food and drink

We Are Already Craving These Delicious And Decadent Noche Buena Dishes

@Smrtqbn / Twitter

I don’t care what time of year it is–I’m always emocionada for the shockingly massive piles of food that reach my plate at the holidays. Whether you feast on Christmas Day, Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) or every day of the year, you’re guaranteed get nostalgic (and very hungry) previewing your menu this year. Promise, this is what you’re eating.

If you’re Mexican, there will be pozole.

CREDIT: @mexicanfoodmem / Twitter

I mean, there will always be pozole, no matter the time of year, but at the holidays, your mami might actually buy raw hominy instead of the can. It’s a special occasion.

Tamales are always the showstopper.

CREDIT: @nuestravisionMX / Twitter

For two days before Christmas, there are half a dozen tias dancing up a storm in the kitchen. If you look closely enough, you realize they’re actually prepping and cooking a hundred tamales for the biggest family dinner of the year.

Or, if you’re Puerto Rican, you’ll eat pasteles.

CREDIT: @cocinamax / Instagram

Instead of corn, platanos verdes are used for the masa and stuff them with all the sofrito and pork available. Boiled banana leaves hold it all together instead of corn husks to wrap them.

Island gente will have ropa vieja.

CREDIT: @_a3m_ / Instagram

Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, are all about this shredded beef dish. Just looking at it makes me miss my abuela and the most exciting times of my childhood: when we were eating her ropa vieja.

Of course, dinner will be at the house con la caja china.

CREDIT: @triumphando / Instagram

It’s the most effective and delicious way to slow roast a shocking amount of animal flesh for the family festivities. Cuidado, because sometimes the neighbors get a whiff and just invite themselves in.

The main dish will be lechón.

CREDIT: @littlefoodieph / Instagram

As a kid, it was mildly disturbing, but the adults just tell you to move past it because it’s all the sabroso. Eventually, you stop naming the pig and just dig in.

Venezuelans crush the Pan de Jamón

CREDIT: @migas_florida / Twitter

Speaking of jamón, Venezuelans know how to combine the best flavors into one single bite. It doesn’t matter where you come from, if the panadería is selling, you’re buying this pan.

Ensalada de Gallina will be the only salad at the table.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. PopSugar. 25 September 2018.

Another Venezolana classic, it’s not Navidad without this tasty potato salad. Unlike the kind you’d find at an American grocery store, this one includes pollo, carrots, peas, green apple, and pineapple. We put la fruta in everything.

Every Latino meal will have some version of Moros y Cristianos.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. PopSugar. 25 September 2018.

Call it gallo pinto, arroz con frijoles, moros y cristianos, cualquiera: Latinos make it best. More specifically, we make it in a 10 gallon massive pot and hope for leftovers. The next morning, we fry an egg on top and it’s perfección.

Boricuas will have arroz con gandules on deck.

CREDIT: @SimplyTodayLife / Twitter

We’re here for the saffron, pigeon peas and olives. It’s gallo pinto for breakfast and arroz con gandules for all the other special occasions.

Buñelos con Almíbar de Vino y Canela everywhere.

CREDIT: @casa.marcelino.gto / Instagram

Pretty much all of us have some version of this crispy, sweet, doughy pastry. Don’t even call this a donut hole.

You can’t have a buñelo sin champurrado.

CREDIT: @pacificfoods / Twitter

It’s basically Mexican hot chocolate but there’s nothing basic about it. It’s thick, it’s spicy and it’s secret ingredient is masarica and cinnamon.

Of course, someone’s going to bring ponche.

CREDIT: @MelissasProduce / Twitter
Rice and fruta: we put it in everything. Our punch is better than yours because we have guava, tejocotes y flor de jamaica. And we made tequila happen.

Somehow, Panettone is always available.

CREDIT: @plantbased_fede / Twitter

Panettone was brought from Italy to South America and we have reclaimed it as our Latin fruitcake. Every Miami supermarket carries them and every Latino in Miami has a slice on noche buena.

