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.
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.
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:
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.
Cinnamon, apples, guava, y nada de animales. Oh, and rum is vegan too. Salud.
While we’re at it, coquito will never disappoint anyone.
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! ????
Even though we all know, spiritually, tostones are manna from heaven. Physically, they come from the plátano tree. Praise tostones.
Beans are the moneyyy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!