Making Lunch At Kapievi Eco Village And Playing With Monkeys

Making Lunch At Kapievi Eco Village And Playing With Monkeys
Heather Nicholds, C.H.N.

Phil and I stayed at an amazing lodge, Kapievi Eco Village, near Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon, and offered to make lunch one day for everyone.

I made an avocado-dressed potato salad to start, then lentil burgers topped with mango salsa and an orange-dressed apple-beet salad on the side, and finished off with chocolate krinkles.

Potato Salad Recipe

Prep time:
Makes Makes enough for 10 people

I tried to think of things I could make with foods that were available in the area. It was tricky cooking for 10 people, but I had lots of help so it all turned out well.

I also wanted to make some things that people would find rich and satisfying as a vegan meal. All of the meals at Kapievi are vegetarian, and they were very good at making my plate without any dairy or eggs, but sometimes people don’t realize how easy it is to make things vegan.

The burgers didn’t come out as burger-like as I had hoped, because I used cooked cracked wheat and lentils so they were really moist. It would have been great with rolled oats instead of the cooked wheat, but I didn’t have any.

It tasted great, though, and everyone enjoyed their meal so that’s what matters.

Roxanne, the wonderful chef who made us so many amazing meals, used the beet cooking water to make a delicious beet-pineapple juice.

The next day, I went to volunteer at an animal rescue center down the road, which was an amazing experience. I tried to capture some of it on video for you.

The center was started by a wonderfully friendly and welcoming woman named Magali in 2005, to help rehabilitate injured animals and reintroduce to the wild animals who had been kept illegally as pets.

I worked with one of Magali’s staff members, Jose, for the day, starting with cleaning out the pig pen which got me totally covered in mud because the pig, Pancha, fell in love with me and wanting nothing more than to rub and wrap herself around my legs.

We also had to chase after the mischievous Monkey (that’s her name, she’s a red howler monkey, one of a group of a few in the shelter) who was stealing fruit and bothering some visiting students.

We took the little pig, Camilla, for a walk to play in some mud, guarded the bird while he ate so that the monkeys wouldn’t steal his food, and supervised a play date between Pancha and Camilla as they learn to get to know each other.

After lunch, we took a little break to swing in some hammocks, and Monkey had calmed right down and decided to crawl into my hammock and lie on my stomach. FYI – monkeys don’t seem to be ticklish… Monkey actually loved having her armpit tickled. She wouldn’t leave me for the rest of the afternoon.

I hope you enjoy the video – it was a magical week in the Amazon Basin.

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  • 5 cups potatoes, scrubbed or peeled and diced
  • 1 large cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup green onion, choped
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, mint, basil or any other herb
  • 1 avocado
  • sea salt, to taste


  1. Boil the potatoes until they’re just soft.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing by pureeing the avocado with half of the green onion, the fresh herbs and salt to taste. Use just enough water to create a creamy dressing. This works best in a food processor, since you can use less water, but a blender will work. You just have to shake or scrape down the sides frequently.
  3. Once the potatoes are soft, drain them and toss with the cucumber, the rest of the green onion and the dressing. Taste, and add a pinch of salt if you need to.

Lentil Burgers Recipe

Prep time:
Makes enough for 10 people

*NOTE: the measurements listed below, especially those for the spices, are approximate. I didn’t measure when I was making the burgers, so please adjust the amounts to your taste.

Also, as I mentioned, I made these with cooked cracked wheat, but I’m listing the recipe with rolled oats because I know it will make a much better burger. The measurement of the rolled oats is an estimate based on many previous burgers I’ve made, but let me know how much you use if you make these.

If you want to make them with cracked wheat, or another cooked grain, the texture is great to use as kind of a thick stew. I used about 3 cups of cracked wheat and cooked it with the lentils. We wound up serving part of this just as is, without making it into burgers, and it was fantastic.


  • 2 cups lentils
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 1-2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • black pepper, to taste
  • sea salt, to taste


  1. Boil the lentils until they’re just soft.
  2. Meanwhile, grate the carrots and make the mango salsa (below).
  3. Once the lentils are soft, drain them and toss with the oats (start with 1 cup, and add more – it also depends on how moist the lentils are), carrots and spices, adjusting to taste.
  4. Once you have the texture and flavor you want, form them into patties and you can either bake or fry them. To bake, put them on a lined baking sheet in the oven at about 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes. To fry, heat a pan to medium-high and then add a bit of oil and fry the burgers for 7-10 minutes on each side.
  5. Serve the burgers topped with the mango salsa.

Mango Salsa Recipe

Prep time:
Makes enough for 10 people


  • 6 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large mango, diced
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, basil or mint, chopped
  • 4 small limes, zested and juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed (optional)
  • sea salt, to taste


  1. Toss everything together in a bowl. The flavor is best if you leave this to sit for at least 30 minutes, so make it early in the meal prep.

Beet-Apple Salad With Orange Dressing Recipe

Prep time:30 minutes
Makes enough for 10 people


  • 5 cups beets, peeled and diced
  • 2 oranges, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • pinch sea salt
  • 5 apples, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup Brazil nuts, chopped


  1. Boil the beets until they’re soft.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the orange juice, zest, olive oil and salt to combine.
  3. Once the beets are soft, drain them (reserve the cooking water to make the juice below if you want) and toss with the apple, avocado and dressing.
  4. Serve the salad alongside the burgers, topped with the chopped nuts.

Chocolate Krinkle Recipe

Prep time:
Makes more than enough for 10 people


  • 250g dark chocolate (pure baker’s chocolate or a really high % dark)
  • unrefined sugar, to taste
  • 4 cups (approx) puffed cereal (rice, quinoa, millet, etc)


  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (bowl above a pot of boiling water) or on a burner on low (be careful not to burn the chocolate).
  2. Take the chocolate off the heat once it’s melted and smooth, and stir in some unrefined sugar (coconut sugar or sucanat are my favorites) if you need to. If you use baker’s chocolate you’ll most likely want some sweetener, but if you use a dark chocolate bar you don’t need any.
  3. Stir in enough puffed cereal to get it coated with chocolate, and not leave too much extra chocolate.
  4. Spoon the mixture onto a tray lined with wax or parchment paper, and put it in the fridge for the krinkles to set.

Beet-Pineapple Juice Recipe

Prep time:
Makes enough for 10 people


  • beet cooking water
  • pineapple juice


  1. Mix together equal parts of the beet water and pineapple juice, and chill in the fridge or with ice cubes.

Do you ever cook for large groups? Share your favorite dishes to make in large quantities below.


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