vegan latin dishes

Going vegan has become a super-popular nutritional choice in the past several years, and unlike some diet fads and trends, it doesn't seem like it's likely to die down any time soon. For Latinos who are used to a meat-heavy diets, making the change can be a huge transition. Do it incorrectly, and you run the risk of being protein deficient and actually harming your body. This is why looking for substitutes for proteins and other nutrients is essential when making the switch to vegan.

More from MamásLatinas: 15 Natural snacks for your kids that are all Latin-inspired

Of course you'll miss many of your favorite traditional dishes from time to time, but in a lot of cases there's actually a tasty way to trade the lard and pork or pollo that your abuela uses for a healthier alternative. All the bistek or steak that you're used to does have its vegan alternative and here we'll give you the lowdown on how to do this switch right.

Check out some of our favorite vegan versions of traditional Latino dishes and drinks in the gallery. Every traditional Latino dish you can think of, you love, you grew up with has its equivalent in veganism. Just click through and be inspired to make these if you're vegan or even just experiment if you're thinking of making the change and becoming vegan. Enjoy!

Vegan Fried Avocado Tortas 1

You might not be randomly rolling up to that food truck at 2 a.m. to cop your favorite torta, but when the craving hits, you can make your own delicious fried aguacate version that's also chock full of nutritious veggies.

Get the full recipe at PETA Latino.


Vegan Ajiaco Soup 2

If you thought it was impossible to eat Colombian food an a vegan diet, guess again. It's totally possible to recreate some traditional Colombian flavors without the animal products. This vegan ajiaco soup looks incredible. 

Get the full recipe at Vegan Huggs.


Vegan Cauliflower Ceviche 3

Ceviche is a staple among Latin American countries in the Caribbean and coastal towns throughout Central and South America, but the seafood-based dish is a no-go for vegans. This caulflower version replicates the textures and flavors really well though.

Get the full recipe at One Green Planet.

Vegan Relleno de Papa 4

I grew up eating relleno de papa (or potato and meat croquettes), but I think I might like this meatless eggplant and potato version even more.

Get the full recipe at One Green Planet.


Vegan Sancocho 5

Say what?! Yup, you read that right. Just because you've only ever seen sancocho made with like six different kinds of meat, doesn't mean it's not possible to veganize it. The vegan version is just as full of all those rib-sticking root veggies, aromatic spice and savory seasonings.

Get the full recipe at Dominican Cooking.


Vegan Picadillo 6

Picadillo is the basis for so many Cuban, Puerto Rican and Dominican dishes, but you can achieve pretty close to the same flavor sans the ground meat that is normally used. This gorgeous vegan versions uses sweet potatoes and chickpeas.

Get the full recipe at Cotter Crunch.


Vegan Tofu Chilaquiles 7

Just swap out chicken for tofu and you can have a steaming plate of vegan chilaquiles in front of you in 30 minutes or less. This recipe is seriously drool-worthy.

Get the full recipe at Minimalist Baker.

Vegan Canoas 8

Traditional Puerto Rican canoas or plantain boats are stuffed with savory meat filling, but this vegan version uses eggplant, tomatoes and bell pepper. This recipe literally inspired to pick up eggplant at the market this week--it looks so delicious!

Get the full recipe at Dominican Cooking.


Vegan Avena Caliente 9

Sometimes nothing will hit the spot like a childhood favorite, but recreating them with your current nutritional goals in mind can be challenging. But Dominican avena caliente is easily transformed by trading regular cow's milk for a plant-based milk of your choosing.

Get the recipe instructions at Dominican Cooking.

Vegan Huevos Rancheros 10

If you love this Mexican-style egg scramble, but you've nixed the eggs from your diet, simply replace them with crumbled tofu and if you like add in some vegan sausage or chorizo alternative.

Get the full recipe at MamasLatinas.


Vegan Quinoa Taco Meat 11

Everyone in my family loves quinoa, even the kids, so I'm betting a vegan Taco Tuesday will go over quite well. Seasoning cooked quinoa with all of your favorite Mexican spices and crisping it up in the oven is a genius way to create vegan taco meat.

Get the full recipe at Minimalist Baker.

Vegan Berries and Cream 12

In the vegan world people actually use the liquid from a can of garbanzo beans to make a cream alternative. Sounds kind of strange, but it totally works and the swap will have you minutes from a bowl of fresas con crema.

Get the full recipe at MamasLatina.


Vegan Spanish Rice with Chorizo 13

Just like in Latin cooking, rice is pretty common in vegan cuisine, but of course you can't start your rice dishes with ham or pork fat. You can, however, make a pot of healthy yellow rice with tons of flavor by using a vegan chorizo substitute in your moro.

Get the full recipe at Simple Vegan Blog.

Vegan Chickpea Tacos 14

Garbanzo beans are so, so versatile and make an excellent vegan taco filling with lots of fiber and great texture, especially topped with cilantro, pickled onions and shredded cabbage.

