Why Found Vegan Versions Of Your Fave Latino Bites Likes Tamales And Flan So You Wouldn’t Have To
With the ever-growing popularity of plant-based lifestyles, more and more Latinx families are growing confused about why so many jovenes refuse to eat meat. And not only that—these young people are rejecting all things cremoso, too? But . . . what is life without queso and helado? What is this so-called “veganism?” How could anyone survive this way? Your familia may bombard you with questions about your vegan diet this holiday season (especially if it’s a recent decision you’ve made), but the real question is: as a vegan, how can you enjoy your favorite traditional Latino foods without compromising your plant-based ways?
The good news is that there is an abundance of alternative recipes for you to experiment with. We’ve gathered some of the most interesting ideas here, so you have several options to play around with. The bad news is that there is no good way to adequately veganize certain Latino staples, like lechon or pernil, but these other treats are tan ricos that you won’t even be thinking about those carnivorous options.
Coquito Con Coco
Let’s start with dessert. We all know it’s not Christmas without coquito. But did you know that coquito is traditionally made with ONLY coconut products? If your family recipe adds sweetened condensed milk, simply trade it out for coconut cream and you’ve got yourself an authentic (and vegan) chupito of this sweet, sweet nectar.
Champurrado Vegano (Tambien Con Coco)
Credit: Dora’s Table
Really, anything that requires milk—which, unsurprisingly, many of the most cherished postres do—can be augmented with coconut milk. But if you like the taste of soy or oat milk better, you can use any alternative milk to create a velvety vegan version of your favorite champurrado recipe.
Flan de . . . Coco
In case you haven’t noticed, coco is absolutely essential for veganizing any Latino dish. Flan is a true staple on Latino holiday tables everywhere, so why not celebrate the utility of the coconut by making a delightful vegan flan?!
Vegan Chocolate Con Churros
There is a very specific satisfaction to dipping a delectable churro into warm, creamy chocolate. To create the perfect chocolate con churros that meets all your vegan needs, sub milk for almond milk and butter for coconut oil. And if you want them gluten free, as well, just use gluten free harina!
Vegan Havana-Style Alfajores
Credit: Can Caramelo
Yes, oh yes, vegan alfajores are a thing. Replacing dulce de leche with date caramel, skipping the egg and using coconut oil instead of butter—all are tiny adjustments that lead to a truly indulgent after-dinner (or, let’s be honest, before-dinner) bite.
Vegan Rosca de Reyes
What is el Dia de los Reyes sin la rosca famosa? The Rosca de Reyes is an undeniable and much-beloved celebratory treat, and you can still enjoy it on a vegan diet! Just substitute cow milk for any alternative milk, and you are good to go.
Macadamia Nut Queso Fresco
Credit: Dora’s Table
If you’re vegan, you’ve definitely encountered nut-based “cheeses,” many of which are super similar to the real thing! Queso fresco adds a delicious dimension to so many Latino dishes—try making a version out of macadamia nuts, which also infuse it with a tasty, nutty undertone.
The true taste of the holidays is in your family’s tamales recipe. It would be blasphemy to forego this quintessential indulgence, and thankfully, replacing the meat with jackfruit is a really easy switch. Jackfruit’s texture can be very similar to carne, so you won’t be sacrificing anything about the classic tamale experience by making this slight adjustment.
There is nothing like your abuela’s mole recipe. Seriously, literally nothing beats that. Be that as it may, you might come close to her undeniable greatness with a vegan alternative that requires the most simple adjustments, like using vegetable broth instead of caldo de pollo and making sure the chocolate is 100% dairy-free. And just like that, you have vegan mole!
Vegan Empanadas Con Chimichurri
Credit: Good Clean Health
Empanadas are classically enjoyed with a variety of fillings, though perhaps most common is some type of meat. If you’re not a fan of alternative meat products, opt for a vegetable (or many!) instead. This recipe calls for things like mushrooms, onions, and spinach, creating a multi-textural, super nutritious empanada experience. (Plus, who can say no to chimichurri?!)
Mmm, mmm, mmmafongo. Although this Puerto Rican dish is usually served with ground beef, you can easily substitute a substitute (like ground tofu, jackfruit, or even lentils) to recreate that desired texture. You can also try eliminating the “meat” altogether, using olives and roughly chopped garlic instead—but your familia might think that’s going a little too far, tbh, so you should probably play it safe.