Smoky Chickpeas with Olive-Cado Relish….and my thought process on writing recipes!

Smoky Chickpeas with Olive-Cado Relish….and my thought process on writing recipes!

When I shared a prior post on My Story, I got several questions from readers, a few of them asking how I come up with my recipes. I will try to explain my style and process a little bit on this post. Having a blog that focuses on creating recipes with just 8 ingredients or less is sometimes overwhelmingly, challenging. When I felt led to create this blog, I didn't think too long about how I would be able to do it.....I honestly just knew in my heart I would make it happen. I just knew it was destined, if you will. My hubby was so supportive and encouraging, even when I expressed my self-doubt at moments. Blogging can be tough and it can really play with your head. I thank my Mom for always being there for me and to help me refocus when I call her in a panic.

When I have a goal, I don't spend days and hours thinking about how I will get it done, I just take action immediately and know I will make it work. Sounds probably totally crazy to some of y'all, but that is how I have always been. If I think too much about it, I may not be bold enough and would possibly let fear creep in. So, to avoid that, I dive in head first all the time.

With each recipe, I get extremely excited over certain ideas that pop into my head and then the challenge (with some of them) is how I am going to keep it at 8 ingredients. Making it vegan, gluten-free and oil-free makes it rather difficult sometimes. The main reason is that gluten-free baking is never just one flour (like all-purpose) which makes the ingredient list build quickly. Then you add vegan to the mix and oil-free and 8 ingredients, and it can be chaotic sometimes. I've started so many recipes, only to come back to them a month or more later to figure it out.

I have to figure out how to make them have the same richness and moisture without eggs, oil or gluten. It takes several trials and changing things to get it there, but it makes me a better, more experienced baker that way. When making desserts, I strive for richness.

I recently read on another site where somebody posted about the vegan dessert not tasting all that great, "but it was healthy". Um, what is the point of that? Having a healthy tasting dessert is pointless to me. It's not going to satisfy your craving and you will just want more. If I want to taste something healthy, I will eat veggies. But when I want dessert, I want to enjoy it and not feel like it's missing something. To me, dessert should not be obvious that it's made with different ingredients. It should just be absolutely delicious and people love it so much, they don't care if it's vegan or not. Now, of course, some desserts are both rich tasting and on the healthy lines.

One major difference with my homemade desserts, is that they never make me feel sick afterwards, like traditional butter/sugar filled recipes used to. I know that is because the ingredients I use are whole food ingredients and do have some great nutrients/vitamins in them...they aren't just garbage ingredients. I love that I can eat them, feel satisfied and not feel sick afterwards or guilty! You should never feel guilty after eating, you should enjoy your food. If you make it homemade and with good ingredients, then you can really feel good about it!

So, all this talk about dessert and I am sharing a healthy savory recipe, hahaha! Sorry! But, hey, just go back to my previous post if you like and see my Pumpkin Pie Chocolate Chip Ice cream Sandwiches.

For this recipe, I chose chickpeas and flavored them simply with a smoky flair. I chose kalamata olives for the strong, bold salty and red wine flavor. I chose red bell peppers and roasted them for a slightly, sweet flavor and then avocado for the creaminess. All of these components are simply delicious together. I couldn't stop eating it.

The best part of this recipe is how versatile it is. You can use it in a tortilla wrap, or with chips as a "dip" (above), in a salad or as a filling in the mini baked pie crusts I did here in some of the photos. (That recipe will be coming too!) The mini pie crusts were a last minute idea and it turned out so delicious and would be great for a party because they are handheld and so pretty. I was sooooo thrilled to come up with this pie crust recipe finally, and I have both the savory version and a sweet version to share coming up. It's so easy too and rolls out just like regular dough. Or you can just use a 3.5 inch round cookie cutter to cut out premade tortillas. Press them into a greased muffin pan and bake for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees and then fill the cups!

I even drizzled a garlic tahini dressing on top of a couple of them...not needed, but so delicious!