If you’re Cuban, you already know what follows this picture:

CREDIT: @Smrtqbn / Twitter

It’s Crème de Vie, the Cuban version of eggnog. They’re real heavy on the Bacardí.

Mientras, Boricuas can’t get enough of coquito.

CREDIT: @PuertoRicoPUR / Twitter

The main difference between coquito and crèma de vie is that Puerto Ricans used condensed coconut milk instead of cow’s milk. We’re dairy intolerant.

That arroz con leche though.

CREDIT: @puntonieve.arroz / Instagram

Latinos cannot have a single meal without rice, not even dessert. Everyone makes it a little different, but I always make it with coconut milk and heavy on the canela.

Natillas are basically Latino Christmas pudding.

CREDIT: @postresfacilesyricos_ / Instagram-natillas

Please hold while I collect my drool. Sometimes called Dulce de Leche, this is basically a thick, creamy vanilla cinnamon custard. Galletas required.

Last but far from least: flan

CREDIT: @stefany_dct / Instagram

It’s the dessert that you’ve never made but love to eat. Thankfully your abuela and tías continue to bring it to every party. It’s not that I don’t think I can make it, it’s that I’m afraid to make it without a flock of Latinos to help me eat it.

Oh, but it’s not over yet.

Literally one week later, we gather again for Rosca de Reyes.

CREDIT: @ana_abularach / Twitter

January 6 is Three Kings Day and you’re forbidden from taking down Christmas decorations until after the three kings have come to visit baby Jesús. Of course, it’s just another excuse to plan another family celebration because whoever gets the slice with the baby figurine in it has to host the next dinner. Tamales required.


READ: Mole Is One Of The Most Recognizable Foods In The World. Here’s How It Came To Be

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Take Your Holiday Food And Make Them Vegan With A Few Changes To The Recipes

food and drink

Take Your Holiday Food And Make Them Vegan With A Few Changes To The Recipes

thebronxvegan / Instagram

Vegans always have to do a little extra mental, physical and domestic preparation around the holidays. Your abuelita is still confused why pollo isn’t a vegetable and your dad is smirking at you like you’re about to come out of this “phase” any second. As Latinos, most of our indigenous food is already heavily plant-based. All that extra carne is total colonialism at work.

There are a few things that we’ll never veganize for the holidays (i.e. lechón). However, some of our absolute favorite nostalgia-inducing dishes, like flan, mofongo y pasteles can all be veganized with a few little twists. Vamos a ver que los salvarémos.

Plantain Cups

CREDIT: @wokefoods / Instagram

Instead of filling these with the traditional picadillo, you can opt for some sautéed purple cauliflower and potatoes, carrots, kale, onion and garlic instead. Yours will be so much prettier than everyone else’s.

Vegan Pozole

CREDIT: @chicanoeats / Instagram

Instead of having pork floating around in that delicious pozole broth, try Chicano Eats recipe which enhances the classic onion and garlic with sautéed Mexican oregano. Try it and tell us how it is!

Vegan Sancocho

CREDIT: @cocoverdevegan / Instagram

My Caribbean Latinos, you don’t have to toss seven types of meat to make this stew tan rico. It still has all our favorite root vegetables like yuca, yautía y auyama and a healthier alternative to a very drool-worthy classic.

Caldo de “Res”

CREDIT: @veganaxmexicana / Instagram

Volunteer to make the Caldo de Res this year and just substitute the beef with Gardein Beefless Bites. Promise nobody will notice and you get to use your family recipe!

Champurrado Vegano

CREDIT: @veganaxmexicana / Instagram

It’s pretty easy to veganize recipes like Champurrado. All you have to do is reach for coconut milk instead of dairy at the store, and you’ll be warming up with your crazy tías in no time.

It’s not Christmas without coquito.

