2. Prep your containers that you will be setting the marshmallows in ahead of time. You want to line them with parchment and vigorously dust with arrowroot or a combination of arrowroot/ powdered sugar. Don’t worry you won’t be eating all of this but it is merely to coat the sticky part of the marshmallow and you shake off any excess starch.
  3. The bowl and whisk attachment of your electric mixer must be cleaned well because if there is any grease in it, it will prevent the egg whites from whipping up properly.
  4. Use a mild flavored honey. A strong flavored honey, or raw honey will shine through more with a honey flavor (of course). We use a mixture of honey and maple syrup so that one flavor isn’t more dominate and the two together works more as a sweetener as opposed to be a flavor component.
  5. The added water in the sugar mixture helps the sugar come to a boil without burning. Put the water in the pot first, then the other two sweeteners. Do not stir the pot. Do not move the pot. You run the risk of crystallizing the sugar, especially because we aren’t using corn syrup.
  6. Make sure you handle the gelatin properly. You’ll want to let it bloom, or hydrate properly as the instructions indicate. The hot sugar syrup acts as the means to melt it so that it can fully incorporate in the marshmallow cream. It will set up after the mixture cools.
  7. You want your sugar mixture to reach the “soft ball” stage or 235ºF-240ºF. This stage gets it’s name from the fact that if you put a droplet of cold water into the boiling sugar, it will turn into a soft ball. This hot sugar mixture is what cooks the egg whites and turns it into marshmallows. If you didn’t have a thermometer you could theoretically test the doneness of the sugar by dropping it in water and watching the reaction, as described above.

Marshmallows made with Gluten free marshmallow recipe

Troubleshooting Tips for Paleo Marshmallows

  1. There are lumps in the bloomed gelatin: It wasn’t bloomed properly. You can try to remove the lumps of the gelatin, or if there are too many you should start over with the gelatin process.
  2. If the egg white mixture hasn’t thickened up: Either the sugar syrup was not the proper temperature, or you haven’t whipped the egg whites long enough, or possibly the bowl had some grease in it. So If it isn’t looking thick and glossy, try whipping longer. And of course use a thermometer to make sure the sweetener has boiled enough! U
  3. The marshmallows are too sticky to work with: Use more starch! Marshmallows are super sticky and you need to coat them in enough starch in order to handle them. You can always dust off the starch after you have finished cutting them, but know that if there isn’t enough starch on them before you go to store them they could end up a sticky mess, so go heavy handed with the starch.
  4. The marshmallows are very wet: The batter was likely under whipped.

Different marshmallow flavors

How to Store Paleo Marshmallows Made with Egg Whites?

Since there are egg whites in this recipes, this marshmallows cannot be stored indefinitely like marshmallows made with only sugar / corn syrup. Before storing, let the cut marshmallows “dry out” for at least 6 hours, or overnight. Store the well dusted marshmallows in an airtight bag / container for up to 1 week at room temperature. We doubt they will last that long anyways! If you find that the marshmallows have started to let out some moisture (which can happen naturally with homemade marshmallows, or sometimes the cause is under whipping the batter) take the marshmallows out of the bag and sift again with arrowroot and powdered sugar mixture and let dry before placing in another clean, dry container.

Options for Flavored Marshmallows

The possibilities are endless as to what you can add to the marshmallow cream mixture before you set, or even what you coat the marshmallows in at the end to flavor them. We tried out a few different add-in’s to flavor the marshmallows. Choose your add-in and fold them after the egg whites have thickened up. You can also divide the marshmallow mixture and make multiple flavors with one batch of marshmallows. You have to work quickly though because ones the marshmallow cream cools down it will set.

  • Freeze Dried Fruit: We tried strawberries but bet any freeze dried fruit will work well here. Start with 1/4 cup crushed freeze dried fruit.
  • Matcha Powder: About 1-2 tablespoons
  • Espresso Powder: Start with a teaspoon and add more if needed
  • Cinnamon: Start with 2 teaspoons and add more if needed)
  • Cocoa: Add about 1-2 tablespoons
  • Dried Ginger or Turmeric: Start with a 2 teaspoons for a batch
  • Mint Extract (a few drops) and Chocolate Chips

Instead of coating with arrowroot, try coating with:

  • Shredded Coconut
  • Crushed Nuts
  • Cocoa

Paleo marshmallows getting toasted

If you like this HOW TO recipe, check out these others:

How to Make Marshmallows

Prep Time 00:15 Cook Time 00:10 Inactive Time 04:00 Total Time 04:25 Yields Large batch

Ingredients

Directions

  1. To make square marshmallows: prepare a container for the marshmallows (see note). Lightly spray the container and then line it with two strips of parchment that fit the container to create a sling. Generously dust the container with arrowroot (or combo arrowroot and powdered sugar). Alternatively, to make traditional cylindrical marshmallows: line a sheet tray with parchment and generously dust with arrowroot. Set aside.
  2. In a clean mixing bowl for an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, add egg whites.
  3. In a large pot add ⅓ cup water, honey and maple syrup, in that order, being careful not to get any of the mixture on the sides of the pot. Turn the heat to medium and let the sugar mixture cook undisturbed.
  4. Meanwhile prepare gelatin: Add ½ cup water to a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over the water and mix to moisten the gelatin. Let bloom (or hydrate) for at least 5 minutes. Once bloomed, add to the egg white mixture and briefly whip until the mixture is homogenized and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  5. When the the sugar syrup has reached 240°F, remove from the heat and let cool slightly, or until it has stopped bubbling, about 1 minute.
  6. Then very slowly and carefully pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites bowl, hitting the side of the bowl if possible, in a thin, steady stream.
  7. Once all of the syrup is in, increase the speed and continue to whip for 10-12 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and glossy and the mixing bowl is mostly cooled.
  8. Add in vanilla extract and whip for one one more minute. If you are adding in any optional add-ins, add them now.
  9. For square marshmallows: Working quickly pour mixture into the prepared container and smooth over. Dust generously with more arrowroot and let set for at least 4 hours until cutting. To cut remove from the container and cut with a pizza cutter that is greased with coconut oil. Dust again all the cut sides with more arrowroot, shaking off excess. For cylindrical marshmallows: Fill a piping bag with a large circular tip (or simply cut a piping bag) with the marshmallow mixture and pipe it in lines the length of the sheet tray until all the mixture is gone. Dust generously with arrowroot. Let set for 4 hours at room temperature. Cut with a pizza cutter that is greased with coconut oil into cyridrical shapes. Dust more with arrowroot, shaking off the excess before storing.
  10. Let the cut marshmallows dry out for at least 6 hours before storing in an air tight container or bag. Store for up to 1 week.

Recipe Notes

  1. The size of the pan you use to make the square marshmallows depends on how big you would like your square marshmallows. For a smaller marshmallow squares use a half sheet pan, or a 9x13 pan. For larger marshmallows use an 8"x8" or a 9"x9" pan.
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

How to Naturally Dye Easter Eggs Using Food

There are so many options out there for natural Easter egg dye using ingredients you have already in your kitchen and we’re showing you some of the options we loved with tips, tricks, and more!

Naturally Dyed Easter eggs in cartonNatural Easter Egg Dye

Did you know that it is so easy to naturally dye Easter eggs with food ingredients you likely already have in your pantry? It will be no surprise if you’ve been on this website for a while that we love to switch out artificial colors and unnecessary chemical additions to foods as much as we can, like these Naturally Colored Buttercream and these plant based decorated Sugar Cookies. If we wouldn’t eat a product with a long list of ingredients we can’t recognize why would we add chemicals in the form of artificial dyes to the food we make at home?

Some might say that you are just dyeing the outside of the egg: but anybody who has ever colored eggs know more often than not that color seeps in through the shell and colors the egg. So making festive colored eggs with actual FOOD coloring is a no-brainer. And honestly, it’s so simple and so FUN to experiment. You can create unique looking eggs that even will change color over time, the longer they sit. Kids and adults alike will find this holiday craft turned science experiment so fun!

Results of natural Easter egg dye recipe

How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally

Take a look in your pantry! We used white eggs, but you can experiment with brown eggs as they will have a different effect. All the eggs you see in these photos were dyed with these four foods:

  • Beets (red/pink/brown): 1 large beet, diced + 2 cups water
  • Red Cabbage (blue): 1/2 red cabbage, sliced + 2 cups water
  • Red Onion Skins (deep orange/brown): Skins from 4 large onions + 2 cups water
  • Fresh or Dried Turmeric (yellow): 1/4 cup sliced fresh turmeric or 2 tablespoons dried + 2 cups water

Other natural color suggestions:

