Bean Town

The roasted chickpea arrives Stateside

The roasted chickpea is to countries around the world what peanuts and popcorn are to the USA.

The chickpea has a particularly strong hold in North Africa, where it is known as leblebi, prepared in a style exported from Turkey. In Tunisia, the nutrient-packed legumes are incorporated into soups and stews flavored with harissa. More commonly, they're eaten on their own, seasoned with just a bit of salt or some spices, as a snack.

Now the Good Bean is bringing that tradition Stateside. Launched this summer in California's Bay Area, the line currently offers four flavors of roasted chickpeas ($19 for six bags): sea salt, smoky lime, cinnamon and cracked pepper. The simply dressed sea-salt version bears the closest resemblance to its leblebi brethren; with a savory crunch and a mild nutty quality, it satisfies like a potato chip.

Those with a sweet tooth should opt for the cinnamon-dusted iteration, which straddles the line between snack and dessert.

And in a stroke of great luck, roasted chickpeas from the Good Bean are startlingly healthful: They boast the same amount of protein as an egg.

How pea-fect.