CREDIT: @veggiejeva / Instagram

The true warmth is in the rum. Drinking vegan is simple at the holidays! Just sub all the same ingredients (condensed milk, etc.) with condensed coconut milk. Facil y rico.

Vegan Sopes

CREDIT: @veganaxmexicana / Instagram

You should be able to find all the ingredients for the vegan version of this Mexican dish at your local bodega. If you want to be extra, get vegan sour cream and try not to die when your family steals it all.

Vegan Mole

CREDIT: @veganaxmexicana / Instagram

Save yourself the trouble of making entirely separate meals by asking your fam to put their chicken broth mole on the side. Better yet, ask them to use vegetable broth and make sure the chocolate is dairy-free and it’s perfect for everyone.

Empanadas are a must.

CREDIT: @veganaxmexicana / Instagram

This blogger used camote (sweet potato) for the dough and filled them with arroz con leche. They’re dessert empanadas.

Alcapurrias

CREDIT: @veggiejeva / Instagram

This Puerto Rican based food blogger worked on this recipe with her abuelita, so you know its legit. Try using a plant-based ground beef and season it with the usual sofrito. The garlic sauce is made with blended tofu, garlic, salt, pepper, and parsley, so you’re getting protein in the sauce.

Canoas Veganas

CREDIT: @wokefoods / Instagram

It’s super easy to veganize the classic canoas. Just stuff them with your sofrito based veggie favorites and add a protein like lentils or go get yourself some Beyond Meat ground beef for picadillo.

Pasteles o Tamales

CREDIT: @wokefoods / Instagram

Claro, whether you’re Boricua or Mexicano, you can find dozens of veganizes versions of your countries holiday favorite. I always plan to consume at least 4-5 platanos at my meal, con canoas, and pasteles en juntos.

Vegan Mofongo

CREDIT: @veggiejeva / Instagram

That’s right. Vegan mofongo is within reach. Just stuff it with lentil ground “beef” or try replacing the beef with a crumbled Beyond Meat burger. People will be fighting for your version.

Vegan Conchitas

CREDIT: @veganaxmexicana / Instagram

Rumor has it, you can just follow a vegan sugar cookie recipe and add all the sugar and spices that make conchas, conchas. Vegana x Mexicana has the receta hook up.

Arroz con leche vegano

CREDIT: @veganaxmexicana / Instagram

That’s right. You can bet that we’re only going to be using coconut milk to replace dairy in all these recipes. Coconuts are our tropical native milk.

Yup, you can make vegan Gansitos.

CREDIT: @veganaxmexicana / Instagram

Anything dipped in chocolate is for me. Use coconut butter as the icing layer and your favorite jam to top it off. Refrigerator space is crucial for this one.

Churros not from Taco Bell

CREDIT: @chicanoeats / Instagram

True story: Taco Bell’s churros are vegan, but we’re not about that life. It’s pretty simple to veganize these guys, so just slip the recipe from Chicano Eats to your mami and beg her to make these instead.

Flan de Coco

CREDIT: @VeganTurnedOn / Twitter

Did I mention that coconuts are crucial for veganizing Latinx recipes? They are y Dios los bendiga a los animales y a nuestros estómagos.

Vegan Natilla

CREDIT: “Coconut custard without eggs and without vegan milk.” Digital Image. Recetas Sin Lactosa. 11 October 2018.

I could never tell my flan-obsessed abuela this, but I preferred her Natilla above all else. Recetas Sin Lactosa is an incredible Spanish-language blog that basically makes our normal food consumption feel normal in our bodies (unless a baby vaca is reading this).

Vegan Rosca de Reyes

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. HazteVeg. 11 October 2018.

Three Kings Day is still on for vegans, and there are a surprising number of recipes out there. If your mom refuses to use anything but her own recipe, just swap out the milk for plant-based milk.


READ: 20 Foods And Drinks That Instantly Take Caribbean Latinos Back To Their Childhood

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