  • Blueberries (grey/blue): 2 cups frozen blueberries + 2 cups water (don’t boil this, just let it steep)
  • Carrots (orange/yellow): 3 large carrots, sliced + 2 cups water
  • Spinach or Parsley (green): 2 cups spinach or 1 bunch parsley + 2 cups water
  • Yellow Onion Skins (orange): Skins from 4 large onions + 2 cups water
  • Coffee (brown): 2 cups strong brewed coffee

Natural Easter egg dyes in jarsHere is what you need to know to naturally dye eggs:

  1. Make the boiled eggs. We recommend using the water boiling or steaming method. Check out this post here. We normally love the Instant Pot for steaming eggs, but not here. We don’t recommend using the Instant Pot for colored eggs because they are more likely to crack in the food coloring. Let the eggs cool completely before coloring.
  2. Bring the food item in 2 cups of water up to a boil, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and let cool. Once cool add 2 teaspoons of vinegar.
  3. Gently drop the white eggs in the color. They must be completely submerged.
  4. The longer the eggs sit in the color, the more brilliant the color will be. Letting the eggs soak overnight yielded the best color for us.
  5. When you are ready to take the eggs out of the color, place a clean kitchen towel down and gently pull out the eggs and place on the towel, or you could place them on a wire rack to prevent and the towel from wiping off any of the color. Let it air dry, do not rub it. If you’d like to dip the egg again to get a darker hue do that once it has dried. In addition, if you want to combine colors to make different hues (think coloring an egg first yellow, then blue=green) now is the time to do it.
  6. Once completely dry you can gently rub it with oil to help prevent the color from changing. We found that some of the eggs changed colors over a few days time (especially the beet one). Do them the day before Easter if you’d like them to be as close to the color as you want as possible.

Eggs dyed with natural egg dyeHow to Make Green Naturally Dyed Eggs:

To make green we first dyed the egg with turmeric (yellow) and then dyed it with red cabbage (blue) to make the egg green!

Do you have to use vinegar to dye eggs?

Yes! Without going into all the science behind it, the short answer is that the added acid from the white vinegar brings it to the correct pH level needed for the dye to adhere to the egg shell. The approximate amount of vinegar needed is about 1 teaspoon per 1 cup of dye. We experimented by adding more vinegar to some of our dyes and we got a cool spotted effect.

How to Make Different Effects on Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

  1. Add more vinegar: When we added more vinegar to the dye it created a bubbly effect which created the dots you see on our eggs.
  2. Dip for different lengths of time: You can try dipping the eggs for shorter periods of time. For our pink spotted eggs seen above we just briefly dipped the eggs in the beets for like 10 seconds and then let it dry.
  3. Double dipping eggs, depending on the different colors can create different effects. Honestly we had different results each time, so have fun experimenting.
  4. To create an ombre effect you can start dying a batch of eggs, and then every few hours take one of the eggs out of the dye.

Should eggs be cold or at room temperature for coloring?

You want both the boiled eggs and the natural dye to be cool during the dye process, so that not only do the eggs not overcook in the natural dye, but also for safety. Leave the eggs in the dye in the refrigerator overnight.

Natural Easter egg coloring

Don’t want to make your own dye but want to try naturally coloring eggs?

There are also a few different products on the market. Try these good brands:

Tools we used in this recipe:


Lastly, check out these other healthier Easter recipes:

How to Naturally Dye Easter Eggs
How to Naturally Dye Easter Eggs With Food

How to Make Stovetop Popcorn

Homemade popcorn is a thousand times better than any alternative and is really simple to make. We’re talking all about the magic of how to make stovetop popcorn at home (without any fancy equipment) that you can customize to your taste.

How do you make popcornHow to Make Stovetop Popcorn

If you’ve never made popcorn at home before, it may feel a little intimidating. Sure it’s easy to buy it premade, or even use packets you make in the microwave but I’m sure you can already guess what we’re going to say about that: it doesn’t taste even a fraction as delicious as homemade, it likely contains ingredients that aren’t that healthy and it’s expensive!

Making it at home is so economical (even the organic heirloom popcorn is inexpensive) and OF COURSE it tastes infinitely better–plus you can customize it at home to suit your tastes with different flavoring. We also talk about how to make Maple Kettle Corn over in this post, so be sure to check that one out too. Careful though, once you learn to make it once you might find it happening everyday!

