Make snack time a whole event—and indulge in some you time—with this easy, super-creamy vegan spinach artichoke dip.
There’s nothing like a bubbling-hot, fresh-baked snack—and spinach artichoke dip delivers. But the crave-worthy treat is usually packed with dairy. This vegan version brings you that creamy flavor you love by subbing in cashews, nutritional yeast, and almond milk. But this recipe is quicker than the average cashew dip.
A lot of cashew recipes rely on soaking the cashews overnight. But this easy recipe lets you take a shortcut, soaking them in hot water for just a few minutes before blending them with nutritional yeast, garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and either plant milk or water.
After layering your cashew dip over spinach and artichokes, pop it in the oven and let the heat do its magic. Et voila! Out of your oven comes hot, bubbly, creamy artichoke dip just bursting with umami flavors—and it’s all vegan.
This is just the recipe for impromptu get-togethers, the big game night, or just a treat-yourself evening with your favorite book or TV show. Pair this dip with a sliced baguette, tortilla chips, pita chips, crackers, or fresh vegetable sticks, and enjoy the perfect evening snack—because you deserve it.
Creamy Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip
10 mins to prep
30 mins to cook
1½ cupsraw cashews
1 can (14 ounces)artichoke hearts in brine, drained and finely chopped
1½ cupsunsweetened plain almond milk (or your favorite plant milk), or water
1 teaspoon salt
freshly-cracked pepper, to taste
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Soak cashews for 10 minutes, covered with one inch of very hot water, to help soften them up so they will blend ultra-creamily. Drain.
Dice the artichoke hearts and prep the spinach. (If frozen, let it thaw and drain out water. If fresh, steam and drain out the water as well.)
Blend the soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and all liquids to the bowl and process until nice and smooth, about 3 minutes or so. Do a taste test to see if the flavor works for you.
In a baking dish, add the spinach and artichoke hearts, pour the cashew cheese on top, and mix to combine.
Bake for 10 minutes in the oven, covered. Remove cover and bake for another 10 minutes.
Serve as is or stir before serving. This snackable dip is great with a sliced baguette, tortilla chips, pita chips, crackers or fresh vegetable sticks. Enjoy!
The vegan chicken battle is on: Impossible Foods nuggets have launched nationwide. (Shots fired, Beyond Meat.) And we may or may not already have our dipping sauces ready…
The plant-based nuggets feature soy protein and sunflower oil, which gives them a similar taste and texture to that of animal-derived nuggets.
Where to find Impossible Foods’ chicken nuggets
While the nuggets will initially only be available in select restaurants, they will launch to retail outlets later this month. Restaurants that currently carry the nuggets include David Chang’s Fuku in New York City, Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster in Harlem and Miami, Sean Brock’s Joyland in Nashville, and Tal Ronnen’s Crossroads Kitchen in Los Angeles. Regional chains such as Fatburger and Gott’s Roadside will start selling the nuggets this week. Retailers slated to sell the nuggets include Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, and Safeway.
The California-based vegan meat company showcased its meatless nuggets at the Dot Foods Innovations trade show in July in St. Louis, Missouri.
Unlike the brand’s meatless burgers and sausages (currently only available for foodservice), the nuggets do not contain heme. Also known as soy leghemoglobin, short for legume hemoglobin, the company’s flagship ingredient gives Impossible’s products a meaty flavor and juicy texture. But the fact that heme is genetically modified has barred the company from launching its products in the Europe and China mainland markets.
“In prototypes, we did include a small amount of heme and tested without,” Laura Kliman, Impossible’s senior flavor scientist, told Bloomberg. “We found in a nugget format, which is breaded and has some seasoning, it really wasn’t that necessary.”
Impossible Foods launches vegan chicken nuggets
Impossible Foods isn’t the only plant-based company to enter the vegan chicken wars. The company’s rival Beyond Meat rolled out vegan chicken tenders this summer.
The Beyond Chicken Tenders launched in nearly 400 restaurants around the country. They feature a crispy breading and are made from a variety of plant-based ingredients—such as faba beans and peas. They also look, cook, and taste just like their animal-derived counterparts.
