Achiote Chickpea and Brown Rice Bowl Recipe

Achiote Chickpea and Brown Rice Bowl Recipe

Prep15 minutes
Cook20 minutes


  • 3 cups cooked chickpea beans
  • 50 grs. annatto paste/ achiote paste
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • salt
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 2 cups of water

For Serving:


  • pickled onion (recipe follows)
  • diced pineapple
  • cilantro
  • habanero sauce or other hot sauce


  1. Blend the achiote paste, the orange juice, the vinegar and the garlic cloves with a pinch of salt.
  2. Add the chickpeas to a pan with a lid and pour the sauce over. Cover and leave over low heat for about 20 min. If the sauce dries, you could add a bit of water.
  3. In the mean time, add the cup of rice and two cups of water to a pot, cover and cook as usual.
  4. Check the chickpeas for seasoning, adjust if necessary and remove from the heat.

Serve over a bowl of brown rice and top with chopped pineapple, cilantro and quick pickled purple onion.

Instructions for quick pickled onion:


  1. Boil two cups of water with a tablespoon of dried oregano and one bay leaf.
  2. When boiling, turn off the heat and add one thinly sliced purple onion.
  3. Cover the pot and let it cool.
  4. When completely cooled, drain the water and add the juice of two limes and a generous pinch of salt.

I love food, love to eat and everything that revolves around it. The culture, the people, the traditions and the traditional dishes. But most of all I love the simple, daily street food. This dish of chickpeas in achiote sauce and brown rice bowl is inspired by the traditional Mexican street food “tacos al pastor.” Tacos al pastor are made of pork and consist of marinating the meat in a mixture of chilis and achiote paste, then layering the pieces one on top of the other, and at last slowly cooking it on a vertical grill. When done, the meat is sliced and served over corn tortillas and topped with chopped pineapple, cilantro, onions, and spicy sauce. It does not get more Mexican than this.

But even though I love street food I know it is not healthy or smart, money wise speaking, to eat out every day. So I thought of a better way of enjoying these flavors but in a healthier and more practical way.

For this recipe I used cooked chickpeas reheated in an orange juice and achiote sauce, served them over brown rice and top them with chopped cilantro, pineapple, and pickled onion. I try to always have a jar of pickled onions in my fridge: they give an extra layer of crunchiness and flavor to every thing they touch. You can easily find the achiote paste (also known as recado rojo) in any Latin or Mexican supermarket.




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