5 Vegan Latinx Recipes from Around the World

In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson decreed the start of a new holiday, which would celebrate people of Latin and Hispanic descent, their achievements and their cultures. The holiday has been dubbed “Hispanic Heritage Week” – according to hispanicheritagemonth.gov. But, twenty years later, President Ronald Reagan decided that thirty whole days were in order, and thus extended the observation of the holiday from September 15 to October 15. The significance of the start date, September 15, is that many Latin American countries celebrate their Independence Day afterwards, with Mexico and Chile up close, on September 16-18.

What is Latinx Heritage Month?

Although known as Hispanic Heritage Month for 33 years, the use of the term “Hispanic” to sum up the Latin American experience in the United States has been the subject of criticism, and rightly so.

Merriam-Webster defines Hispanic as “relating to the people, speech or culture of Spain,” centralizing the colonizing influence over the countries of Latin America and, in doing so, alienating certain Latinx peoples. The use of “Hispanic” to mark the holiday celebrates the Spanish influence on Latin America while covering up the murder and colonization of Latin Americans.

If we celebrate Latin American heritage on the days when these nations gained independence from their colonizing countries, like Spain, it seems counterintuitive and problematic to continue to call it “Hispanic” Heritage Month.

Isabelia Herrera takes up this topic, in much more depth, in a New York Times 2019 exploration of the holiday titled, Does Hispanic Heritage Month Need a Rebranding? She reminds readers that the term “Hispanic” alienates and excludes people of African and indigenous descent as well.

Latinx (or Latin, another gender-neutral term that resonates more with Spanish speakers, using “e” in place of “a” or “o”) is a gender-non-conforming LGBTQ + inclusive term that emerged in the early years. 90 on online forums, according to Minhae Shim Roth, What do Latinx Mean, for people of Latin American descent. While still an imperfect umbrella term, Latinx Heritage Month is the start of a work in progress that strives to be more inclusive and intentional in talking about the descendants of 33 countries, their cultures, their achievements and their future.

Latinx Heritage Month is a celebration of all elements of Latin American culture and heritage, including food. | Shestock / Getty

How to be vegan during Latinx Heritage Month

Food culture is an important part of Latinx Heritage Month, and Latin American cuisine is bursting with flavor. Herbs, spices, and flavors unique to each cuisine do the heavy lifting in each culture’s kitchen, giving any vegetable, grain or legume a colorful life. Vegetating the traditional foods of these cultures becomes easy when you harness the flavoring agents responsible for their flavor profiles and translate them into plant-based ingredients.

Take for example Haitian ears, the seasoning base that Chef Gabrielle Reyes uses to give Haitian spaghetti the perfect touch. This blend of herbs, allium, broth and more, is able to inject a wealth of bold savory flavors into any dish. The sofrito, just like the cob, is the beloved staple of Puerto Rican cuisine that gives the ingredients the classic flavor that is key to this island’s cuisine.

The individual cook’s traditional vegan recipes are a way to keep traditions and cultures alive in the hearth of our homes, especially for the Latin American vegan diaspora in the United States. Celebrate this month by making these meals at home or supporting your local Latinx chefs, and revel in the richness and variety of flavors that Latinx vegan culture innovates every day.

5 delicious Latinx, vegan recipes

Vegan Niños Envueltos
Coco Verde Vegan’s Niños Envueltos recipe was inspired by childhood summers in the Dominican Republic. | Coco verde

Vegan niños envueltos

The team of husband and wife chefs, Cecilia Flores and Ivannoe Rodriguez Sierra of Boston-based vegan Dominican blog and restaurant service Coco Verde Vegan, say this vegan niños envueltos recipe is truly special to them.

“This is one of the first recipes we created when transitioning to a plant-based diet almost four years ago now,” shares Flores. “I have fond memories of my aunt making them in a huge caldero during the summers I spent in the Dominican Republic as a child. I love how filling they are and how home they taste.

Get the recipe here.

Haitian spaghetti
This Haitian spaghetti recipe includes sausages and herbal “butters” peppers. | A great vegan

Haitian spaghetti

Singing and cooking the viral sensation TikTok, Gabrielle Reyes, also known as One Great Vegan, went vegan to improve her health. She said today that her cooking reflects the Haitian and Puerto Rican meals she had growing up. As for this tasty Haitian spaghetti recipe, Reyes says it’s traditionally served for breakfast.

“This Haitian spaghetti is the ultimate gift for your taste buds. My God, this recipe is deliciously delicious with plant-based buttered sausage and peppers, spiky seasoning, plus noodles for a colorful Caribbean treat.

Get the recipe here.

Vegan canoes
This vegan canoe recipe replaces meat with vegetable protein. | The Sofrito project

Vegan canoes

Reina Gascon-Lopez of The Sofrito Project, a blog that highlights Puerto Rican food culture, vegetated this recipe, which typically calls for ground beef or chicken, for a friend while they lived together.

“I love making dishes that I grew up on for friends because it’s my way of sharing my affection and my culture with them,” says Gascon-Lopez of the vegan canoas recipe. “She introduced me to a variety of herbal ingredients and taught me a lot about adapting recipes to a vegan lifestyle. We had a great time for our weekly family dinners with many dinners the whole family was able to eat and enjoy together. This recipe was definitely in rotation after I made it for everyone.

Get the recipe here.

Pastelitos by Carne y Queso
Cuban vegan pop-up Señoreata provided this pastelitos recipe. | Señoreata

Pastelitos de carne y queso

Señoreata, Evanice Holz, owner and operator of the delicious and sought after Cuban vegan pop-up based in Los Angeles, shares with LIVEKINDLY and her Instagram followers a recipe for pastelito de carne y queso that was a childhood favorite.

“This is the closest thing to a modern herbal version of the classic Cuban pastelitos that I loved to eat as a kid,” she says of the pastry she often ate six in one. one time.

Thanks to Señoreata, Holz was able to bring these savory delicacies to the people of Los Angeles and Joshua Tree. “Now I can share this part of my culture in a cruelty-free, plant-based way for the modern world.”

Get the recipe here.

Colored arepas
Mercedes Golip uses local corn to make these arepas. | I am a bananist

Colored arepas

Arepas are the first solid foods Venezuelan chef and food designer Mercedes Golip had when she was a baby. But she only learned to cook them five years ago in her New York kitchen.

“I started a quest to learn the process of making Venezuelan arepas from scratch using local corn,” Golip shares.

Today, she has mastered the arepa and beyond, lending her creative eye to her beloved arepas by pressing flowers or herbs into them. Or in this case, make it a colorful creation using different colorful heirloom masa harina varietals, like this recipe.

“By learning to make arepas at home, I reconnected with my roots on a different level thanks to a practice which is becoming almost obsolete in Venezuela and which I feel is important to preserve as part of our heritage, in particular as an American of Venezuelan origin. the context of a growing diaspora.

Get the recipe here.


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Jamie Collins

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