Get the full recipe at MamasLatinas.


Vegan Coquito 15

Traditional Puerto Rican coquito uses eggs and canned dairy milk, but since it's a coconut-based drink to start with, a vegan version of the classic holiday drink using coconut milk and cream actually works really well.

Get the full recipe at Rican Vegan.


Vegan Pastelon 16

Pastelon--otherwise known as Puerto Rican or Dominican lasagna--is not something you would think can be turned vegan, but by using black beans instead of ground beef and topping the dish with a vegan mozzarella cheese substitute you can enjoy this celebratory dish even if you don't eat animal products.

Get the full recipe at Puerto Rican Vegan.


Vegan Tortilla Espanola 17

Vegan Tortilla Espanola


Yes, we're talking about a vegan egg dish. Like I said, the garbanzo bean is a versatile legume. My grandfather used to make these Spanish-style omelettes for us on weekends and it's definitely a nostalgic food. This vegan recipe uses chickpea flour and water to simulate the egg texture.

Get the full recipe at Veganuary.

Vegan Black Bean & Potato Pupusas 18

Pupusas are all about the fillings, which means they can be easily veganized. This version stuffs them with roasted potatoes, black beans and soy crumbles, but feel free to get creative.

Get the full recipe at Sweet Simple Vegan.


Vegan Mofongo 19

Mofongo is one of the most quintessential Puerto Rican dishes, but you usually see it smothered in pork or seafood and doused with chicken broth. That said, since its base is plantains and garlic--two plant foods--a few easy swaps make it totally vegan. The addition of coconut bacon (coconut chips roasted with soy sauce and liquid smoke) is one we would love to try.

Get the full recipe at Vegan Rescue.

Vegan Potato Tamales 20

Swap out the meaty filling for an equally savory potato, pea and ancho chile filling, and you've got yourself a satisfying recipe for vegan tamales. So yummy!

Get the full recipe at Healthy Slow Cooking.


Vegan Chia Seed Arepas 21

Sounds...different. I know, but what better way to boost the nutritional profile of your arepas than to add chia seeds to the masa and make them vegan. Once you stuff them with refried black beans and a few slices of aguacate you'll be in business.

Get the full recipe at Thyme and Love.

Vegan Jackfruit Carne Asada 22

Craving the texture and flavor of carne asada, but staying away from meat? Try making it with marinated jackfruit instead. Jackfruit is a fruit similar to breadfruit that's recently become a popular meat substitute--even the Kardashians are eating it. It actually looks and feels like shredded meat!

Get the full recipe at The Nut-Free Vegan.


Vegan Mashed Potato Flautas 23

Flautas have been one of my favorite Mexican dishes since childhood, but those were filled with chicken. This vegan version has a spiced mashed potato and poblano filling that looks to-die-for.

Get the full recipe at Dora's Table.

Vegan Arroz con Gandules 24

Arroz con gandules or rice with pigeon peas is a staple food at every Puerto Rican holiday table, but growing up my mom always made it with a bit of ham or fatback. But I often make it for my family outside of the holidays and completely vegan. You won't really miss the tiny amount of meat that is traditionally used.

Get the full recipe at The McCallum's Shamrock Patch.


Vegan Seitan Saltado 25

Lomo Saltado is a popular Peruvian stir-fry style dish, that's typically made with sliced beef. By replacing the beef with seitan--a wheat-based meat substitute--you can replicate the flavor and texture of the traditional dish pretty easily.

Get the full recipe at Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.

Vegan Habichuelas Guisadas 26

Your mami may have always made habichuelas guisadas with cubed ham, but the meat is actually totally optional. Some families don't ever use it. If you're used to seeing it made with chicken bouillon or broth, don't worry those are easily swapped with veggie broth or just plain water without changing the flavor much.

Get the full recipe at African Bites.



Vegan Spanish Stew 27

Latinos love a good stew, which is great because it's a great way to pack in lots of nutrients and it's easy to make totally vegan. This version uses vegetable stock, barley and nutritional yeast for lots of flavor and staying power.

Get the full recipe at Veganuary.

Vegan Barbacoa Tacos 28

I don't even like mushrooms, but these vegan barbacoa mushroom tacos look delicious. The sauce is packed with flavor from guajillo and ancho chiles and lots of other spices like cinnamon, cumin and clove.

Get the full recipe at Vegan Richa.


Vegan Empanadas 29

Most Latin culture have some version of an empanada and though they are traditionally made with lard and stuffed with meat and/or cheese, they are easily made vegan. This version uses coconut oil for the dough and is filled with potatoes, corn and spinach. My kids would love it!

Get the full recipe at Potluck at Oh My Veggies.


Vegan Flan 30

Yep, we're talking about the dessert that's traditionally made with eggs and milk. Might sound impossible, but vegan flan is basically a version of coconut flan (delicious!) that uses silken tofu and gelatin instead of eggs to achieve a the custard texture.

Get the full recipe at Go Dairy Free.