“We’re innovating the poultry market with the new Beyond Chicken Tenders—the result of our tireless pursuit for excellence and growth at Beyond Meat,” said Dariush Ajami, Chief Innovation Officer, Beyond Meat.
The vegan chicken market has certainly taken off in recent years. LikeMeat, which is part of LIVEKINDLY Collective’s portfolio of brands, made its official U.S. debut earlier this year, launching vegan chicken at Sprouts Farmers Market.
Other players that are relatively new to the vegan chicken game include Simulate, formerly known as Nuggs, and Daring Foods. The former recently landed an investment from Jay-Z’s investment firm, Marcy Venture Partners.
In addition to the plant-based chicken, Impossible Foods may follow in Beyond Meat’s footsteps again. The company is reportedly set to go public on the stock market within the next year. Its initial public offering is valued at around $10 billion.
Beyond Meat became the first vegan company to IPO in 2019. Its stock skyrocketed by 163 percent on its first day of trading. It was valued at $13 billion only three months after going public.
About the author
STAFF WRITER | LOS ANGELES, CA Audrey writes about sustainability, food, and entertainment. She has a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and political science.
Many of our foods have adapted the label of “superfoods,” but why settle for super when you can try foods that are heaven-sent? Theobroma cacao, the scientific name for the cocoa plant, literally translates to “food of the gods.” Both delicious and divine, cacao is not the only fruit with a fascinating indigenous history.
From breadfruit to ‘booch, 2021 has delivered a dazzling array of international superfoods to your grocery store aisles. But with dozens of choices, it can be hard to sort through the purpose and potential applications of each superfood—and to know which truly boosts your health to the max.
Superfoods also come with deep histories, which are often appropriated by mainstream food marketing. Rather than simplifying or misrepresenting the cultures these incredible foods spring from, talking to people at the source can help you foster a deeper understanding of a food’s culture.
With our guide to five trending superfoods, you’ll learn not only each fascinating history, but also multiple wellness applications for each food. And you’ll enrich not only your own health, but also your wealth of understanding when it comes to that food’s rich genesis.
Get to know 5 superfoods and their Indigenous history
You may consume cacao every day, in chocolate bars and mocha lattes, without giving a second thought to its origins. Cacao, long known as a superfood, has a fascinating history and a conflicted present.
Cacao trees are native to tropical areas in the Upper Amazon region, including modern day Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The trees bear fruit, which grows in brightly colored clusters that can range from deep red with an ombré effect to a papaya-hued orange. The seeds of the cacao fruit, cocoa beans, are used for everything from cocoa butter to chocolate.
One of the reasons cacao has been revered for literal millennia is that it contains a neurotransmitter called anandamide. Anandamide affects brain areas that influence pleasure and reward, physiologically imparting a sense of euphoria. Often called the “bliss molecule,” anandamide is quite a force to be reckoned with. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory that reduces fear and anxiety and increases your overall sense of wellbeing.
There are records of cacao being harvested and enjoyed as far back as 1900 BCE in Mesoamerica. The ancient Mayans thought cacao was a heavenly food, gifted to them by a feathered serpent god called Kukulkan. Cacao beans were currency and they were even given to soldiers as a reward for battle successes. While cacao is originally native to the Amazonian rainforest, in the 21st century the main producers of the crop are Côte D’Ivoire, Ghana, and Cameroon. In fact, West Africa produces nearly three-quarters of the world’s chocolate supply.
To keep up with the Western demand for chocolate, West African farmers have increasingly converted their forests into farm plots. Startlingly, top producing countries like Côte D’Ivoire have lost 80 percent of their forests in the last 50 years from deforestation. What’s more is that despite chocolate being a billion dollar industry, cocoa farmers generally earn less than $2 a day. The chocolate industry as a whole actually contributes to human trafficking and slavery. You may be surprised to know that most of the chocolate you consume is likely the byproduct of child labor.
In order to benefit indigenous communities, consider getting involved with an organization like Slave Free Chocolate by donating or signing a petition. Additionally, if you feel passionate about the illegal deforestation that’s happening in countries like Côte D’Ivoire, consider aligning yourself with a charity like the Rainforest Alliance, which is dedicated to repopulating West African forests.
