Baja Bowl

I just got these new coconut bowls and was inspired to fill them with something colourful! This bowl is bursting with Mexican flavours. Black forbidden rice provides a platform for tamari roasted yams, chickpeas, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and quick pickled onions, topped with cilantro chili lime vinaigrette and chipotle lime cashew aioli! Start the quick pickled onions the day before or at least 2 hours prior to assembling these bowls. If you are interested, these eco friendly bowls are from coconutbowls.com and are made from reclaimed shells that are tossed into landfill.




Makes 4 bowls


  • 1 can of organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 ripe but firm avocados, peeled and sliced or cubed
  • romaine lettuce, washed and torn
  • 20 cherry tomatoes (either halved and raw or roasted for the last 10 min. with the yams)
  • 1 1/2 cup of uncooked forbidden black rice
  • 2 medium sized yams, peeled and sliced diagonally into 1/4 in. slices
  • 3 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. of tamari
  • 1 recipe of quick pickled onions (recipe follows)
  • one recipe of cilantro chili lime vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • one recipe of chipotle lime cashew aioli (recipe follows)

Quick Pickled onions:

  • 11/2 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. of pink himalayan salt
  • 1 medium sized red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

Combine all ingredients in a 2 cup mason jar. Press the onions down to submerge them into the pickling liquid. Allow them to marinate for at least 2 hours.




Roasted Yams:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Either slice the yams into thin ovals or french fry like strips. Toss the yams with 3 tbsp. of olive oil and 2 tbsp. of tamari. Spread onto a cookie sheet and bake for 30-40 min., turning a few times as they bake to ensure that they are evenly browned and tender when pierced with a fork.  If you want to roast the tomatoes, toss them in a little oil and throw them in with the yams for the last 10 min. or so.




The Rice:

Combine 11/2 cups of black forbidden rice with 3 cups of water in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 40 min. or until all of the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. This rice tends to be a little chewier than regular rice when cooked. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 15 min. covered.

Cilantro chili lime dressing:

  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. of yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp. of maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 of a chopped and seeded jalapeno pepper (less if don’t like spice)
  • 1 cup of gently packed, washed, fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. of pink himalayan salt
  • 1/2 cup of avocado oil or any other light tasting oil

In your blender combine the garlic, mustard, maple syrup, lime juice, cilantro and salt. With the motor running, add the oil in a steady stream until well combined. Set aside.




Chipotle lime aioli:

  • 3/4 cup of raw cashews soaked in water for at least 2 hours
  • 1/4 cup of avocado oil or another light tasting oil
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp. of fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. of pink himalayan salt
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper packed in adobo sauce (more to taste if desired)

Combine all of the ingredients in a high speed blender. Blend until silky smooth. Adjust the seasonings if desired.






The final assembly!!!

Distribute the rice into four bowls. Artfully arrange the romaine leaves, roasted yams, tomatoes, sliced avocado, chickpeas, and pickled onions on top of the forbidden rice. Drizzle generous amounts of the cilantro chili lime vinaigrette and the chipotle lime cashew aioli on top. Top with fresh cilantro!



Nicoise Salad with Chickpea of the Sea

Nicoise salad originated in the French city of Nice. I have substituted a chickpea salad for the tuna but have otherwise stuck to the traditional ingredients that include potatoes, tomatoes, steamed green beans and olives. This is a perfect summer salad drizzled with plenty of balsamic olive oil vinaigrette. Left over Chickpea salad is delicious as a  spread on toast or crackers!




Chickpea of the Sea Salad:

  • 1 19 oz. can of organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup of chopped dill pickles
  • 1 tsp. of dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup of vegan mayonnaise or cashew mayonnaise (see recipe below)
  • 1 tsp. celery salt
  • 1 tsp. powdered kelp
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • a pinch of red chili flakes

Process the chickpeas in a food processor until chopped but not mushy.  Pulse to crush the chick peas but still keep some texture.


By hand, stir in the chopped celery, dill pickles, dijon, mayonnaise, celery salt, kelp, apple cider vinegar, and chili flakes. Stir well to combine. Adjust the flavours by adding more vinegar or celery salt if desired. Set aside.





Cashew Mayo:

  • 3/4 cup of raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
  • 1/4 cup of avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard

Drain the soaked cashews. Blend well with the rest of the ingredients until silky smooth.Store in a sealed container in the fridge.

Balsamic Olive Oil Vinaigrette:

  • 2 Tbsp. raw honey
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. pink himalayan salt
  • several cracks of fresh pepper
  • 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Whisk everything together in a small bowl. Set aside.

The Salad:

  • 1/2 cup of kalamata or green olives (your choice) halved
  • lots of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 lb. of fresh green beans, steamed until tender
  • 1 lb. of baby potatoes, halved and roasted in a 400 degree oven for 30 min. or until browned and tender.
  • lots of butter lettuce

Arrange the butter lettuce on plates. Put a big dollop of the Chick Pea Salad mixture in the centre of each plate. Artfully arrange the roasted potatoes, steamed green beans, halved tomatoes and olives around the chick pea mixture. Drizzle with a generous amount of the balsamic dressing and lots of fresh cracked pepper to serve!

Chickpea Puttanesca with Spaghetti Squash and Arugula

Classic Puttanesca flavours: fire roasted tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers, red onion, garlic, red chilis, and balsamic vinegar, nestled in a bed of spaghetti squash! I used canned fire roasted tomatoes and canned organic chickpeas in this dish which makes it really quick to prepare. The spaghetti squash is cut and baked in rounds to create a nest for the chickpeas.






Serves 2

The Squash:

  • 1 medium sized spaghetti squash cut into 1 in. thick rounds. Remove the seeds with a spoon.




Preheat the oven to 350 F. Arrange the squash rounds on an oiled cookie sheet. Season with a sprinkling of salt and fresh ground pepper. Bake for 30 min. or until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork. While the squash is baking, prepare the Puttanesca.

The Sauce:

  • 1 398ml can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
  • 11/2 tsp. himalayan pink salt
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. capers
  • 10-12 kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. red chilli flakes
  • 1 398 ml can of organic chickpeas (instructions for cooking your own below)
  • fresh basil to garnish
  • arugula to garnish.
  • extra virgin olive oil and fresh cracked pepper to garnish

In a large saucepan, saute onion with 3 Tbsp. of olive oil and 1/2 tsp. of the salt until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, saute a few minutes more.  Add the can of fire roasted tomatoes, capers, olives, vinegar, chilli flakes, and the remaining tsp. of salt. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cooked chickpeas and simmer 5 minutes more. Taste to adjust the seasonings, adding more salt and chilli if desired. Turn off the heat and set aside while you prepare the squash.

  • If you are cooking your own chickpeas, soak chickpeas in plenty of fresh water and a pinch of baking soda for 8 hours. The baking soda helps to tenderize the chickpeas. Drain and rinse the beans. Combine the drained beans with more water and boil for 1-3 hours until very tender. The cooking time depends on the freshness of the dried beans.




Remove the cooked squash from the oven. Carefully pry the skin off with a fork separating the strands of squash as you  go to create a round nest. Arrange the nests on each plate. I used two rounds per serving, stacking one on top of the other to form a deeper nest.




Reheat the chickpeas. Spoon a heap of the Puttanesca chickpeas into the centre of each squash nest. Top with fresh chopped basil, a hand full of Arugula and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and fresh cracked pepper to serve!


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