Author: Jason Cisneros

Latin Flavors Vegan Style

My Mom is a great cook – her tamales, wrapped in banana leaves, are filled with pork, or chicken with cheese or vegetables, and are made in her kitchen with all the family pitching in. When I think of Christmas, I think of tamales, and when I think of vegan ingredients – I wonder what would happen with only plant-based ingredients.

It turns out, I am not alone! I am a research analyst and writer, living in the Hudson Valley less than an hour from New York City, and I’m going on an adventure between now and the holidays to find great vegan Spanish, Latin American, Caribbean, and Mexican restaurants – or restaurants that offer vegan options on their menu.

Before heading out, I did my research and found a surprising number of vegan and plant-based recipes shared by chefs and food writers and am sharing with you as part of the launch of our new magazine on Global Vegan Day.

We Are Cocina shares five Latin American vegan dishes with all the tastes and spices but no animal or dairy ingredients.

Tamales bowls are look the most delicious to me – a modern take…

“Tamales are traditional Mexican treats that consist of blended corn (called masa), steamed inside a corn husk. They are labor intensive and delicious. This recipe takes some of the pain out of constructing an army of tamales and doesn’t contain any pork fat, as tamales typically do.

Use a pre-made polenta roll cut in pads as the base of the tamale bowl. Then cover in a cooked sauce of tomato, onion, chili pepper, and vegan cheese. They aren’t quite the real deal, but are damn close, and even a fun snack to get the kids involved in constructing themselves.”

Live Kindly shares chef favorites, and my favorite is the Venezuelan Arepas of Venezuelan chef and food creative, Mercedes Golip, writing:

“By learning to make arepas at home, I have connected with my roots on a different level through a practice that is becoming almost obsolete in Venezuela and that I feel is important to preserve as part of our heritage, especially as a Venezuelan-American in the context of a growing diaspora.”

Get the recipe here.

One Green Planet recently posted fifteen recipes, making it impossible for me to choose the one with the most potential for my tastes! But food blogger Lena Novak’s vegan black bean empanadas look mouthwatering.

Spelt Empanadas, stuffed with Black Beans, Corn & Red pepper, served with Fresh Salsa & Cashew Sour Cream!

There are many Latin American foods which have always been vegan, and those which are made possible by innovations for example that Cashew Sour Cream, and an array of plant-based cheeses.

In my next post, I’ll share a review of Ja Ja Mexicana vegan restaurant in New York City. I’ll treat my Mom to dinner there – she deserves it after so many tamales. I’ll ask her to create her own version of a vegan/plant-based tamale and share her recipe just in time for tamale season!

Enjoy World Vegan day – and every day with a healthier lifestyle and more mindful way to live.