With these three recipes, I’ve learned how to modify traditional Hispanic foods and make them 100% vegan, as well as gluten free.
Story by Miranda Barrera
Illustrations by Sonia Margolin
Growing up in Texas, Hispanic food surrounds us all. Foods like breakfast tacos, lunch tacos and traditional meals, such as chalupas with Spanish rice embody the Hispanic culture of Texas. However, for people like me who eat plant-based food, we sometimes miss an egg, beef, bacon-filled refried beans or a chicken taco. With modified recipes, I have been able to find the enjoyment of eating traditional Spanish foods again, while maintaining my vegan diet.
I have three favorite recipes that I have learned to modify to my lifestyle: vegan chorizo and egg tacos, mushroom fajita tacos and chalupas with Spanish rice. All three recipes include homemade ingredients with the exception of the tofu used for the chorizo. All recipes below include homemade corn tortillas, although store-bought are just fine, as well as homemade refried beans, fresh vegetables, salsa and a homemade “cheese.”
All these ingredients are very important to me because of my Hispanic upbringing. All the meals I grew up eating included salsa, cheese, corn tortillas and refried beans. I grew up at my grandparent’s Mexican restaurant eating various types of meals filled with refried beans made with lard, dairy cheese and flour tortillas made with gluten and lard. Foods with these ingredients had always been some of my favorites so it was hard to imagine not ever eating them again. Luckily, with a little research and cooking experiments I have come up with delicious meals that remind of when I was a kid.
Vegan chorizo and egg breakfast taco ingredients
- 1 block Tofu, extra firm, 12oz.
- ½ lb. Mushrooms, finely chopped
- 6 Chile guajillo, dried, seeded
- 2 Chile ancho, dried, seeded
- 4 Chile de arbol, dried
- 4 cloves Garlic
- 1 tbsp. Oregano, dried
- ½ tsp. Cumin, ground
- 2 Cloves, whole
- 1 tbsp. Paprika, ground
- ½ tsp. Coriander, ground
- ¼ cup Apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp. Vegetable oil, optional
- Remove the tofu from package and place it between two small plates. Place a can on top of the plates and leave for 30 minutes.
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Remove the stems and seeds from the chilies. Drop the chilies into the boiling water. Turn heat down to the lowest setting and let the chilies sit in the water for 10 minutes.
- Remove the chilies from the water and place in a blender. Reserve ½ cup of the chili soaking liquid.
- Add the garlic, oregano, cumin, cloves, paprika, coriander, apple cider vinegar, and ¼ cup of soaking liquid to the blender and process until smooth. If necessary, add the remaining ¼ cup of the soaking liquid to get things moving in the blender.
- Season the chili mixture with salt and pepper and pass through a fine strainer. Set aside.
- Drain the water from the tofu and crumble with your hands into a large bowl. Pour half of the pureed chili mixture into the bowl with the tofu and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Heat a large sauté pan to high heat and add 1 tbsp. of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the finely chopped mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms begin to brown, about 6-7 minutes.
- Lower heat to medium-low and pour in the remaining half of the chili mixture. Stir and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to absorb the chili mixture. Remove from pan and place in a large bowl.
- Heat a non-stick sauté pan set to medium heat and add 1 tbsp. of oil. Add the tofu mixture and continue to cook until the liquid begins to evaporate and the tofu becomes crispy, 7-8 minutes. You can make the tofu as crispy as you like. (Be careful not to overcrowd the pan or the tofu will never get crispy.)
- Pour cooked tofu mixture into the bowl with the mushrooms and mix well to combine.
Note: I also like to mix in charro beans with the chorizo and top it with avocado slices, wrapped in a corn tortilla.
Mushroom “fajita” taco ingredients
- Corn tortillas (store-bought or homemade)
- Refried beans (Santiago brand)
- Portabella mushrooms and spinach of any brand (sautéed with extra light olive oil)
- Salsa (Mateo’s brand)
- Homemade “cheese” (recipe below)
- Pour as many beans as you want into a big cooking pot and add water until beans are covered.
- Set temperature to medium.
- Continuously stir beans until the preferred consistency is reached.
- Mix in Himalayan pink salt and extra light olive oil for flavoring, to taste.
- Cook beans until they have reached your desired flavor and consistency.
Homemade “cheese” ingredients
- 1 cup of diced yellow potatoes (peeled if desired)
- ¼ cup of diced carrots
- 1/3 cup chopped white onion
- ¾ cup of water
- ½ cup of raw cashews
- ¼ cup of coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon of salt (or more for taste)
- ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 pinch of paprika
- Boil the diced potatoes, carrots and onions until soft.
- Put potatoes, carrots and onions in a blender and add in the remaining ingredients.
- Blend until desired consistency.
Note: After all the preparation, I warm my corn tortilla either in the microwave or on the stove and put the refried beans on, then the mushrooms and spinach, and top it off with avocado, salsa, and cheese.
- Toasted corn tortillas
- Homemade refried beans (preparation listed above)
- Homemade “cheese” (preparation listed above)
- Chopped greens and tomato
- Salsa (listed above)
- Put corn tortillas spread out on a cookie sheet and brush lightly with olive oil.
- Bake the tortillas in a preheated oven of 400 degrees.
- Let bake for about 8 minutes or until desired crispiness is reached.
- After the tortillas are ready, add the remaining ingredients on top.
Spanish Rice ingredients
- 1 cup of long grain rice
- 1 can of diced stewed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup diced bell pepper
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 2 -3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Cumin
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2-3 tsp sea salt (add more or less to taste)
- 1 1/2 cups of warm water
- Sauté rice, onion and bell pepper on medium heat with olive oil to toast lightly. Do not overcook.
- After sautéing is done, lower heat and add stewed tomatoes, water and spices.
- Stir once and cover steamer for 15 minutes on low to medium heat.
- Bring rice to simmer.
- After 15 minutes, remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes before opening lid.
Note: Once everything is done, I top my chalupas with the rest of the ingredients and enjoy with a side of rice.