Homemade popcorn

A word on what popcorn to buy:

We don’t always recommend buying organic everything, but corn crops in this country are often sprayed with harmful chemicals. With that said, we recommend buying an organic (and non-GMO) brand of popcorn, and there are many, and if possible choosing an heirloom variety. These are available in a lot of stores, and also on Amazon. We like the brand Tiny but Mighty or Arrowhead Mills.

What you need to make homemade popcorn:

  • Popcorn Kernels
  • Coconut Oil or Avocado Oil
  • A heavy bottomed pan with a tight fitting lid

Popcorn recipes

Tips for Making Homemade Popcorn

There are a few key factors to making sure you are successful at making homemade popcorn:

  1. Use a heavy bottom pan. A heavy pan conducts heat evenly and will ensure all the kernels will pop and that you won’t burn any popcorn.
  2. Don’t skimp on the oil! This recipe calls for 3 tablespoons coconut oil. It make seem like a lot but it is needed in order to create enough steam and heat in the pot to pop all the popcorn.
  3. Give the pan a good shake once the kernels have started rapidly popping. This ensures all the kernel pops.
  4. If at any point you see smoke–not steam, immediately turn down the heat. While this never happened during testing for us, if you accidentally cook it too high and the oil burns you’ll want to start over. This will flavor the the whole batch of popcorn like burnt.
  5. Keep the pan covered until the popping starts to slow down. Then you want to leave a small space to let the steam escape so you don’t get soggy popcorn.
  6. Season the popcorn after it’s cooked! Place it in a large bowl and immediately add the seasoning to the popcorn while it’s still hot.
  7. It’s best consumed while fresh.

Popcorn recipes

Toppings for Homemade Popcorn

  • Salt (under salted popcorn tastes bland)
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Butter or ghee
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Spices (garlic powder, chili powder, chipotle powder, cumin, celery salt, oregano, curry powder, cayenne)
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Grated parmesan
  • Truffle oil
  • Balsamic vinegar or white vinegar
  • Lime or lemon zest
  • Make it sweet: check out this post

How to make popcorn from corn

If you like this How To recipe, check out these others:


How to Make Stovetop Popcorn

Total Time 0:00

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • melted butter and salt, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the oil and two popcorn kernels and cover the pot.
  2. Once the popcorn has popped the oil is ready. Add the remaining popcorn kernels and return the cover. Remove the pot from the heat for 30 seconds. This ensures the oil doesn't overheat.
  3. Return the pan to heat. Give the pan a shake every few seconds as you wait for the popcorn to start popping. Once it starts to pop rapidly give the pan a good shake to make sure the kernels pop evenly.
  4. Once the popping has slowed down, and let the steam vent by moving the cover on the pan slightly.
  5. Once all the popping has stopped, pour into a large bowl.
  6. Add toppings while hot and toss until it coats the popcorn evenly.
  7. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

  1. You can use another oil such as avocado oil.
  2. If at any point you smell smoke, or you see smoke (not steam) shut off the heat. You will have to start over as the oil and kernels have burned and the smell will permeate the popcorn.
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

How to Make Crunchy Chickpeas

Crispy, crunchy chickpeas are an addicting little snack, and quite simple to make! We’re talking the basics on How to Make Crunchy Chickpeas that are perfect as snack, salad, or soup topper, and they’re gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan!

How to make chickpeas crunchyHow to Make Crunchy Chickpeas

Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans are one of those pantry staples that are so versatile in how they can be used. Chickpeas are great in soups, stews, salads and even baked goods but quite possibly the best way to eat them may be simply baked on their own with a little olive oil and salt until their nice and crunchy! You can optionally add in a little spice (and we suggest you do!) and they’re the best salty and savory snack out there. There are a just a few tricks you need to know How to Make Crunchy Chickpeas that we’ll be sharing today!

What kind of chickpeas?

We use the canned version! They’re so cheap and typically, unless you have a dietary restriction against beans (and in that case you probably would not have gotten this far into a bean post), they can be found already in your pantry! Likely this would work with beans cooked from dry as well, so long as the chickpeas haven’t been overcooked and still hold their shape.

How to roast chickpeas in the oven

How do you prep the chickpeas?

This is the most tediuos part of the recipe! The chickpeas need to be:

  • rinsed
  • drained
  • dried
  • take off any loose skin

What that means is that after you’ve rinsed and drained the chickpeas you’ll want to rub them dry between two clean kitchen towels. When you do this most of the skins from the chickpeas will come loose. Discard those. If you feel so inclined you can take a minute or two to take off the rest of the skins from the chickpeas that didn’t come loose. You pick up the chickpea and lightly pinch it and the skin will come loose. This isn’t strictly necessary but it does allow the chickpea to get ultra crispy in the oven.

