Tag Archives: side dishes

Cowboy Caviar

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy caviar. A dish that has nothing to do with caviar… or cowboys (except perhaps its Texas-origin). Sometimes called “Texas caviar,” this dish is simply made of fancied up black eyed peas. There are a vast number of such recipes that differ, person to person, or family to family (as is true with many good dishes!).

I had never heard of cowboy caviar, or Texas caviar, or black eyed pea salsa, until I met my husband. We were enjoying chips and salsa one day and he said, “You know, they used to have this black eyed pea salsa here in town that I loved! I haven’t been able to find it for years.” So I did a little inter-web-hunt, trying to see if I could figure out a homemade version.

I’ve found, and tried, numerous versions but the following is probably my favorite. You can eat this as a salsa, served with chips. You can eat it on its own as a side dish. You can even throw it in a salad or burrito!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar

Yields about 4 cups

one 15 ounce can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
one 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 large ear of corn)
1 small red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, diced small
2 medium roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cowboy Caviar


In a large bowl, combine the peas, beans, corn, bell pepper, tomato, onion, and jalapeño. Gently mix together.

In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, oregano, basil, and red chili flakes. Pour this sauce over the black eyed pea mixture, then fold together until well combined. Add salt and pepper to your liking, as well as the chopped cilantro.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve as a side dish, or even as a salsa with your preferred chips.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cowboy Caviar

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cowboy Caviar

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cowboy Caviar

Meatless Monday: Cilantro Lime Rice

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cilantro Lime Rice

I was born and raised in Hawai’i… do you know what that means? Sunshine, every-day-beach-days, warmth, perfect weather, deliriously gorgeous scenery, fresh picked fruits and freshly caught fish? Yes, all those things. But also… rice. Rice with most any, every, meal. Duhhh.

As a child, we’d have rice with cheesy eggs, spam/sausage/bacon/vienna sausage, maybe toast for breakfast. Sometimes fried rice took the place of plainly steamed white rice. One of my “chores” was sometimes to cook rice to accompany dinner (using this method of course, in the rice cooker that took up residence on our kitchen counter for as long as I can remember). Even now, at nearly 30-years-old, I’d prefer rice in the place of potatoes or cornbread like my Southern-born husband usually craves.

However, plainly steamed rice can get old quickly. The following recipe is an excellent solution to embellishing plain rice. For one thing, it’s bright green in color. But aside from color along, it’s flavorful. This rice is far from boring and has taken the place of numerous rice dishes in my kitchen over the last couple weeks. I enjoy it in burritos, veggie tacos, on its own in a bowl with other Mexican-type toppings, or topped with an over-easy egg.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro Lime Rice

Serves 6-8


2 cups long grain white rice
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 a large onion, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large bunch of cilantro, tough stems removed
juice and zest from one lime
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 cup olive oil

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cilantro Lime Rice


Fill a medium sized pot with the water, teaspoon of salt, and butter. Bring to a rolling boil. Stir in the rice. When the mixture comes back up to boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20-25 minutes, until all the water is absorbed.

While the rice is cooking, prepare the sauce. Combine the onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice and zest, rice vinegar, salt and red chili flakes in a high speed blender. Blend until smooth. Reduce the speed to low and drizzle in the oil until well combined. The sauce will become somewhat creamy looking.

When all the liquid has evaporated in the rice, remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Fold in the cilantro sauce until everything is evenly coated. Serve immediately while warm.

You can enjoy this rice on its own, as a side dish with your favorite beans, in a burrito or taco, etc.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cilantro Lime Rice

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cilantro Lime Rice

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cilantro Lime Rice

Meatless Monday: Creamy Vegan Coconut Pumpkin Soup


Things I especially love about this time of year are plentiful.  While the days are noticeably shorter, there is still daylight. And in that daylight, there are still  warm hours of the day. I can still get by with wearing tank tops and shorts without feeling like a crazy person. The leaves have been vibrant shades of orange, red and yellow, for a while now. Our fall has been mild so far; it’s obviously here — the trees are threatening to go bare, while brightly colored leaves litter the street; the mornings and evenings are cold enough for light sweaters and we’ve turned the heat on a few times now. Today has been wet and overcast, seeming ominous about the winter that slowly approaches.

Soup weather. I have never been someone who gets really excited about soup. Its taken almost three decades to grow any appreciation at all. Yesterday, however, it’s precisely what felt needed and the anticipation of cooking something that would bring warmth into the house and fill our home with the scent of homey, earthy food seemed necessary. Since our friends Ray and Janet shared some of their homegrown pumpkins with us again this year, I knew I wanted to experiment with a pumpkin soup (although I say every year that I will not succumb to the pumpkin-flavored-scented-whatever-everything-anything).

This soup is creamy and filling while remaining completely vegan. The beans add a fullness to the soup, while the coconut lends a bit of sweetness. It’s perfect for this time of year!


Creamy Vegan Coconut Pumpkin Soup

Serves 8 – 1o people.

One 4-pound cooking pumpkin
1/4 cup coconut manna
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1- 15 ounce can cannellini beans
4 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1- 13.66 ounce can full-fat coconut milk



Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and membranous threads. Cut each half into four or five strips, following the natural vertical stripes along the sides of the pumpkin. Use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to peel the outer skin from the pumpkin. Dice into 1-inch cubes.

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil and coconut manna together over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until translucent (5-7 minutes).

