Shout Out to All the Vegan Chefs in "La Isla del Encanto" - Yarishka Pérez Roldán of Vegan Munchies
Frances Gonzalez, the founder of Vegan Wines
, is proud to be from Puerto Rico. In this series of blog posts, we want to highlight a few amazing vegan chefs from the island nation, also known as La Isla del Encanto
or "the Island of Enchantment." We'll be chatting with them about how they turn traditional Puerto Rican cuisine into delicious vegan dishes.
We've asked these chefs a few questions and even requested their favorite plant-based Puerto Rican recipes to share with all of you. And then we paired them with our wines, of course! You'll find the links to their restaurants and services below, so if you're able, please give your support to these great vegan chefs and restaurants during this time – or on your next trip to Puerto Rico! https://www.instagram.com/p/B9kAkbiBArL/
Yarishka Pérez Roldá
Yarishka Pérez Roldán is the Puerto Rican chef behind Vegan Munchies
. Their motto is “eating good without guilt!” and they make and deliver 100% vegan food. Find them here on Facebook
and place an order if you live nearby! Now let's hear from Yarishka herself:
Do you think traditional Puerto Rican food lends itself well to vegan adaptations? What's the hardest part about making plant-based Puerto Rican food?
Traditional Puerto Rican food is very easy to veganize. One of our basic plates in many dishes is white rice and red beans, or our very traditional rice with pigeon peas. Both, like many other recipes, can easily be made fully vegan – just eliminate the traditional meat ingredients used for condiments and flavor, such as cooking ham or pork fat, and substitute for the flavors. For example, a little smoked paprika will fix the absence of ham. It takes some time to learn all the tricks, but it's a very enjoyable learning process. The hardest part of veganism is trying to explain to people the fact that you can keep a fully plant-based diet and have no need to consume any animal derivative products to obtain proteins or vitamins. All the protein we need is found in plants and
they offer a huge variety of natural flavors. https://www.instagram.com/p/B-Qdqu_BZrH/
Which dishes are the easiest to make vegan?
Vegan food does not have to be complicated. One of the easiest things you can cook is a pasta. You can add vegetables and traditional salsa with basil or make a delicious creamy cashew sauce. This could be perfect for lunch or a light dinner, especially for vegan beginners – or if you just don't want to spend too much time in the kitchen. For example, a quick breakfast could be an “Overnight Oats” recipe that you could easily prepare before you go to bed. There are plenty of easy recipes.
How do you compensate for the flavors and textures of meat in these traditional dishes?
Once you have spent some time eating fully vegan plates, in my experience, you stop missing some textures. But by using products like jackfruit, for example, you can reach not only the flavor but the texture of BBQ pulled pork. The main ingredient will depend on what plate you want to emulate. With seitan or tempeh, you can make many traditional Puerto Rican plates such as “Pinchos” or BBQ Ribs. With some practice, I already have close to 50 to 60 different great worldwide delicious recipes. But I really enjoy creating the traditional Puerto Rican, Latin American, and Antillean plates. https://www.instagram.com/p/B871LByBYFZ/
Do you have any go-to plant-based ingredients or spices that you turn to when making vegan Puerto Rican food?
The secret ingredient in the cuisine of any Puerto Rican is the sofrito
. It consists of a mixture of different spices, such as garlic, red and green peppers, recao, onion, coriander, salt, and a little olive oil. Making the sofrito is very easy – you just have to add these ingredients in your blender, and when it turns into a green paste, it is ready.
Do you prefer using meat substitutes?
Thanks to the commercialization of some vegan products and their demand, we have a great variety of meat substitute items to choose from. They are especially great for those persons starting their transition to veganism. For example, for burger cravings I recommend Beyond Meat for their good flavor and texture. Not for daily consumption though, because by using some mushrooms, beans, or handmade seitan, you can enjoy a healthier meat substitute that is free of preservatives.
What is your favorite vegan Puerto Rican dish? Could you send us a recipe?
One of my favorites is the worldwide-known, deliciously Puerto Rican plate, Mofongo. It is traditionally served filled with meats such as fried pork or skirt steak. But the one I miss the most is the mofongo they prepare in the local Asian (Chinese) restaurants in Puerto Rico. Starting out as a full vegan and having those flavor cravings obligated me to make recipes that were similar in texture and flavor. It's just a perfect balance between Puerto Rican and Asian that works well on any vegan table.
Vegan Wines suggests pairing this dish with our 2016 Pandolfi Price Los Patricios Chardonnay Ingredients:
- 4 or 5 green plantains, peeled and cut into 3/4" slices approximately
- 2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 cup of oil for frying
- 2 teaspoon of salt
Process: Heat the oil on medium heat and fry the plantains until golden brown on all sides (3-5 mins). Take them out of the oil and let them drain for two minutes on a napkin. Crush the plantains together with the garlic and a dash of oil using a mortar and pestle until you have a homogeneous mixture. And voila, you can place it on your plate! Next (or at the same time), make your chop suey...
Process: In a wok or large skillet, add the julienned chopped onion, mushrooms, garlic, peppers, and the rest of the vegetables. Saute them for about two minutes or so they start to release their flavor. Slowly add the vegetable stock and soy sauce, keeping the fire at a medium heat until it begins to boil. Add the three tablespoons of agave and the rest of the dry ingredients like pepper, ginger, and salt. Finally, to thicken, add the cornstarch. When your sauce is thick, you can add the sesame seeds. Turn off the heat and serve your chop suey next to your mofongo!
- ½ tbsp minced garlic
- ½ red pepper
- ½ yellow pepper
- ½ orange pepper
- ¼ cup broccoli
- 1 carrot, chopped into strips
- 5 medium or 2 large chopped mushrooms
- 1 medium onion or ½ onion (white or purple)
- 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch or wheat flour
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 3 tbsp agave or maple syrup
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Roasted sesame seeds
- Soy sauce (2-4 tbsp, to taste)
- Powdered ginger (to taste)