Also called the “upside down” or monkey bread tree, baobab trees grow in specific regions of Australia and Africa, but can also be found in the Middle East. They can grow incredibly tall, exceeding 30 yards. The trees yield large, textured green fruits that range from cylindrical to more round. The chalky white flesh of the baobab fruit has been described as “floury” and chalk-like and is said to taste very mildly of citrus. It’s often ground into a powder and sold as a superfood supplement to be used in smoothies and other recipes.
Speaking of citrus, gone are the days of oranges being the go-to remedy for colds. Baobab fruit has 10 times more vitamin C than oranges. And the list doesn’t stop there—it’s high in niacin, fiber, and also an excellent source of Vitamin B6. (Vitamin B6 is not naturally produced by your body, so external sources are highly treasured; this vitamin, in particular, can improve eyesight and depression, and has neuroprotective qualities.)
The uses of baobab, like most superfoods, supersede plain consumption. It has long been known in indigenous Ghanaian communities that baobab bark is an effective remedy for malaria. (Recent studies have pinpointed that this medicinal quality is due to an alkaloid called adansonin.) And in the agricultural sense, the charred fruit can be used as a bug repellant for cattle.
Maxwell Anane, the founder of Black Phoenix Ink, a literary nonprofit promoting positive racial storytelling for Black children, grew up in Ghana and says that the baobab is a recurring character in West African folklore. “We pass down our stories orally in Ghana and often you’d hear about the ‘Tree of Life.’ The baobab was considered to be magical and spiritually significant and so the trees are never cut down. It’s believed that the spirits of the ancestors reside in the trees. They’re a symbol of endurance and longevity because they’ve been here for so long.”
The açaí bowl has become a staple at juice cafes and bodegas, and a superstar on Instagram for its rich, purple hue. It’s easy to forget that the tropical fruit hasn’t been a part of Western culture for long.
Açaí (ah-sigh-ee) is a tropical fruit that doesn’t look entirely dissimilar from a blueberry and it grows on an Amazonian endemic palm. Açaí berries are purple because of a plant compound called anthocyanin. They’re very nutrient-dense and contain everything from fiber to calcium and heart-healthy fats. Impressively enough, they are hailed as anti-cancerous and have been linked to lowered cholesterol. In studies, açaí juice has shown positive results in reducing oxidative stress, which can speed up muscle recovery.
Historically speaking, açaí was consumed almost exclusively by Amazonian ribeirinhos, or “river people.” The locals ate the nutritious fruit for many of their meals because of its accessibility, not its color or flavor. In recent years, we’ve entered what theNew York Times called “açaí mania.”
It’s not uncommon to see a smoothie place in an affluent white neighborhood selling açaí bowls for upwards of $10. And just because more and more corporations are integrating açaí berries into mainstream culture doesn’t mean the ingredient is being shown respect. For example, the advertising for the Slovakian beverage brand Açaico uses stereotypical tropical imagery to create a limited narrative of Brazil. The ring-tailed lemurs and iguanas used on their packaging aren’t native animals. When companies exoticize an ingredient to sell it, but fail to educate themselves on the particulars of that food’s actual history, it perpetuates stereotypes and cultural harm.
While the native country that açaí berries hail from has not been completely sanitized and erased, it has been caricatured and portrayed with a level of dismissiveness. The general focus on its nutritional benefits has served to decontextualize it from Brazilian culture as well. And this surge in demand for açaí in the Western world is a real threat to biodiversity in the Amazonian forest. Not unlike the situation that West African farmers face with a rising demand for chocolate leading to deforestation, indigenous Amazonians are seeing their land stripped away of native plants and flora to make room for more acai plantations. To quote the British Ecological Society, “This thinning is projected to lead to a reduction of 50 percent in native tree species diversity and 63 percent of pioneer species and a consequent homogenization of the plant community.”
