Chopped/Vegan...And the winner is....

June 26, 2012 at 1:40pm

This was so much fun but also such a difficult decision! Over 100 delicious entries came in. I’m going to announce the winner but first I have to do that thing where I say that you’re all winners. But I really do mean it! Most people had lots of fun with this challenge and learned a little something along the way. Yes, you probably learned about balance and flavor profiles, but I’m hoping you also found out what you’re made of.


Now, without further ado, the winner of Chopped/Vegan, the person who we think combined blackeyed peas, fresh mint, blackberries and bittersweet chocolate in the most creative and tasty way, is Kim Espinoza for her....


Vegan Cacao Encrusted "Salmon" with Blackberry Apricot Sauce!!!!



Why? Because we felt that she did the best job of transforming the ingredients in a way that no one else did. The “salmon” is made from a cutlet of black eyed peas, rubbed in chocolate and pink peppercorn and then grilled. And the sauce is made from blackberries, apricots and mint.


The only drawback (as a judge, I must critique) is that it’s not the prettiest presentation, but there is one shot in which the dish is shaped like a fish and so a few extra points for effort!


Kim, please contact me ( for your $50 Vegan Essentials gift certificate, a signed copy of any of my books, and a PPK apron! And anything else I feel like throwing in.


The most difficult part was trying to differentiate good PICS from good presentation. Most chefs aren’t photographers and it was really hard to judge a blurry pic no matter how creative and yummy it sounded. On the flip side, a few of the most beautiful pics maybe weren’t creative I said, this was really really hard!


But we do have a few runner-ups to give shout outs to, and I want to thank everyone who participated. It was so inspiring to see entry after entry rolling in, and absolutely none of them were glossed over. Everyone had so much creativity and passion that in the end it just came down to the dish we couldn’t stop thinking about. And if there is one thing I’ve learned it’s this: I absolutely MUST make Blackberry Chocolate BBQ Sauce!


So thanks for playing everyone, thanks to our judges Katie and Jess, and we will do a dessert round in July. In the meantime, we’d love to know: who would you have picked as the winner and why?




You all knocked our socks off and were heavily considered as the winner. We can’t wait to see what you come up with next! Sorry you aren’t tagged, it was too tough to go back and tag everyone from the facebook status. I’ll figure out a better way to do it next time.


Black-Eyed Pea Mole Cakes with Blackberry Mint Salsa

So enticing and beautiful. We would each like a plate, please!


Blackberry Curry with Black-eyed Pea Mint Hummus & Cocoa Rice

No one else did anything remotely like this and simply put, we want to eat this!


Three Sisters Molé Enchiladas with Blackberry Salsa

Comes with a little food history lessoning. Fun to read! And sounds yummy, too.


Black-eyed Pea Pizza crust, Blackberry Tomato chutney w/ Cauliflower, and Spinach Blackberry Mint Salad.

So very pretty! High marks for presentation.


Chocolate Crusted Tofu with Fresh Greens and Creamy Black Eyed Pea Dressing

This was a serious contender! Awesome presentation, very creative and yummy sounding. It was hard to chop this one!


Portobello Steaks with Bittersweet Blackberry BBQ Sauce, Black Eyed Rutabaga Puree, and Green Bean Salad with Mint Gremolata

This photo had our mouths watering.


Black Eyed Pea-Stuffed Blackberry Arepas with Chocolate Mole and Mint Cilantro Pico de Gallo

We were all intrigued by the use of blackberry juice in the arepa dough. Definitely original!


Honorable mentions: These dishes stood out for one reason or another.


Healthy Black-Eyed Pea Enchiladas with Mole Sauce & Mango Mint Salsa

Gorgeous. Fun. Yummy.


Chocolate Chipolte Polenta, with Coconut Huacatay Sauce and Black Eyed Pea Salad

This would win the presentation award...if there were one.


Indian-Oaxacan explosion of flavor and color

We want this in our face. NOW. The presentation was...interesting.


Black eyed pea croquette with a Chocolate-Blackberry Coulis

Maybe just because the judges have a collective crush on the Vegan Zombie. Not that the food doesn’t look good! But it was more of an app and that is why we had to chop you.


Blackberry Blintzes w/Chocolate Sauce & Savory Sausages w/Mint

Breakfast, babies, bribery and a cat! Of course this is an honorable mention.


Black Celebration Pasta: Black linguine with black-eyed pea balls with blackberry Marinara

Looks good AND an awesome title!

This is a tumblr created just for Chopped Vegan, by Beth, who made 4 amazing sounding dishes over the course of 4 days.


Black-Eyed Pea Tacos with Mole Sauce & Fruit Salsa

A lot of people made delicious sounding tacos, but these were the prettiest!


Chili-chocolate black eyed peas and collard greens, blackberry-chipotle cornbread, and a blackberry and jicama salad with lime and mint

This made me shout out loud “That’s forking brilliant!” because of the blackberry cornbread (I later saw another blackberry cornbread, but that thought didn’t even cross my mind.)


Best desserts because either you didn’t read or didn’t care about the rules:


Cajun black-eyed peas with tomatoes, side of sweet potatoes, cucumber and a mint-chocolate-blackberry yogurt

We admired the sticktoitiveness! A failure and then a triumph. This is what life and most Oprah book club novels are about.


Black Eyed Peas, Mushrooms, and Brussels Sprouts Chiffonade with Chopped Blackberries and Mint Gremolata

This photo is so GORGEOUS it almost tricked us into believing it was the winner. And of course it sounds delcious, too.


Pistachio Toasted Coconut and Mint Crushed Tempeh with a Drizzled Blackberry Mint Reduction, Lemon Mint Sugar Snap Peas and Mojito Black Eyes Peas, Topped with Shaved Bittersweet Chocolate

This one had the opposite problem. Everything sounded SO good, and the chef is obviously talented and went all out (there is even a drink!) but it’s hard to tell what’s going on and so the presentation did it in. But please come cook for us?


Mole-Swirled Hush Puppies, Black-Eyed Pea Chops with Blackberry-Chipotle Glaze and Collards in a Balsamic-Mint Reduction

Another one that very well might have won if the presentation were a bit more clear! Sounds really really REALLY inticing.


Vegan Chopped Entry: Black-eyed Pea Patty on Mashed Potatoes with Blackberry-Chocolate BBQ Sauce and Mint Cucumber Relish

There were a lot of blackberry chocolate BBQ sauces. This one stood out!


Blackberry Lobia Kofta w/ Chocolate-Tamarind and Mint Chutneys

High marks for creativity. He went all out! There’s even a kofta! But the cheftestant says that it didn’t taste that good (hey LIE to us Alex!)


Chocolate Pasta with Black Eye Pea Filling and Blackberry Mint Sauce

Your homemade chocolate pasta did not go unappreciated!