VEGAN MEXICAN RECIPES ARE DELICIOUS AND EASY TO MAKE
Mexican cuisine as we know it was developed by the influence of various cultures. Mesoamerican cuisine originally consisted of an abundance of strong and spicy flavors. The introduction of Spanish elements rounded out the Mexican dishes we are familiar with today. Traditional cooking is more vegan Mexican – relying on vegetables like corn, chilis, avocados, tomatoes, beans, and rice. Europeans introduced more of the meat protein and the popular “Tex-Mex” style of cooking which added dairy items such as sour cream and cheeses as well.
The beauty of vegan Mexican cooking is that it has both nutrients and flavor. It allows you to focus on the natural attributes of a vegetable-rich diet without compromising spice and flavor of a dish. While modern American-Mexican cooking incorporates the use of meat and chicken, it is easy to adjust a recipe by omitting the animal-based components and using a vegan substitute instead.
Amazing Mexican recipes can be crated using different types beans. While beans can seem ordinary or like one another, the texture and flavors vary on the type of bean. Black beans, pinto beans, and Peruano (Peruvian canary beans) are the most popular within this category. Black beans have a rich and intense flavor, hailing from Central-East and South-East Mexico. Pinto beans, creamy in texture are indigenous to Northern Mexico cities. Finally, the Peruano beans are very light, creamy and similar in flavor to potatoes. These beans are common in Central Mexico.
Some additional staple ingredients in vegan Mexican cooking are tomatillo fruit, jicama, various chili peppers, and a wide assortment of Mexican spices. Tomatillos are from the tomato family but slightly meatier and more tart than the acidic red tomatoes we know from European cooking. Tomatillos are the base for many salsas and sauces in Mexican cooking.
Jicamas are tubers – members of the sweet potato family. Similar in flavor to apples and sweet potatoes, jicama resembles a turnip or a potato. They can be eaten raw or in soups and salads or roasted like any root vegetable. To ensure the sweetest and freshest jicama, look for one with smooth skin that is firm. Smaller jicamas are sweeter. The larger and softer a jicama becomes, the less fresh they are and do not taste as good.
There are MANY different types of chili peppers used in Mexican cooking. From superhot habaneros, through medium hot jalapenos, and the more mild Anaheims, chilis are an integral part of Mexican cuisine. There is great emphasis on spice and bold flavors in vegan Mexican cooking that differentiates it from other world cultures. Many chili peppers originated in Mexico and have since spread all over the world. The heat of these peppers is measured on the Scoville Scale. Here is a link to a site with a great graphic to show the “hotness” of many of the chilis you might use in your cooking. It is important to know the level of heat of the peppers you are working with to enjoy the flavor and not overwhelm your senses. Chili peppers like Arbol which is like cayenne pepper, guajillo one of the milder peppers, ancho chilis which are dried poblanos, and chipotle peppers which are smoke-dried jalapeno peppers, are easy to find in grocery stores. For toning down the heat in your peppers, you can remove the center which contains the seeds, while the seeds themselves do not contain heat, the surrounding area does. Please note to be very careful while handling chili peppers because the heat agitates the skin or any rashes or cuts that you may have. Use gloves and/ or wash your hands thoroughly as a precaution.
Mexican spices and herbs are another key to authentic and bold Mexican flavors. They are sold in markets in Mexico in fresh bundles as well as dry spice bags. They are referred to as hierbas de olor, meaning aromatic herbs. The traditional spices include a mix of thyme, marjoram, Mexican bay leaves, and Mexican oregano. These herbs are present in almost every savory dish in the Mexican culinary world. The Mexican bay leaf and sprigs of herbs are added to stock, which in turn becomes the liquid base for dishes such as mole, rice, and guisados.
Check out our vegan Mexican style recipes for some traditional and healthy options!
INSPIRED VEGAN MEXICAN RECIPES
Enchiladas Two Ways