A way that you can respectfully and responsibly consume açaí is to buy from companies that support forest conservation and to align yourself with charities that are committed to Amazonian forest repopulation. Additionally, as a consumer, educate yourself on the positive identity hallmarks that are tied to Brazilian culture and take notice of whether or not the brand you purchase açaí from actually respects and celebrates the culture, or stereotypes it.
Ashwagandha is a small evergreen shrub with many aliases, also known as winter cherry, poison gooseberry, and Indian ginseng. Unsurprisingly, it is often grown and harvested in India. Ashwagandha bears a lot of similarities to toyon, or the Christmas berry plant. Both plants are small evergreen shrubs and produce small, red, glossy berries.
Ashwagandha is an immune amphoteric, meaning that it has positive balancing properties on your immune system, so it’s become a popular health supplement sold everywhere from Amazon to Walmart. It is also used to fight against insomnia, fatigue, and mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Ashwagandha roots in particular are seen as a potent herbal remedy for anything from stress to an overactive thyroid. The roots can be used fresh or dried and the resulting powder can be added to warm beverages.
In India, where Ashwagandha is grown, it is used for increasing the body’s resilience to stress and as an anti-arthritic agent. A potent ayurvedic herb, ashwagandha is part of an ancient medicinal system that dates back to 10,000 years ago. Ayurvedic herbs are synergetic and meant to be used in conjunction with one another to create a harmonious healing effect. They can be taken both internally and externally and are adaptogenic, meaning that they can adapt to your body’s needs and act preventatively.
Traditionally speaking, ashwagandha root powder was often given to children as night tonics and administered to the elderly for longevity. The impact of the Western world using ashwagandha has included attempted or successful biopiracy, which is the theft of plants or natural material through restrictive patenting. For example, Natreon Inc., an American company, attempted to patent ashwagandha for the “management of stress.” India then submitted documents confirming that medicinal recipes utilizing ashwagandha had been used in their country for centuries, citing 15 pieces of evidence and documents dating back to the 12th century. As a result, the EPO (European Patent Office) withdrew the patent request.
As a consumer, this is a firm lesson in how not to behave when encountering another culture’s medicines or herbs. In order to benefit indigenous communities, you must credit their native flora versus attempting to decontextualize it and claim it for profit. In order to protect Ayurvedic concepts, educate yourself about their origins and hold the companies that you buy from accountable for crediting India and their indigenous communities for their “wonder herbs.”
Red Sorghum Leaves
Sorghum is a “super grain” that is drought and heat resistant and is thought to be native to East Africa. The crop grows tall and has a feather-like quality and can be bicolored, red, or tan. It’s classified as a cereal and is commonly used in African cuisine.
Sorghum has a whopping 22 grams of protein per cup. The leaves in particular have anti-inflammatory properties and are rich in antioxidants, which makes them a good combattant against oxidative stress and free radical damage. Additionally, particular tannins and phenolic compounds in sorghum are hailed as anti-cancerous and have been linked to the inhibition of an enzyme linked to breast cancer.
Sorghum leaves grow all over Africa and have made their way into various countries across the continent from Burkina Faso to Uganda to Ghana. Sorghum is considered an indigenous leaf in Ghana and the crop functions as both a source of income and employment for local farmers. A popular Ghanaian dish called waakye, a combination of rice, beans (generally blackeyed peas), and red sorghum leaves, has been the center of many nutritional studies. Red sorghum leaves give the rice a distinctive pale red color and fortify the dish with nutrients, including phosphorus and iron.
Because of the rise in Celiac’s disease and other conditions that create gluten intolerances, more people are searching for gluten-free flours and alternative grains. Sorghum flour is now being more commonly sold in the United States. Because its ties to African cuisine are often erased, consumers miss the opportunity to incorporate sorghum leaves in traditional ways, including as a coloring agent or even (thanks to its high iron content) a treatment for anemia. In certain parts of Northern Ghana, sorghum is even fermented and made into beer.
Participating Without Erasing
Many people subscribe to the idea of universal entitlement, which states that anybody can integrate parts of other cultures into their own lifestyle whether it be for entertainment or education. This viewpoint disregards the power imbalance that is often present between the people who would like to consume and the people whose culture is being cannibalized.
