Culture

Give Your Vegan Family Members Something To Eat At Noche Buena With These Amazing Dishes

Hola, hi, thank you so much for coming. Dear reader, I’ll be your vegan guide to an easy Noche Buena, where herbivores and omnivores alike leave happy. With Latinos being one of the fastest growing demographic of vegans, we know that you probably have at least a few more at your dinner table this year. I promise that most of us don’t even have any expectation that the host is going to accommodate our dietary needs. We’re Latinos, too, so we’re coming with a lot of baggage and guilt for the impending scene of turning down your food at Noche Buena. We really don’t want you to take it personally if it does happen.

The pressure is always on for the Noche Buena cena, but it doesn’t have to be any extra stress to invite your newly vegan prima.

@VeganNigerian / Twitter

You’re already making tostones, yucca, and mad mojo sauce. Here’s the thing. Vegans eat todo, except for animal products. So that means no meat, no eggs or dairy, boom. Think about how much of the food you make that is just straight up plants, , ice and beans. Facil.

Also white meat is still meat.

@CarDadReviews / Twitter

I can’t tell you how many times a sweet, sweet vieja offered me pollo after I told them ‘no como carne.’ I leave this truth that chicken is not a white vegetable with you either for some honest to God info or for laughs.

Your guest will probably bring one of these:

@fieldroast / Instagram

It’s called a vegan roast, and you can grab it at any Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. If you have and extra $15 to spare, it would blow your vegan’s mind to just have one of these ready. But don’t worry, here are a few things you could do exactly like normal and be the hostess with the mostest.

Ponche is puro vegan.

@PresleysPantry / Twitter

Cinnamon, apples, guava, y nada de animales. Oh, and rum is vegan too. Salud.

While we’re at it, coquito will never disappoint anyone.

@valkyrie_art / Twitter

The only coquito I know is made with coconut milk and it’s the only coquito I want to know. Why? It’s rico, and vegan.

Tostones are plants, yay! ????

@Rnbfeelgood / Twitter

Even though we all know, spiritually, tostones are manna from heaven. Physically, they come from the plátano tree. Praise tostones.

Beans are the moneyyy.

@celisemccarthy / Twitter

Even if you make your beans using pork fat, just pop open a can of Goya beans and heat them up. Your vegan will shed tears of gratitude (if they know what’s good for them).

Then, there are simple solutions to automatically veganize a few other dishes.

@thekitchn / Twitter

No first time vegan even thinks to ask about what stock you used and no long-time vegan will bother asking, because we get that it’s not the first thing on hosts’ minds. This simple swap will make some hearty dishes vegan, so your guest can fill up.

Pozole, por siempre.

@chicanoeats / Twitter

We can’t imagine a Noche Buena sin pozole and you don’t have to veganize the whole dish. Just set aside the chili paste and garnishes and let the veganita fill their bowl with veggie broth.

A major move is to just tell everyone what’s vegan and what’s not. You never know who the closet vegan is.

“Arroz Verde Green Rice | This green rice, or arroz verde, is so rich and full of flavor… not to mention the vibrant green color! You can pair this rice with any main dish! | http://thechunkychef.com” Digital Image. The Chunky Chef. 10 November 2018.

It’s super uncomfortable to ask any host the ingredients in their food. My first Noche Buena vegan, my mom was so sweet in replacing the chicken stock in her famous rice with veggie stock.

Instead of using dairy butter, just sub it with Earth Balance.

@Earth_Balance / Twitter

You truly won’t be able to taste the difference, and everyone’s bellies will thank you, too. Cholesterol can only be found in animal-based products, so your brother with the high blood pressure will thank you, too.

Don’t try to convince them to eat something porque “solo hay un poquito de mantequilla.”

@ohsnapitslili_ / Twitter

That works on your sister whose forever trying to diet, but, for vegans, the choice is based on a moral obligation for either animals, the planet, workers’ rights or their own health. Take their choices seriously and respect them, especially if they’re respecting yours.

Substitute milk with coconut milk in the champurrado.

@CoffeeFestShow / Twitter

I was lactose intolerant long before I went vegan, and I promise there are more of us around than you’d think. Most of us are in denial but you’ll be able to smell them a mile away later in the evening. Spare yourself.

Or if some dishes must be made with butter, just leave the butter on the side for folks to add themselves.

“Mashed Yuca with Mojo” Digital Image. Eating Well. 10 November 2018.

