Book Nook: Brendan Brazier’s Black-Eyed Pea Cayenne Salsa

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Need a little help getting that high-energy spring into your step? Professional Ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier’s Black-Eyed Pea Cayenne Salsa is sure to give you a nutrient, energy, and flavor booster.

Any well-stocked pantry will have most of the ingredients—I only had to pick up two items from the store: fresh cilantro and black-eyed peas. Preparation was a snap, but do plan ahead because you’ll want to let the flavors mingle for a few hours before eating. I wrapped up several spoonfuls of the salsa into dinosaur kale leaves as the recipe suggests, and they were truly teranasauriffic!

My only complaint is that the salsa wasn’t as spicy as I expected, which was probably my fault for using the cayenne and chili flakes I had on hand (who knows how old they were?) rather than stopping by the bulk spice bins at my local co-op (in my experience, the most budget-friendly and tasty way to get fresh spices in small amounts).

It keeps for up to a week, so you may even want to double the recipe and enjoy the bounty for lunch on the go (tip: don’t fill leafy wraps until just before eating or they’ll get soggy). I packed mine for a leisurely bike ride along the Pacific. Hey, I’m no professional Ironman triathlete, but I did bike down to the beach path, walk across the sand, and wade into the ocean (if only up to my knees). I then feasted on these cute no-utensils-required wraps, perfect for a beach picnic or any outdoor adventure.

For more of Brendan Brazier’s tasty recipes, visit, where you can download a free recipe book. And, for a taste of Brendan’s food philosophy, check out VT‘s One on One interview with Brazier in the May/June2009 issue where he shares his insights on the vital links between nutrition, wellness, and athletic performance.

Black-Eyed Pea Cayenne Salsa

Makes about 2 cups

A spicy, nourishing salsa that goes well with Curry Lentil Crackers (see below). Or try wrapping in a leaf of dinosaur kale.

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tomato, diced

1/2 onion, diced

1 cup black-eyed peas

1 cup coarsely chopped or torn cilantro

1 Tbs. hemp oil

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. chili flakes

1/4 tsp. sea salt

In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Allow to sit for a few hours at room temperature so that the flavors infuse.

Keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Curry Lentil Crackers

Makes 2 servings.

A meal in themselves, these crackers combined with Black-Eyed Pea Cayenne Salsa (see above) will deliver a large amount of nutrition in a compact form.

1/4 cup chickpea flour

1/4 cup cooked or sprouted lentils

1/4 cup ground sunflower seeds

2 Tbs. balsalmic vinegar

1 Tbs. coconut oil

2 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. agave nectar

Sea salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a food processor, process all ingredients.

2. Lightly oil a baking tray with coconut oil. Spread mixture on baking tray as thinly as possible. (Or, if you prefer slightly thicker crackers, don’t spread as thin and bake for about 10 minutes longer.) Each recipe makes enough dough to fill approximately one standard-size (11-X15-inch) baking tray.

3. Score mixture with a knife to mark desired cracker size before baking. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool.

Recipes reprinted from Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life.

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