Make Vegetarian Mexican Recipes That Style Like Basic Meat Dishes

Making an attempt to eat extra plant-based meals however have been avoiding your favourite Mexican meals as a result of you may’t go for one other plate of black beans and rice or one other order of quesadillas?

Or you might be bored with making an attempt to make dinner out of pico de gallo and tortilla chips? We hear you and we’re right here to assist! 

Sure, there are loads of straightforward methods to get Mexican flavors which can be plant-based like, say, by a vegetarian model of basic tortilla soup, by making vegan burrito bowls, or making a easy corn salad. 

The Downside With Meatless Mexican Recipes

However then there are these recipes that attempt to substitute meat with meatless options. Too usually vegetarian Mexican recipes merely take the basic Mexican dish and easily omit the meat.

That is nice should you’re speaking about black bean burritos, however it doesn’t at all times work. A variety of the time the tip result’s a vegetarian recipe that leaves you unhappy and properly, nonetheless hungry. 

Mushroom Gorditas on a counter

How To Substitute Greens For Meat In Mexican Delicacies

You are able to do a lot greater than merely subbing in pinto beans, bell pepper, and bitter cream and calling it good. Our recommendation is to consider what that exact meat you might be eliminating is bringing to a dish and see should you can mimic these flavors and textures with one thing else.

As in, is it offering fats, umami, texture, all the above? Then begin considering of what greens can take their place.

The swaps you in all probability already see in different plant-based dishes are nuts to appear like floor meat, mushrooms to imitate seared meat, or cauliflower as a sub for fish or steak.

However you may go method past that. Let’s check out just a few examples to see what we imply. 


Chicharrones are these addictive pork pores and skin snacks which can be crisp, salty, fatty, and dripping with umami. They’re eaten as a snack, used to garnish pozole, or stewed with salsa verde as a guisado. 

An equally low-carb but in addition vegetarian possibility is grated-aged cheese. Laborious cheese like Gruyere or aged cheddar gives you all the identical feels should you grate them, sprinkle a handful on a scorching pan, and let it crisp to a golden brown.

Tuck that crackling cheese right into a heat tortilla together with your favourite guacamole recipe and you’ve got your self a killer taco with all of the wealthy umami you crave from chicharrones. 

Al Pastor

What about Al Pastor? This time period is synonymous with the tall cylindrical rotisseries of meat (sometimes pork) which can be shaved into one of the beloved tacos round. Actually, when our visitors journey we at all times add it to their bucket checklist of must-eat road meals in Mexico Metropolis.

We’ll admit the toothsome bits of pork loaded with spices are fairly freaking wonderful. However what we actually love about Al Pastor is the extreme, advanced marinade and the smoky charred taste. 

The excellent news is that we are able to take this marinade and apply it to any variety of hearty greens which can be nice on the grill: winter squash, eggplant, candy potatoes or mushrooms would all be wonderful made “al pastor”. Serve this with Mexican rice and refried beans and we promise you received’t miss the meat. 


Of all of the basic meals from the state of Jalisco, birria tops our checklist. The time period “birria” interprets to imply insignificant issues with out worth however we’ll argue all day lengthy that birria provides tons of worth to our culinary lives!

Historically this dish is a stew that is made by combining goat (and typically lamb or beef) with adobo and spices. The result’s a shredded texture with tons of taste that may be eaten alone or in a taco.

Our favourite plant-based substitute for the meat in birria? Sluggish-cooked collard greens. To make it you’re taking all the identical substances—adobo sauce, guajillo chiles, onions, and garlic—and prepare dinner the collards low and sluggish are tender, damaged down, and flavorful. Tuck them right into a quesadilla or make a torta by piling them right into a roll layered with smashed avocado, sliced onions, and a great deal of cilantro.

One other method to make use of collards? In these Potato and Collard Inexperienced Crispy Tacos With Ancho Chile Crema recipe that you will discover in my newest cookbook. 


Fact be informed barbacoa is considered one of our favourite Mexican recipes. As in, we’ll journey far and huge if we hear of a roadside spot or a market that has legit barbacoa tacos.

This dish is historically made with beef or goat that’s slow-roasted for hours over an open fireplace or in some circumstances a pit dug into the bottom and coated by agave leaves. 

It simply so seems that the common-or-garden carrot makes a surprisingly good vegan substitute for barbacoa. As soon as roasted within the fragrant rustic sauce, carrots tackle a subtly candy lushness, plus it roasts in slightly over half-hour so you may fulfill that Barbacoa craving method quicker than when utilizing beef. Scroll all the way down to the recipe and see should you agree. 