So, whatever way you decide to use this recipe, I'd LOVE to hear about it! Come back here and leave feedback please, as I really love to keep permanent track of them. Also, I'd love to see your creative way to use this, so take a photo and tag me on Instagram @thevegan8 and don't forget my hashtag #thevegan8. I am getting totally blown away by all of your creativity. This past week, my lovely reader Liz made a double-layered cake out of my Sweet Potato Cinnamon Muffins and frosted it with cashew frosting, coconut sugar and walnuts. It was amazing!

Yields 6

Smoky Chickpeas with Olive-Cado Relish

A combo of bold, salty red wine Kalamata olives, creamy avocado, smoky chickpeas and sweet roasted red bell peppers packs an amazing punch of flavor. This combo could really be used any way you like. Eat it just with chips (my favorite!) or in a salad, wrap or mini baked pie crusts for an elegant presentation. Either way, you will love the bold flavors and how incredibly simple and fast it is to put together!

15 minPrep Time

12 minCook Time

27 minTotal Time

Recipe Image
Save RecipeSave Recipe

5 based on 1 review(s)


  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • Smoky Chickpeas
  • Two 13.5 oz boxes of chickpeas (or 3 cups cooked chickpeas, I buy mine from Whole Foods from a box and not a can)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (adjust to taste)
  • Remaining relish ingredients
  • 1 avocado chopped
  • 20 Kalamata olives, chopped


  1. Preheat an oven to 415 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Chop the bell peppers and spread out evenly on the pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper over them generously. Bake for 10-15 minutes until tender, but still firm. I removed mine at 12 minutes and they were perfect.
  2. While the bell peppers are roasting, prepare the chickpeas. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them to a small pot with all the spices and 1/4 cup of water. Stir well until mixed. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook just to heat through and remove once the water has basically evaporated. Taste and add any more seasoning if desired.Set aside.
  3. Chop the avocado and olives.
  4. Different ways to serve: 1. You can add everything to a bowl and toss together and eat with chips as a "dip". So good. 2. You can fill a tortilla wrap with the mixture and eat as tacos. 3. You can add the mixture to a salad to jazz it up. 4. Or, as in my photos, you can fill little baked pie crusts and serve as elegant appetizers, or just eat them yourself. I will be sharing my mini baked pie crust recipe soon, but in the meantime you can just get some regular tortillas and cut out circles with a 3.5 inch cookie cutter. Press them into a muffin pan and bake them at 400 degrees for about 5-10 minutes until they become crispy. Or add your own creative spin!


*Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, nut-free, low sugar

*Nutrition per serving: 195.6 calories, 9 g fat, 22.3 carbs, 6.8 g protein, 2.8 g sugars