Oven roasted chickpeas

Save the seasoning for later!

Roast the chickpeas with just oil and salt, and once they’re crispy add the seasoning and return to the oven for a few minutes. If you season them first, they spices can burn in the oven.

How to Store Crispy Chickpeas

They’re best the day that they are made, hot out of the oven! But they have the potential to get crispier as they cool. We’ve experimented with storing them a few different ways. We have found the best way to store them is to cool them outside of the oven and then once the oven has cooled a bit, leave them on the baking sheet uncovered inside of the closed oven overnight. The reason you take them out of the oven and then put them back inside is because you don’t want to keep cooking them, you just want to leave them inside of the closed oven to dry out. This isn’t essential, but a trick we accidentally discovered.After that overnight you can place them in a storage container. Otherwise you can store them for a few days at room temperature in a breathable container. This means a brown paper bag or a storage container with a loose seal. They become chewier (but still delicious) after they are cool. If you want to leave them in a sealed container they will soften slightly.

How to make crispy chickpeas

We used these tools in this recipe:

  • strainer
  • 2 clean kitchen towels
  • rimmed baking sheet

If you liked this how to recipe, check out these others:

How to Make Crunchy Chickpeas

Prep Time 00:05 Cook Time 00:45 Total Time 00:50 Yields 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 2-15oz cans chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoon oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • Zest from 1 lemon (optional)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas well. Place on a clean kitchen towel and rub the chickpeas dry. The skins will start to loosen. If desired you can remove any leftover chickpea skins still intact, but this is optional.
  3. Place dried chickpeas on a rimmed baking sheet. Add 1 tablespoon oil, salt and pepper and move around to evenly coat this chickpeas. Bake for 40 minutes.
  4. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, cumin, garlic powder and lemon zest. Continue baking for 5 minutes and remove from oven.
  5. Let cool.
  6. Store at room temperature in a breathable storage container (like a brown paper bag, or in a jar with a loose seal) for 3-5 days.

Recipe Notes

  1. Read post for extra tips.
  2. We've experimented with storing them a few different ways. We have found the best way to store them is to cool them outside of the oven and then once the oven has cooled a bit, leave them on the baking sheet uncovered inside of the closed oven overnight. The reason you take them out of the oven and then put them back inside is because you don't want to keep cooking them, you just want to leave them inside of the closed oven to dry out. This isn't essential, but a trick we accidentally discovered. Otherwise you can store them for a few days at room temperature in a breathable container. This means a brown paper bag or a storage container with a loose seal. They become chewier (but still delicious) after they are cool. If you want to leave them in a sealed container they will soften slightly.
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Corned Beef Brine Recipe (Nitrate Free!)

Corned Beef is more often purchased already brined than it is made at home, but using this easy Corned Beef Brine Recipe it’s so simple to DIY using our pickling spice mixture and beef brisket. We are skipping the nitrates and using whole ingredients you recognize and the best part is the taste of the final product is far superior than anything store-bought and is SO FUN to accomplish!

Brine brisket for corned beefCorned Beef Brine Recipe

Did you know that you could make your own corned beef at home, starting totally from scratch? It’s so easy when you use this Corned Beef Brine Recipe, we promise! And honestly it results in the best tasting corned beef that is so incredibly flavorful–and you control what goes it in instead of putting in some strange spice package of unknown ingredients. Plus it’s one of those cool things to be able to say that you know how to brine your own brisket, right?

What exactly is corned beef?

Let’s start here, because some of you may have some questions! Corned beef is really just beef that has been preserved with salt, also known as brining. It’s flavored with the salt, spices and a bit of a sweetener which essentially means that you are pickling it, so think of it like pickled beef! The name corned beef comes from an old English way of referring to large granules of salt as “corns”, and therefor it just means salted beef, and there is not actually corn involved.

Most commercially prepared corned beef contains saltpeter, also known as sodium nitrate. The sodium nitrate is a curing salt that contributes to the pink color and cured flavor of corned beef. It also prevent the meat from spoiling or going rancid while it is curing. However, since the meat is cooked after it is brined it is not essential to use it. The use of nitrates and nitrites are controversial as to whether or not they are harmful in cured meats because cured meats typically contain such a small amount, and on average a person consumes larger amounts of naturally occurring sodium nitrates in vegetables like spinach, beets, celery and others. But in 2010 nitrates were declared a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization, so when possible we avoid buying meat with added nitrates. So for this recipe we skip the sodium nitrate all together since it is not needed, and instead used beet root powder to color the meat, though this is optional.