For every vegan, there’s a tío with a stomach of steel that’ll happily eat twice as much. Remember, somos Latinos. Nothing goes to waste.

One strategy is to skip assembling the sopes and let your guests do it themselves.

@bIueberryswamp / Twitter

That way everyone’s varying dietary needs can be met to suit them. Or maybe they just prefer ropa vieja instead of picadillo on their sope.

Are you my new mom and making mofongo this Noche Buena?

@veggiejeva / Twitter

Numbero uno: adopt me.

Numero dos: set the plantain base aside and let your veganos load up with all that delicious rice and beans you cooked up.

Don’t forget to remember what cooking oils you’re using.

@sall3n / Twitter

I know my tía will only cook with pork fat and understandably can’t remember if she fried the yucca in pork or coconut oil. These little details can open up your incredible cooking to the whole party.

Oh man, let’s talk pasteles.

@vickyscatering / Instagram

The holiest of foods. Frijoles or simply sofrito are always an easy, delicious filling. You can just tie them with a differently colored string and prepare to be adored and glorified.

Don’t forget dessert!

@santiac217 / Twitter

Another simple substitute like coconut milk in the arroz con leche instead of milk will make you a top level host. Just tell the family you’re making it Boricua style y por que no. Coconut milk is naturally sweeter than dairy milk, so the dessert will be sweeter and less heavy, perfect for your very stuffed guests.

Ultimately, only go as far as you want to to accommodate the vegans and vegetarians.

Will Ferrel Eating Gif / GIPHY

Don’t reach the point of resentment because, promise, it’s what we’re all most afraid of at family gatherings. We just want everyone to be happy, and usually bring food that will make us happy. Whether you make vegan pasteles or just tell the vegans that these three dishes are vegan, we’ll be happy. Because contrary to how we’re all raised, your self-worth isn’t in the food you make. We love you for reading this!


READ: Latino Food Is Getting The Vegan Makeover Thanks To These 11 Southern California Restaurants

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Nopales, The OG Ancestral Food We’ve Been Eating Since Waaaay Before Plant Based Foods Became Trendy

Culture

Nopales, The OG Ancestral Food We’ve Been Eating Since Waaaay Before Plant Based Foods Became Trendy

I can literally talk food until my babas drip. Don’t judge. The comelón life chose me and I’m not mad at it. Because growing up Latino meant breakfast wasn’t always cereal, and dinner wasn’t always mac and cheese. I grew up con más sabor en mis platillos than most Americans. And, at the time, I didn’t even realize that many of the foods my family was trying to get me to eat were ancestral foods. From chocolate to cocoa and chia to nopalitos, I blame los ancestros for my obsession with food and all the glorious ingredients that have been passed down for generations.

My knees already feel weak, fam, because today I’m gonna be talking nopalitos. Ya me estoy chupando los dedos, thinking back to how I grew up with these babies always in the refri in that Nopalitos jar, ready to be thrown into a sauce or encima de una carne asada. It turns out this soul-feeding food is one of the OG ancestral foods that have been used by our people for thousands of years. Ahí les va un poco de historia:

The Mexica introduced the world to the “fruit of the Earth.”

In Náhuatl, the word for nopal translates to “fruit of the Earth.” I don’t know what the Náhuatl word for “bomb-delicioso” is, but in my opinion, that should also be the name for nopales. And the Aztecs must have felt this way too because one of the most famous cities in the Aztec Empire – Tenochtitlán, the empire’s religious center – was named “prickly pear on a rock.” Iconic.

According to legend, the city was built after an Azteca priest spotted an eagle perched on a nopal plant, carrying a snake in its mouth. The priest, obviously extremadamente blown away by this, ran back to his village just so he could gather everyone to check out this crazy eagle with a snake in its mouth. As they watched, the cactus beneath the eagle grew into an island – eventually becoming Tenochtitlán. I’ll give you 3 seconds to just process that. 1…2…3. Please take more time if you need it. The image of the eagle carrying a snake, its golden talons perched on a nopal growing from a rock, can now be found on the Mexican flag.

Today, we know that the Mexica were right to call nopales the plant of life.

In Mexico, it’s still common to place a handful of nopal flowers in a bath to help relax achy muscles. And nopales are becoming more popular than ever in beauty treatments to help fight aging. But, y’all are too beautiful to be needing them for that, so let’s talk about what’s important — eating them.