Excited about studying extra? Comply with Hola Jalapeno on Instagram for inspiration and order a replica of my new cookbookPlant-Powered Mexican the place you’ll discover all these vegetarian Mexican recipes, plus different favorites like black bean soup, vegetarian enchiladas, and over 70 extra plant-based dinner recipes together with some which can be excellent for the immediate pot!  

Vegetarian Carrot Barbacoa Tacos Recipe

Roasted Carrot Barbacoa Tostada Recipe with Charred Jalapeño Yogurt Sauce

This recipe is reprinted with permission from Plant-Powered Mexican by Kate Ramos

Candy roasted carrots make wonderful barbacoa. Conventional barbacoa includes slow-roasted meat cooked in a wood-fired pit for hours and hours till it’s tender and might be shredded into tacos.

For a plant-based model, roasted carrots should not genuine, however a particularly scrumptious various piled on a crispy-fried tostada with a creamy jalapeño yogurt sauce. 

Tostada Approach

Frying an entire corn tortilla to make a tostada isn’t a particular talent, but when not finished correctly may end up in a tostada that’s chewy and soggy as a substitute of sunshine and crisp—imagine me, been there and have completely finished that.

The trick is to ensure your oil is scorching when the tortilla goes in. To be completely certain, measure the temperature of your oil with a deep-fry thermometer (they’re cheap and accessible on-line and in most grocery shops). It ought to be between (350° to 375°F).

When you don’t have a thermometer, stick the sting of the tortilla into the new oil, it ought to be instantly coated with bubbles. If not, wait one other minute and take a look at once more.

Serves 4


For the Charred Jalapeño Yogurt Sauce:

  • 2 medium jalapeños
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 cup entire milk Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup recent cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 

For the Barbacoa carrots:

  • 3 kilos carrots, trimmed, peeled, and reduce in half
  • 6 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded, and rinsed
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) beer
  • 1 small crimson onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup recent cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed recent Mexican oregano or Mediterranean oregano, robust stems eliminated
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon floor cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon floor black pepper

For the tostadas: 

  • 1 cup avocado or sunflower oil
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Salt, for seasoning


Make The Charred Jalapeño Yogurt Sauce:
Place the 2 jalapeños and two unpeeled garlic in a dry comal or cast-iron skillet over medium-high warmth. Cook dinner till charred on all sides; the garlic will take much less time so take away that first. Take away the garlic peel and the stems from the jalapeños.

Minimize the jalapeños in half and take away seeds should you’d prefer it much less spicy. Add the charred greens to a blender with 1 cup entire milk Greek yogurt, 1 cup recent cilantro leaves, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Mix on excessive till easy. Style and add extra salt or vinegar as wanted.

Make The Guajillo Chile Sauce: Warmth the oven to 400°F. Carry a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the 6 dried guajillo chiles and take away them from the warmth. Let soak till tender, about quarter-hour.

Drain the chiles and mix in a blender with the 1 bottle (12 ounces) beer, 1 small crimson onion, 1/2 cup recent cilantro leaves, 1/2 cup loosely packed recent Mexican oregano, 6 cloves garlic, 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon floor cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon floor black pepper. Mix on excessive till easy.

Cook dinner The Barbacoa Carrots: Toss the carrots with the guajillo chile sauce in a big roasting pan till carrots are properly coated. Pour right into a roasting pan and unfold the carrots into a fair layer. Roast till the carrots are tender and cooked by however not mushy, about 40 minutes. 

In the meantime, to make the tostadas: Warmth the oil in a big frying pan over medium-high warmth till shimmering. Add tortillas separately and fry till crisp and golden, about 2 to three minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with slightly salt. Pile carrots on the tostada shells and drizzled with jalapeño sauce. 

Get Extra Plant-Based mostly Mexican Recipes

From now till November 9, while you pre-order Plant-Powered Mexican you additionally get a companion e-book without spending a dime! This e-book, Mexican-Impressed Desserts and Drinks was written in collaboration with CA GROWN and has model new, by no means seen earlier than recipes for drinks like Strawberry Jamaica Iced Tea and desserts like Pumpkin Spice Mexican Wedding ceremony Cookies that you’ll completely love. 

So pre-order now! After which e-mail a screenshot of your order to [email protected] You’ll obtain your free e-book inside 24 hours. 

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Photograph Credit score: Opening photograph by Foxys Forest Manufacture; all different images by Kate Ramos