The number-one way to participate in a new trend intelligently and intentionally is to see where your product is sourced. Some things to consider:
Does the company emphasize the mutually beneficial relationship it has with local farmers, artisans, craftspeople?
Does it exploit indigenous people through unfair and unsafe labor practices?
Can you find the product from an ethical wellness brand rather than a big box store?
Do you understand the product’s backstory? You will inevitably learn something new and you will be championing the dignity of cultures with less prominent voices.
Engaging with a superfood with a sense of reverence and transparency, and as a student who’s open to learning more, brings positive reverberations in fellow food lovers.
Most people associate Latinx food with meat and dairy, like chicken tamales, pork posole, barbacoa, and fish tacos. But today, so many meat-based Latinx dishes can be made with jackfruit or alternative meats—and a deft hand with flavor. In fact, many vegan Latinx chefs have found that a lot of Latin and South American dishes were actually plant-based prior to colonization by Europeans.
As the popularity of plant-based eating spreads, vegan Latinx chefs are opening eateries to serve the growing, hungry audience. Southern California is a hot spot for vegan Mexican food, especially. But the Golden State by no means has a monopoly on plant-based tacos. Latinx chefs are everywhere from Toronto to Boston to Miami, helming restaurants, pop-ups, and event catering companies, many of which feature vegan dishes.
Here are 10 Latinx chefs who are putting fresh vegetables and vegan ingredients center stage. They’re proving they can deliver on the traditional flavors of their origin countries in a meat-free format.
These 13 Latinx vegan chefs dish up authentic cuisine
Jasmine Hernandez is only 27-years-old but already she’s reached a goal many chefs only dream of: restaurant owner. Hernandez opened her vegan Mexican restaurant Chicana Vegana in Fullerton, California, in summer 2020, after growing the business as a pop-up tent, according to the LA Times. She makes vegan Asada, al pastor, carnitas, and shrimp for street tacos, burritos, and loaded nachos. Her MexGogi tacos are a specialty: a slow-cooked plant protein, cucumber, cilantro, scallions, and spicy sauce.
It is clear why Ivan Castro calls himself Vegan Artisan on Instagram. His plant-based Mexican dishes are serious works of art. Castro is the chef at La Bartola, his vegan Mexican restaurant in Toronto. He grew up in Mexico City and cites his hometown and Oaxaca as inspiration. One impressive dish from his brunch menu is the pipian enmolatas: chicken enchiladas with a nutty, spicy house mole. Save room for chocolate atole on the rocks: Mexican hot chocolate on ice. Some of the best Mexican food you can eat might be in…Canada?
Food is a family affair for this married chef duo. Cecilia Flores grew up in Massachusetts. But her parents sent her to the Dominican Republic for many summers when she was young. Today, she is a public health researcher and doctoral candidate studying racial health inequalities. (How cool is this woman?) Ivannoe Rodriguez grew up in Santo Domingo. Together, they are Coco Verde Vegan Latina Kitchen, an Afro-Latina vegan catering business in Boston. Some of their most-ordered vegan Domincan dishes are asopao, a plant-based seafood stew with rice; chimichurri mushroom sliders; and ropa vieja, a plant-based beef stew.
Denise Vallejo is the force behind Alchemy Organica. She grew up in California surrounded by Mexican food that she now makes with plant-based proteins, which more closely resemble pre-colonial indigenous diets, she told Bon Appetit. Vallejo also brings her interest in astrology and alchemy to her cooking, according to Hip Latina. It’s reflected in dishes like her Zodiac Special, which centers a dish around the current zodiac sign. Check out Vallejo’s black magick tamalli, made with blue corn masa; activated charcoal; roasted jalapenos; and her cashew quesillo, a Oaxaca-style melting cheese.
Charly Garcia calls his Tulum, Mexican-inspired plant-based meals “designed for meat lovers, made for vegans.” Whether you’re eating at his shop, Charly’s Vegan Tacos, in Wynwood, Miami, or Quintana Roo, Tulum, Garcia makes his thick tortillas and his traditional toppings and sauces in-house. Yum. His nachos are a big hit on his Instagram, because obviously. But of course, tacos are the main attraction, like his carne asada tacos: grilled seitan steak roasted in garlic, with creamy avocado salsa, onion, and cilantro.