There are so many ways you can mix this iconic ingredient into your meals.

We should all be eating our green foods. Your tía, your abuela, your primo, everyone…except your ex. Your ex can eat basura. I said what I said. But, nopalitos are especially important. These tenacious desert plants can be eaten raw, sautéed, pickled, grilled – they’re even used as pizza toppings. Though for some people, nopales – with their spines and texture – can be intimidating. After cutting off the spines and edges, and cutting them into slices, they will bleed a clear slime. But boiling for 20 minutes will take care of that. Or make it even easier on yourself and avoid espinas by buying them all ready-to-go from the brand we all know and love, DOÑA MARIA® Nopalitos.

Check it out, I’m even gonna hook it up with that good-good, because if you’re looking for ways to enjoy your nopales, I got’chu with some starter links to recipes: Hibiscus and Nopal Tacos, Nopal Tostadas, Roasted Nopales con Mole, and Lentil Soup con Nopales.  One of my personal favorite ways to eat them is in a beautiful Cactus Salad, full of color and flavor. Trust. I rate these dishes 10 out of 10, guaranteed to make your babas drip, and when you eat this ensalada de nopalitos, you will remember even your ancestors were dripping babas over this waaay before it was cool to eat plant-based foods.

So let’s give the poderoso nopal the spotlight it deserves by adding it to our shopping lists more often.

Rich in history, mythology, and practical uses, the nopal’s enduring popularity is a testament to its versatility. It’s time to give this classic ingredient the respect it deserves and recognize just how chingon our ancestors are for making nopales fire before plantbase foods were even trending.

Next time you’re at the supermercado, do your ancestors proud and add nopales to your shopping cart by picking up a jar of DOÑA MARIA® Nopalitos. This easy-to-use food will definitely give you a major boost of pride in your roots. Viva los nopalitos bay-beh!

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A Mexican Artist Is Making Pancake Art That’s Too Beautiful To Eat

Culture

A Mexican Artist Is Making Pancake Art That’s Too Beautiful To Eat

Social media is where people can show off just about anything they create. This includes art in any and all media, like pancake art. Claudia, the creator behind Nappan Pancake art, is the latest artist watching their art reach the masses.

Claudia, the artist behind Nappan Pancake art, got her start because of the pandemic.

@nappancakes

casi ✨1 año✨haciendo #pancakeart 🥞 #parati #foryou #viral #trend #glowup #art #foryoupage

♬ Inox la bggg – ᗰᗩᖇIE ᗰOI ᑎᗩᖇᑌTO

The artist first started to play around with pancake art last spring break when the pandemic forced businesses and schools to close. Claudia wanted to get more creative with her kids’ breakfasts since they were now always at home.

“I started experimenting with making Pancake art,” Claudia recalls to mitú. “At first I only used the color of the natural dough and a little cocoa. At first, I just used the ketchup dispensers and little by little I learned.”

Claudia uses her pancake art to honor some truly iconic people.

@nappancakes

Responder a @detodoun_poco233 Cepillín ✨🥞✨ en nuestros ♥️ #parati #fy #HijosAdopTiktoks #adoptiktoks #viral #foryou @cepillintv #pancakeart ncakeart

♬ La Feria de Cepillin – Cepillín

Cepillín recently died and the loss was felt throughout the community. He made our lives joyous and fun with his music, especially his birthday song. Some of the creations are done for fans who request to see their faves turned into delicious pancake art.

The artist loves creating the edible works of art.

The journey of becoming a pancake artist has been a fun adventure for Claudia and her children. The more she has practiced, the more she has been able to do.

“Sometimes I scream with excitement and I go to all the members of my house to see it,” Claudia says about her successes. “Other times it’s just a feeling like “disappointment could be better” other times it just breaks or burns and then I just cry but it usually feels very satisfying.”

You can check out all of her creations on TikTok.

@nappancakes

Responder a @reyna100804santoyo siii🥞✨ díganle que me adopte 🥺 @ederbez #adoptiktoks #hijosadoptiktoks #parati #foryou #viral #fy #art #pancakeart

♬ Little Bitty Pretty One – Thurston Harris

With 350,000 followers and growing, it won’t be long until more people start to fully enjoy Claudia’s art. Her children can’t get enough of it and she is so excited to share it with the rest of the world.

READ: Spicy Food Lovers Have Reason To Celebrate As New Study Says Eating Chilies Could Be Secret To Longevity

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