Saturday, February 24, 2024

Vegan recipes to make at home in Mexico

Now that you’ve read our favorite tips on shopping vegan in Mexico, it’s time to learn how to make the most of them, with some delicious recipes from Sofía Toraño, a vegan chef based in Mexico City. We’re starting off with our most magical and multifaceted ingredients: mushrooms, chickpeas, tofu, and nopales. Sofía shares how to add more flavor and variety to your diet while making the most out of the fresh and incredible food that is so easily available in Mexico.

“All cultures share the necessity to eat,” says Sofía. “In Mexico, we are very culturally drawn to celebrations, parties, and “sobremesas.” We spend a lot of time at the table sharing food … Our lives literally rotate around food.”

Mushrooms, as we’ve said, are your best friends when substituting meat, as they have very versatile textures – plus, they add amazing flavor to any dish. 

  • You can prepare them as non-vegans would normally prepare meat to make yourself some delicious tacos. 
  • Sofía’s favorite is “mushroom barbacoa.” Barbacoa is a traditional Mexican meat dish (usually lamb, but occasionally goat or beef), steam-cooked in an underground oven with a wide variety of spices until it is very soft. Today, the term is also used for a similar preparation on a stovetop or slow cooker. 

Find yourself your favorite barbacoa recipe and use mushrooms instead, but keep in mind that they cook quite fast in comparison to meat. 

Chickpeas are your go-to protein and mineral source. They are one of Sofía’s kitchen staples.

 An easy and yummy way to use chickpeas is to make yourself spreads and hummus. 

  • Put them in a blender and add: Tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil, and you’ve got yourself a very easy hummus to snack on for a week. 
  • For a Mexican twist, you can add some cilantro and substitute the lemon juice for lime juice.
  • Feel free to improvise by adding in your favorite herbs, oils, or other flavors! 

Tofu is one of the most versatile ingredients in your fridge. You can have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even dessert. Apart from being healthy and delicious, it will provide you with much-needed protein. 

  • Scrambled tofu instead of scrambled eggs. Cook it exactly as you would eggs, on a pan in the morning. Great and full-of-protein start to the day.
  • Spread on bread, put in tortillas, or on top of nopales. 

Vegan chocolate mousse, with tofu

Decorate your mousse with your favorite fruit. (Unpslash)

Ingredients:

  • Soft tofu
  • melted chocolate of your choice (vegan, of course)
  • your favorite plant-based syrup. Sofía suggests maple, agave, or date syrup.

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until everything is mixed. Serve with fresh berries or seasonal fruit. Enjoy a perfectly smooth and sweet vegan chocolate mousse!

Nopales, prickly pear cacti, are also a great all-around ingredient, not to mention indispensable in traditional Mexican cuisine. Some people are put off by the juice, or slime, that they exude when cooked, but there is any easy way to get rid of it before you start cooking.

When raw, cut a nopal into pieces (or leave whole) and put it in a bowl. Add 2 spoonfuls of salt, mix it up, and let it sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, run the nopal pieces under cold water, rinsing as many times as possible for the slime to come off.

Nopal tacos

Mix of cooked nopales, tomato cubes, small pieces of onion, and cilantro. Add a little bit of salt, pepper, and salsa of your choice. Put this mix inside your preferred tortilla, and you have yourself a quite traditional and delicious taco. 

Sopes de nopal

Ingredients:

  • Nopales (whole)
  • Refried beans (or beans of your choice)
  • Onions
  • Tofu

For this recipe, your nopales will serve as a sope, or thick tortilla, so you should leave them whole. 

After washing them properly, put them on a pan, or better yet, a comal, and let them cook/roast for a while. Flip them over when they’ve been grilled to your preference. Once they’ve blackened a bit, spread a layer of refried beans (or beans of your choice) on top. Add small pieces of onion, and if you want, top it off with some tofu. Some salt and pepper, and you’ve prepared very easy, quick, and tasty nopal sopes

For a less Mexican, but equally delicious and easy recipe, Sofía suggests a vegan bolognese pasta. This is a wonderful recipe to use up all the leftover veggies inside your fridge. 

Ingredients:

  • Veggie leftovers in your fridge (onion, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms). Any will do, but onion and mushroom add some extra flavor!
  • Salt and pepper, or any of your preferred spices
  • Olive oil
  • Tomato sauce
  • Pasta

Put all the veggies in a blender or food processor and add some salt and pepper. Once you have your mix, put it in a pan with some olive oil on medium heat. Stir frequently, and add in your preferred spices. Let it brown a little bit. Next, pour your tomato sauce into the pan. When the sauce and the veggie mix have mixed properly, add it to your pasta. 

This is also a good recipe for people who need to include more veggies into their diet, as well as for vegans or plant-based diet consumers who are tired of eating a lot of vegetables separately. It’s also good for tricking children into eating their vegetables!

Besides the dessert and the breakfast ideas we’ve provided, here’s a very easy vegan pancake recipe:

Ingredients:

  • one and a half bananas
  • one cup oats 
  • one cup plant-based milk 

Put all of this in a blender and whizz. Once you have your mix, use the batter to make pancakes in a hot pan.

As vegans, Sofía says, “there’s an even greater necessity to create new recipes in new shapes and forms, in order to maintain that tradition.”

Use this new year and these recipes you’ve just added to your cookbook as an opportunity to gather around a table with people you love, try new things, and most importantly – eat deliciously.

You can find more on Sofía’s instagram profile: @alcachofffa, where she frequently posts tips and easy recipes.

Montserrat Castro Gómez is a freelance writer and translator from Querétaro, México.

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