How to brine corned beef

Why do we eat corned beef?

Corned beef is popularly cooked during the American celebration of all things Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. It can be called a corned beef dinner or a boiled dinner, which refers to the fact that corned beef is often slowly boiled with some vegetables. But if you dig a little deeper, our American tradition of corned beef actually has little to do with food that you might find in Ireland, and more to do with the corned brisket you would have found in a kosher Jewish deli at the turn of the century. Corned beef can also be thinly sliced and use in sandwiches such as pastrami, or then remade into several different recipes, like corned beef hash.

What is the best cut of meat for corned beef?

For this recipe we’re using a flat cut brisket! That cut of meat is ideal because it is contains a lot of fat (which equals flavor) and is generally tough, so the brining really helps transform it. You can also make corned beef from an eye round roast.

What is in the corned beef spice packet?

Honestly, anything can be in those spice packets that sometimes come with commercially produced corned beef. Which is why we advocate making your own (or buying a high quality one). For our corned beef pickling spice we use:

  • juniper berries
  • cinnamon
  • whole cloves
  • peppercorn
  • bay leaves
  • mustard seed

Corned beef brine

How long do you brine corned beef?

Traditionally brined corned beef with sodium nitrates can be brined for as long as 10 days. Because we were skipping it, we went with a smaller amount of time brining, about 5-6 days as there is enough salt in the brine to transform the meat in a shorter amount of days.

Why do you rinse corned beef?

This step is important! If the meat has been properly brined it has been infused with not only the flavor, but also the salt. Before you cook the meat you want to rinse it with cool water to remove all the excess salt. Similarly, you want to cook the corned beef in a ton of water to help bring out some of the salt. Don’t worry though ALL of the flavor of the spices is inside of the meat, and a properly brined beef doesn’t need additional spices during cooking because it’s infused inside of it.

best corned beef recipe

How do you cook corned beef?

Traditionally corned beef is brought to a boil on the stove top and simmered for a few hours. Vegetables like cabbage, potato and carrots are added into the pot and they’re boiled in the flavorful stock until just tender. Another method of cooking it would be in the slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours, depending on the size of the beef, and similarly vegetables added in. We’re talking all about how to cook it in the Instant Pot, which is our modern favorite way of cooking it over here in this post.

For this recipe, we used these tools:

  • Large pot
  • Plastic bag with a tight seal
  • Large container to hold curing beef

If you like this DIY recipe, check out these others:

Corned Beef Brisket Brine Recipe

Prep Time 00:10 Total Time 0:10 Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts water (preferably distilled / filtered)
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon mixed peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon juniper berries
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 3 dried or fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon beet root powder (optional, see note)
  • 3-4 lb. flat cut beef brisket

Directions

  1. In a large pot add all of the ingredients, except the beet root powder (if using), and bring to a boil. After all of the salt and sugar has dissolved shut off the heat.
  2. Let the mixture cool completely. You can let this happen naturally, or you can place the brine in an ice bath by placing the brine inside of a clean bowl and then placing that bowl inside of another bowl filled with ice water.
  3. Once the brine is cool place the beet root powder (if using) and brisket inside a 2 gallon plastic bag and place the bag inside of a large container that will catch any accidental drips. This container has to be able to fit inside of your refrigerator.
  4. Carefully pour all of the brine inside of the plastic bag and seal it. Lay the plastic bag flat inside of the container and place in your refrigerator for 5-6 days.
  5. Each day carefully turn the bag upside down to stir the brine and make sure all of the beef is submerged.
  6. Once ready to cook discard the brine and the spices and rinse the corned beef thoroughly.
  7. See this post for cooking instructions.

Recipe Notes

  1. Traditionally corned beef is cured using a salt that turns the brisket pink. We are purposefully skipping this salt, also known as sodium nitrate because it's been labeled a possible carcinogen and is not necessary in this recipe. Without the sodium nitrate the corned beef is rather gray. We experimented with adding beet root powder to help counteract that and found that the resulting corned beef wasn't super pink, but it did change the color a bit. This is totally optional, and might not be worth buying a package of beet root powder just for this purpose if you are never going to use it again.
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!