Tag Archives: pigeon peas

KarmaFree Cooking 1st Cooking Class Recap

28 Jan

You asked for it… and we heard you.

Last December we held our first KarmaFree Cooking class at the Centro Cultural Yoga Devanand kitchens.  A delicious vegetarian Puerto Rican Xmas menu designed to help the students discover and taste for themselves that traditional Xmas fare can be made vegetarian without losing any authenticity.


The menu included:

Rosemary Almonds

Can be enjoyed as an Appetizer or Salad Topper or even as a homemade gift.  It’s a true KarmaFree Cooking favorite.


Raw Yuca Pastelón – all the flavors of a traditional pastel in an easier to make format


Brown Rice and Pigeon Peas – a classic of Puerto Rican cuisine

Arroz con Gandules

Yautía Fritters – the flavors of  alcapurrias, but without the filling

Frituras Yautia 3

A not so typical Salad – including some non-traditional salad ingredients and a delicious Parsley Garlic Dressing

A New Salad

My version of Tembleque – the quick, easy and vegan dessert we all love

Tembleque My Way

We had a lovely time during our cooking class.  To be honest, this is the first time I have taught an official class.  I have shared my recipes with my friends many, many times, but never in a class setting.  I hope the students who participated enjoyed it as much as I did.



I would like to thank everyone who attended.  Some were personal friends, some are friends I have gotten to know thru the blog, others have been KarmaFree Cooking fans for a while…  I kinda felt like a celebrity when they told me that.  Your support and interest gets me going.  And it was real nice to have Adriana from Great Food 360 with us and specially to have her take the most awesome pics ever.  I need to ask Santa for a new camera STAT.

But I also want to send a special shout-out to my friend Angie… she was my co-instructor in this class and she ROCKED!!!  She’s my friend, but she was also one of my first vegetarian cooking teachers.  She was the “owner” of the Brown Rice and Pigeon Peas and Raw Yuca Pastelón Recipes.  We always talk recipes and it was a delight to have her on the team.


Also, a special thanks to my mom… she was the official picker-upper and was in charge of doing the dishes, helping us keep the space clean for the students to cook.  Goes to show you the value of having someone helping you keeping things tidy in the kitchen.

Please visit the links of the recipes in the class above… and stay tuned for our next class coming up on February 1st 

Pigeon Peas Escabeche

20 Feb

This is a recipe from my friend Jeanette Quiñones from Sazón Boricua

When she read about my fascination with the gandules Lula made for our recent baby shower, she told me she had a great recipe she always serves as an appetizer for parties and family gatherings. She offered to give it to me and you all… she only needed the pictures.

I am glad to have waited because the pictures are gorgeous!!!! I have not had time to make the recipe myself, but if you do, please feel free to write me a comment so we can all let Jeanette know how we feel about it. OK??


If you like to invite people over to your house and feel you always end up making the “same old, same old” appetizers as always, I invite you to make these pigeon peas in escabeche. It’s an easy and delicious alternative I am sure will please many.

escabeche de gandules 1


2 cans of green pigeon peas, drained (KarmaFree highly recommends organic brands)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 small bay leaves
2 tbs sofrito, optional
1 tsp of black peppercorns
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup white vinegar
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tsp salt
1 roasted red pepper, finely chopped
½ cup of pimento-stuffed olives
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
½ cup celery, chopped finely


  1. Cook the onion until translucent over about 2 tbs of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sofrito, peppercorns, vinegar, bay leaves and the rest of the olive oil. Take off the heat.
  2. On a separate bowl, add the roasted red pepper, olives, celery and jalapeño. Transfer the cooked sofrito mixture and add the drained pigeon peas to the bowl. Stir well to combine. Finally, add the fresh cilantro and season with salt.
  3. Let the mixture stand and macerate for at least 2 hours before serving them.


You can serve these pigeon peas with mini pita breads, pita chips, salted crackers, home-made tortilla chips or even as a filling for tostones made into small baskets, we call these tostones rellenos. I feel a class is coming up on how to make those… OK???

escabeche de gandules 023-001


Jeanette is the CEO and founder of Sazón Boricua. She started her blog from Puerto Rico on 2008 to share recipes, advice and tips for the home. She collaborates with Qué Rica Vida, has been selected as a Top Bloguera by LATISM 2012 and is also the founder of Red Bloguera de Puerto Rico. You can follow Jeanette on Facebook, on Twitter @sazon_boricua or via her blog Sazón Boricua. Contact her via email mensajes@sazonboricua.com.

Gandules de Lula

19 Dec

Inspired by the Shop Small movement… I want to encourage you to gift things that were made by you or someone you know. I am a small business owner and ever since becoming one I am a firm believer in helping out other small business owners.

Last weekend I took to my sister’s baby shower a batch of Gandul Antipasto, or Pigeon Peas Antipasto, made by Lula. Lula is a girl I know from where we get our mani/pedis done. She also can cook a mean gandul. Lula sells her Antipasto de Gandules from her home. Is a small operation, so if you call her to the number on the flyer, she can certainly hook you up with some.

gandulitos  KFC

These gandules were one of the HITS of my sister’s baby shower. Everyone thought I had made them and were asking me for the recipe. But no… I flew them in from Puerto Rico. I do not eat beans that much. You know this already… but these are DELICIOUS!! Tangy and savory with garlic and a touch of cilantro.


So if you’re interested, call LULA at 787-410-0630. Tell her Madelyn from KarmaFree Cooking sent you.


I’ll even go one step further and encourage you to give of YOURSELF this holiday season. Give your support, your time, your wisdom, your smile, your hugs, your shoulder… giving of yourself is so much meaningful than any bought gift you can ever give.

Let’s honor this season the way it’s supposed to be celebrated.

Merry Xmas…


Rice with Pigeon Peas – Arroz con Gandules

22 Dec

Rice with Pigeon Peas (Arroz con Gandules) is one of the quintessential Puerto Rican Xmas dishes.  Around this time, you can find fresh pigeon peas at the Farmer’s Markets or Plazas del Mercado.


2 cups of whole-grain rice
5 cups of water
2 tbs annatto oil
2 tbs sofrito
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups fresh pigeon peas – if they’re dry, you will need to soak them for about 2-3 hours before using them in the recipe
½ cup of stuffed Spanish olives
  1. Wash the rice well.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, add the annatto oil, vegetable cube, sofrito, olives and pigeon peas.  Sauté everything and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the washed rice to the pot.  Mix everything well to make sure the rice is coated with the oil and seasonings.
  4. Add the water and mix well.  Cook at medium heat for about 20-25 minutes until most of the water has evaporated.  Stir the rice and cover so the rice can finish cooking and all the water is absorbed.
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