Chickpeas are one of those foods that I've tried tricking myself into enjoying. I don't hate them. I enjoy them when blitzed into something completely unrecognizable, like hummus, but other than that I tolerate them at best. Yes, apparently you can roast/bake them into a healthier salty crunchy snack. I've tried it before and haven't had success yet. But apparently TJ's did it.
The packaging reminds me a little of the squirrel scene in Willy Wonka. Cute but perhaps a bit creepy.
I'm also not sure how impressed my in-laws would be with this snack. And if there was any mystery to how TJ's achieved maximal crunchiness - those chickpeas are FRIED. Of course, frying is the easiest way to make something taste good.
First impression - this is one of those snacks where the smell hits you first. Artificial ranch, like the stuff from an envelope you use for making a ranch dip (vaguely ranch. I tasted the buttermilk, the onion, and some generic herbs but nothing that screams ranch). The size and crunchiness remind me corn nuts, except corn nuts have a more satisfying mouthfeel and crunch. These crunched like a stale snack. It might not be a staleness due to age but rather how the chickpeas are prepared (every batch of roasted chickpeas I made came out with a stale chewiness). Not a particularly satisfying crunch in my opinion. It's not too salty. It's savory enough but nothing you write home about. It definitely carries a nice nuttiness that I do like about chickpeas, but ranch definitely would not be my first flavor choice. It didn't really do much to highlight, complement, or even disguise the chickpea flavor.
I didn't really look forward to eating these, but I ate them because they were there. Actually, the more I ate them, the more I liked them. Not really so much because they were delicious but because this is a concept I could get on board with. I could tolerate a stale crispness to satisfy my salty crunchy cravings with some added protein and fiber, especially if they were to come out with better flavor combinations. But let's be real...if I'm truly craving the salty crunchies, only the real stuff will do.
Until then at $2.99 for a bag? I pass on the repurchase. Wouldn't recommend as a must-buy but it might be potentially worth trying if you're into healthy-ish snacks.
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Ranch Seasoned Crispy Chickpeas. Squirrel snacks. Ehh..I'm pretty sure the squirrels would pass on these. Fried chickpeas with a dusting of vague ranch. 5 out of 10.