Vegan Coquito

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Coquito is a delicious Puerto Rican coconut drink served around Christmas and New Year’s Day.  The creamy, velvety beverage can be enjoyed either with the addition of rum or its own for those who want a non-alcoholic drink.

It is a great “something different” to drink during the holiday season when most festive drinks overdose on pumpkin or peppermint.  It is so easy to make and is just about as error-proof as it gets.  Sweet, creamy, coconutty, cinnamonny goodness.

So traditional coquito is absolutely not vegan as it usually involves condensed milk and eggs but all it takes is a couple of tweaks to make it a treat almost everyone can enjoy.  I used light coconut milk for this but if you long for a richer mouth feel feel free to use regular coconut milk (you want to use the one in the can not the coconut milk used as a milk substitute). Personally, I feel the rum is totally optional but if you feel it is a need I say bring it.  The rum could also be set to the side and mixed into each individual glass, as needed. Continue reading

Sopa de Albondigas (Meatball Soup)

finalComfort food staples for some Mexicans include sopa de albondigas, or meatball soup. Whether it starts a meal or is the main star, albondigas always satisfies in the nostalgia-takes-me-back-to-my-youth department.  The rich flavorful broth married with a spiced-filled albondiga (a.k.a. meatball) makes a great addition to any dinner…or lunch… or even breakfast (why not!).

So I have taken the meat out of the ball and instead used delicious, nutrient-dense chickpeas. The chickpeas really help create a dense, filling ball.  It is very similar to falafel, just with a few twists.  Not sure if I can call it a meatball if it technically is not made with meat.  Hmmm. Well whatever they are call they sure are tasty. Continue reading

Vegan Pozole

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When the weather turns chilly the best way to fill up on is with a nice, steaming bowl of soup. It warms you up from the inside out.  When looking a great vegan soup I think pozole is a good way to go.  Traditionally, pozole is a pork and hominy soup with a spicy chile base but it is just as easy to nix the pork and still have a delicious bowl to fill up on.  As a bonus, the vegan version is ready to serve in less than an hour.

This recipe keeps the heat level on the mild side.  Ancho chiles tend to have a bite to them without being too hot.  If you feel the need to bump it up a notch you can always add guajillo or dried chipotle peppers.

In addition the garnishes play just as much a role in the soup as the soup itself so don’t skimp on them.  I like mine with a lot of lemon, lettuce, onion and a few slices of radishes. Plus I always crush up tortilla chips into the bowl and let them soak up the spice-filled broth. Continue reading

Chipotle Tempeh Sopes

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Tempeh is a patty made of fermented soybeans and sometimes additions like barley, millet and rice.  It has a slight sour taste due to the fermentation.  Tempeh has a great crunchy texture which makes it a great choice as a ground meat substitute.

Sopes are thick fried masa cakes with a raised edge (to keep all the toppings on bay). Commonly sopes are topped with beans, meat, lettuce, tomato and cheese or sour cream. Yum, yum.

For this recipe I have made a spiced-filled chipotle tempeh filling.  A little heat, a little spice and some good crunch from the tempeh.  A simple mash to some pinto beans creates the perfect base for the tempeh filling.  Top with some crisp lettuce and cool tomatoes and you have a great combo of flavors. Continue reading

Spicy Red Chilaquiles

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Sometimes the least complex dishes tend to be the tastiest.  A few simple, delicious ingredients is all it takes to make a great dish packed with flavor come to life.

Chilaquiles are a breakfast staple.  Smothered tortillas and eggs topped with cheese make for a scrumptious and hearty meal.  Sometimes a tangy green sauce is used but this time I am using a quick red tomato and chipotle sauce to soak the crispy tortillas in. Continue reading

Locro de Papa (Potato Cheese Soup)

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It is soup season.  Time to whip up a hearty, satisfying soup to help keep the cold at bay. What a better way to heat up those tummies then with some potato soup.  Creamy goodness is just a few minutes away.

Ecuadorian Locro de Papa is a rich soup made of potato, cheese and corn.  Meant to keep you warm while in the Andes, this soup screams comfort food.  It is creamy, starchy, cheesy and full of flavor.  The soup is usually garnished with avocado which makes it even more decadent.  All I can say is be prepared to be blown away. Continue reading

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos

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Fall is here and it is time to strike up those ovens and start roasting some veggies.  Roasting really brings out the best out of vegetables.  The sweet, nutty goodness is one of a kind.
Roasted cauliflower makes for a great taco filling.  The soft texture of the cauliflower balances a crispy, crunchy fried tortilla to create one delish taco.  Dress the tacos with a little cabbage, salsa and cheese and you have one incredibly flavorful bite. Continue reading

Soda de Agua de Melon

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Just because summer is winding down doesn’t mean fizzy cold drinks have to be turned down. No no no. I say take advantage of the fresh fruit that is still around and make a quick, refreshing drink.
Honeydew, with its sweet notes really quenches a thirst. And lemon really brightens up anything it comes in contact with. The addition of lemon-lime soda adds some fizz as well as sweetness. The best part: it takes less than five minutes to make. Score! Continue reading

Croquetas de Papa with Chimichurri

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Croquetas are Latin Americas version of croquettes.  Although croquetas can be made from just about anything, standard croquetas usually include potatoes, ham, tuna and cheese. They are very versatile.  This version uses potatoes and cheese because, let’s face it potatoes and cheese make for a superstar pair.  Mashed potatoes are formed into little nuggets, stuffed with cheese, breaded and then fried.  The end result is a crunchy outside with a creeeeeeamy inside.  And what to dip them in?  Well how about some chimichurri.  The fresh herbs really cut through the heaviness of the fried croquettes.  Man oh man these are good. Continue reading

Mexican Cauliflower “Rice”

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For some time now I have seen several recipes for turning cauliflower into “rice”.  It seemed pretty simple and looked quite delicious so I decided to give it a try.  Good thing I did.  The method works best for turning any type of fried rice recipe rice-free (i.e. using cauliflower to make steam rice may not such a great idea).  As a bonus the cauliflower gives the rice dish more flavor and a better texture.  Plus it is ready to go a lot sooner than traditional rice.  I took a true and tried Mexican rice recipe, nixed the rice and brought in the cauliflower.  The end result is a bit spicy, a bit sweet from the bell pepper and a whole lot of yuminess. Continue reading