  1. What a great idea! These would make great appetizer or just a great snack. Healthy and tastes good - great combo.
  2. This looks awesome! !! Great idea with the tortillas too. Then people can adjust to their dietary preferences. Love your blog!!!
      You are the sweetest Lili! Thank you so much for your comment, I really love to read the comments. I hope you make this and let me know if you do :)
  3. You amaze me more and more with each post I read!! I am in awe of your creativity and desire to make things happen. I'm the same way with ideas, I cannot sit on them too long I need to act RIGHT away. At times I can be impulsive, but I don't always think that's a bad thing.
      I love you Brittany! But YOU are the one that amazes me, seriously, I wish I could be superwoman mountain climber, daredevil like you! I'm in awe of you and really, truly hope to meet you one day. You are super awesome. xo
      Oh, and I agree....I'm super, duper impulsive. That is how I live and breathe and my best work usually comes about that way. Impulsive is exciting too!
  4. Love the combo of flavors!! On my list for soon as I come up for air from all these random recipe ideas that are popping into my head too. Lol! Great minds
      Thank you so much Sophia! I know how you feel...I was looking at my recipe book/notepad....(I have 3) and I swear, no lie, I must have about 40 recipes that I have started or finished that haven't made it on the blog. The amount of ideas come out of me in a very chaotic way, haha!
  5. This smoky chickpea salad looks delicious! I would love to eat this in a wrap for an easy lunch on the go :) Pinned! And what a wonderful post on veganizing desserts! "It takes several trials and changing things to get it there, but it makes me a better, more experienced baker that way" <-- This! I can totally relate to this and feel exactly the same way since I started baking exclusively vegan desserts :)
      Thank you so much Ceara!! I absolutely LOVE to bake and it's not a hassle to me at all with the repetitive trials, because it gives me confidence and satisfaction once I achieve a successful recipe. Cooking is easy, but baking is more challenging, which is precisely why I love it. I WANT to be challenged, period. :)
  6. LOOVE this! And of course my fav part is that the ingredient list isn't crazy and weird and I have to go to 5 different stores to find the ingredients. I love what you do!!
      Thank you so much Kritley, you are so sweet! Yep, this is super easy, tasty and so versatile and quick to throw together. Basic and simple!
  7. I know I'd love this- olives, avo, chickpeas and roasted red peppers are all delicious to me! As much as I love your sweet recipe, it's nice to see something savoury from you :) My problem with baking is that it really does take experimentation and often a lot of trials to get it right. When I'm cooking I can taste as I go! Much easier. We all appreciate your perseverance though so keep it up! xx
      Thank you Emma! Yes, you are right...lots of trials, but that is exactly why I love it! The more I practice and experiment, the better I come and the more I learn. I love to learn and it's so much fun for me. I have been cooking since I was a kid and it's always been so easy, so I love the challenge that baking honestly makes me feel fantastic and lifts my spirits. When I'm having a tough day, I just want to bake! :)
  8. These are adorable, Brandi, and so fresh! Totally agree with you on two points: dessert HAS to be mouthwatering! I don't eat it every day, so when I do, I want it to satisfy all of my cravings and sweet needs! And - I'm the same way when it comes to goals and ideas. I get completely hyper and focused and know what I want the end result to be, but not always sure how I'm going to get there :-).
      Thank you so much Annie!! Yes, girl....bring on the sweet, mouthwatering desserts!! I want to be wowed, period!
  9. I like the idea of smoky chickpeas never tried it before! This looks super delicious and is so healthy, so two pluses! Cheers Choc Chip Uru
      Thanks so much Uru!
  10. I MUST HAVE THIS!!!!!! MUST MUST MUST!! When I get home on Saturday, I am buying these ingredients and GOING FOR IT! I might roast the chickpeas first!
      Yay!!! A Gigi approved recipe....finally, hahaha! I can't wait to hear what you think friend! :)
  11. This is right up my alley! Goodness, I am an olive addict! Looks amazing, Brandi - can't wait to try this! I loved reading about your description of how dessert should be :) You're the queen of desserts!
      Aww thank you Mandy, you are so sweet! I'm sooo picky when it comes to desserts, haha!
  12. Hi! I made this tonight and it was delicious! We used it in a brown rice tortilla wrap with romaine lettuce...and added extra olives. Simple, full of flavor and so versatile. Great recipe! :)
      Woohoo, thank you so much for making it and coming back to leave feedback Mandy!! I'm so glad you loved it :) xo
  13. I loved hearing about your recipe process. So so so interesting. You are truly talented Brandi. This relish looks amazing too! I LOVE avocados, olives and chick peas. YUM!
      You are so sweet Melanie, thank you so much!
  14. I am proud of you Brandi for building this blog into something useful and meaningful, and I’m happy to know that your hubb and Mum are huge supporters! I only have mon petit ami, he is the only one that keeps the blog going especially when I have self doubts. Please continue creating these lovely masterpieces, Brandi, you have my support and I admire your bravery by creating almost all allergen-free goodies that we all can still feel satisfied and enjoy with love! FOOD = LOVE = FRESH INGREDIENTS. This looks like a lovely side and dip, I would eat this with chips or in a wrap, I love how refreshing it looks and the bold flavors you showcased. I’m not a fan of Kalamata olives though (as long as they are chopped finely), but mon petit ami loves these fresh ones!
  15. I just made this great Chickpea relish. I tried it as an hors d'oeuvre and soon decided to use it in my pita bread for lunch. It will soon be one of my favorite lunch sandwich.

Leave a comment

Rate this recipe: