Four Boricua holiday classics, including arroz con gandules, ensalada de papa, y el indispensable coquito: They are all meatless and/or free of animal products, and all delish. More good news? They’re easy to prepare, too!
Se acerca el Día de Acción de Gracias, and after a year that has been trying for so many, you want that heartwarming celebration with family and friends to be joyful and extra special. There’s just one thing: You, or maybe some family members, are vegan or vegetarian, meaning no meat (or any animal products, for vegans), so you want to prepare a fabulous meal that can be enjoyed by all.
Amiga, worry no more! Here are four recipes sure to bring a smile to everyone around your holiday table.
Vegetarian Tofu “Turkey”
Ingredients (Serves 8-10)
5 (14-ounce) blocks of firm or extra-firm tofu, well pressed
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable broth powder
2 tablespoons vegetarian poultry seasoning
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup red wine
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Process the tofu in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
Place the tofu to a large mixing bowl, and add the sage, thyme, rosemary, vegetable broth powder, and poultry seasoning. Stir well to combine.
Line a colander with cheesecloth or a thin towel.
Spoon the tofu into the colander and place a layer of cheesecloth or a thin towel on top. Place a weight on top of the towel to gently press the tofu.
Place on a plate or towel and chill for 3 hours, minimum.
When the tofu is chilled and firm, scoop out some in the middle, setting it aside in a bowl to create a well, leaving about 1 1/2 inches of a tofu “shell” in the colander.
Gently pat your stuffing into the well, then press the remaining tofu on top.
For basting, whisk together the Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, red wine, and soy sauce in a small bowl.
Generously baste or brush the mixture on the tofu.
Bake for about 90 minutes, basting every 15 minutes.
Serve y disfrútalo!
Arroz con Gandules Vegano
2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil (can substitute with water or veggie broth)
½ yellow onion, diced
¼ each red, yellow, green peppers
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cube vegan chicken-flavored bouillon
2 teaspoons capers
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt-free seasoning blend*
1 teaspoon cumin
½ tablespoon Badia’s Sazón Tropical
1 teaspoon Goya’s Sazón con Azafran
2 tablespoons tamari
1 15.5 oz can gandules secos, with liquid (“Dry Pigeon Peas,” not green)
1 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk
2 cup white rice
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
Black pepper and oregano to taste (optional)
Add the cooking oil to a medium-sized pot and raise to medium-high heat.
Add the onion, diced bell peppers, half of the bunch of chopped cilantro, bay leaves, and garlic to the pot.
Sauté until the onions are translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to cook everything.
Add the vegan chicken-flavored bouillon and tomato paste to the pot and use the spoon to “mash” them into the vegetables. Sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Acto seguido, add the capers, the entire can of gandules secos, tamari, cumin, and Sazón con Azafrán. Sauté about 3 minutes, until the spices are fragrant and evenly distributed.
Add half of the remaining cilantro to the pot along with the can of coconut milk and remaining spices, then bring everything to a simmer over high heat.
Rinse the rice under cold water, then immediately add it to the simmering mixture. Once a few grains of rice start to float to the top of the mixture, add the rest of the cilantro, mix well, and cover.
Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork, serve, and enjoy!
Best of all? Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Vegan Potato Salad
4 cups chopped boiled potatoes
⅓ cup chopped celery
¼ cup chopped red onion
¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
1 chopped garlic clove
Salt and pepper to taste
Gently mix all the ingredients and serve cold.
Vegan Coquito in 10 Minutes
1 12.2 oz can evaporated coconut milk
1 15 oz can coconut cream
2 7.4 oz cans coconut condensed milk (14.8oz total)
1 cup white rum (taste to see if it needs more)
1/2 cup plain unsweetened plant milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend at high speed until completely combined (approx. 1-2 minutes) and the coconut cream is totally incorporated.
Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Before serving, add a sprinkle of cinnamon and garnish with a cinnamon stick.