Stir in the salt, coriander, pepper, cubed pumpkin, cannellini beans, broth and bay leaf. Cover and cook until the pumpkin is fork-tender (15-20 minutes). Once the pumpkin is fall-apart tender, remove the bay leaf and then puree the soup until smooth (you may have to do this in batches if working with a smaller blender or food processor).

Return the pureed soup to the stove over low heat. Stir in the coconut milk and vinegar, heating until the soup reaches your desired serving temperature. Serve while hot, topped with fresh black pepper and/or a bit of plain yogurt or sour cream (dairy-free versions of either of those will keep this soup completely vegan).


Loaded Baked Potato Salad

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Ever since I was little, when it came to potato salad, I’d be the first one to wrinkle up my nose in disgust. UGH! POTATOES! was my general feeling. Did I have any good reasons? No, but I didn’t care. French fries and potato chips didn’t count as potatoes in my mind. Baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, potato salad, on the other hand… No thank you very much. My distaste for potato salad was two-fold, however. First, it was made primarily of potatoes. (DUH.) Second, it was also heavily laden with mayonnaise. Another “food” I both wouldn’t and couldn’t make myself eat. (Unless it was in my mom’s Hawaiian style potato-macaroni salad, with homemade Japanese pickled cucumbers!)

In college, however, one of my girlfriends had a chef for a father and she often cooked in our dorm kitchen as well. I remember it being close to the end of the school year and she’d been asked to bring a couple dishes to a party event. She made a huge sheet of blondies topped with fresh raspberries and candied pecans and a potato salad, wherein she roasted all of the potatoes before cooling them and mixing them into a salad.

I realized that the potato salads I have not enjoyed in the the past simply lacked a lot of flavor. The potatoes weren’t salted enough when cooked, the mayonnaise was the only prominent taste, there wasn’t much added to the salad overall to make it feel like more than potatoes and mayo… So stealing from my girlfriend’s idea, I decided to attempt a potato salad that carried a lot of flavor. I wanted to roast the potatoes with a lot of garlic, then put together a potato salad that was reminiscent of a loaded baked potato — you know, the ones that have sour cream, chives, bacon, cheddar cheese, etc. This potato salad doesn’t lack in flavor! It’s great on its own or as a side to your favorite picnic dishes.

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Loaded Baked Potato Salad

6 cups cubed red potatoes (about 4 large potatoes)
10 cloves garlic, minced finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
4 strips seitan bacon, cooked until crisp then broken into small pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegenaise
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 ounces sharp cheddar, grated
1/2 cup chives, chopped
salt to taste


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the cubed potatoes, minced garlic, olive oil, teaspoon of salt, one and a half teaspoons creole seasoning and the half teaspoon granulated garlic until all the potatoes are evenly coated. Spread on one or two large baking sheets in a single layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until fork-tender, flipping halfway through the cooking time. Allow the potatoes to cool to room temperature.


While the potatoes are baking, prepare the dressing. Whisk together the sour cream, vegenaise, apple cider vinegar, granulated garlic, creole seasoning and pepper until thoroughly combined.

Place the cooled potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add in the prepared dressing, grated cheddar and chives. Gently fold together until well mixed. Taste and add salt to your liking. Cover and refrigerate until cold before serving.

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Baked Artichoke Squares


In the food world, I understand that Thanksgiving is a big deal. There are so many dishes to give your attention to, so much time to spend on preparing and planning. This year, however, Thanksgiving was a small ordeal for us. Dinner included my husband, mother in-law, and myself. My husband’s birthday was the Friday following Thanksgiving and we had plans to go out of town with the kids for the weekend. That trip meant we would either have to freeze the majority of our leftovers or give them away… or plan on less food to begin with, decreasing the liklihood of leftovers.

I cut down the menu I had originally planned, but managed to make too much food anyway. We had the usual Tofurky roast, which I think I’d like to skip all together next year. My mother in law had also picked up Trader Joe’s vegan turkey roast so we had that as well. We planned to pack leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches for the road the following morning, so the vast amounts of veggie meat wasn’t too overwhelming. Our table hosted some of the usual dishes – mashed potatoes, vegetarian mushroom gravy, homemade cranberry apple grape sauce, stuffing… When I modified my original menu, I figured appetizers weren’t really necessary, but there was one dish I couldn’t talk myself out of making.

This recipe for baked artichoke squares has been floating around my brain since I first saw it, nearly a year ago. Since artichokes and cheese are often pretty big hits around our house, I thought this would be a perfect small dish to include as an appetizer. The recipe is easy and as it turns out – the final product is absolutely delicious. These squares are similar to a crustless quiche and thus served in the same way – warm or at room temperature. I am certainly adding this to my (short)list of go-to appetizers and quick, simple side dishes. I encourage the same for you!


Baked Artichoke Squares

Makes 16 squares

Recipe adapted from Shutterbean (Tracy Benjamin)

Two 6 oz. jars marinated artichoke hearts
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
4 eggs
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon sriracha or tabasco
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups extra sharp white cheddar, shredded
salt and pepper
cooking spray



Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.  Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with the cooking spray, then set it aside.

Add the juice from one jar of marinated artichoke hearts to a skillet.  Add in the onions and garlic, then saute over medium-high heat until the onions are translucent.


Discard the juice from the remaining jar of artichoke hearts, then roughly chop up all of the artichoke hearts.  Beat together the eggs and sriracha/tabasco.  Stir in the breadcrumbs, artichoke hearts, oregano, basil, onion mixture, and cheese.

Evenly spread the mixture into your prepared pan.  Bake for 30 minutes (until completely set and golden on top).  Let the pan cool briefly, then cut into squares.  Serve at room temperature or warm for best flavor.