Jocelyn Ramirez, both a yogi and a talented chef, leans on her Ecuadorian and Mexican roots at Todo Verde, her plant-based restaurant in East Los Angeles. According to Bon Appetit, she began selling smoothies at farmers’ markets in Los Angeles and then broached vegan Latin American food. Ramirez grew the business into a pop-up and catering business, serving dishes like jackfruit al pastor or papas con chorizo for lunch. This spring she published a cookbook, La Vida Verde: Plant-based Cooking with Mexican Flare. It’s ideal if you’re looking to spice up your quarantine cooking with some vegan Latin-American dishes.
His taqueria was named the best tacos in Los Angeles in 2018. But native Californian Raul Medina promises his plant-based tacos will always be $3—accessible to anyone who wants them, he told OC Weekly. Head to the Taqueria La Venganza Instagram to see what he’s preparing: it’s usually a Pollo Loco pack (grilled, marinated vegan chicken); a Barbacoa Pack (smoky, fatty vegan barbacoa); or BBQ chicken.
Loreta Ruiz began exploring plant-based foods after her daughter was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and became vegan. Her Mexican father introduced the style of eating to Ruiz as a kid. But she eschewed for a typical diet with meat and dairy. She soon realized that many Mexican foods are already plant-based, though. Now she helms La Vegana Mexicana, a vegan Mexican restaurant in Santa Ana. Look to Instagram for what’s available from La Vegana Mexicana’s pickup menu: a tamal variety pack, including a black bean and mole tamal and the El Enamorado tamal, made with pozole and cashew cheese.
Desiree Flores’ grandmother and mom raised her in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. She credits her grandmother with teaching her how to cook. Flores began transitioning to a plant-based diet at 17 before heading to college to study business management and marketing, she told VoyageLA. Now she is the owner and chef behind Dear Mama LA, a pop-up restaurant and catering business serving plant-based Mexican-inspired dishes. (Perhaps you’ve seen them on episode two of the Starz show Vida?) Check out her Jalisco-style birria (meat stew) or asado tacos.
The word “delicatessen” probably brings to mind thick sandwiches stuffed with cold cuts. But not at The Plantisserie, a plant-based deli in Miami that makes it easy to grab a vegan lunch. Chef and co-owner Maria Laura Alemann is from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She came to Florida at age 18 to study hospitality, according to the Miami Herald. The Plantisserie, which opened in 2015, offers an extensive menu of fresh foods and frozen goods, including empanadas; quiches made with cashew cheese or cashew mozzarella; tempeh kabobs; and even shepard’s pie made with Beyond Meat. A pasta-less, almond ricotta lasagna is one of their top sellers and it’s no surprise why.
Mariposa, who goes by Reb Mari, is a Yanaguana-based, Native queer Tejana with a passion for ancestral healing through food, art, and activism. They founded a vegan restaurant and art space in San Antonio called La Botanica, and though the establishment was forced to close because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mariposa still remains active in the San Antonio food and art scene.
“Back in college I started thinking about how what we eat and consume [harms us all]. The meat industry, the dairy industry, exploitation of animals, exploitation of workers … that’s really where it started for me,” they told Collective Kitchen about how they became interested in plant-based cooking. “I moved to California in 2006 and really got into working within the vegan world and eating vegan. I really do love sharing plant-based food, and teaching people about vegetables and herbs.”
Many of Mariposa’s vegan dishes have Latinx influences—check out the chef’s recipes for a Tex-Mex burger, arroz con “pollo” and more here.
Ramirez was one of 10 chefs tasked with creating a vegan menu for the Met Gala on September 13. He is the chef at the Llama Inn located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and he draws upon food memories from his Peruvian-American upbringing in New Jersey for the menu at his popular restaurant.
The Peruvian spot has a large, devoted following thanks to tasty dishes such as charred bean toast, quinoa with banana, avocado, bacon, and cashews, and other things Ramirez ate as a child. While there is meat and fish on the menu, several dishes are plant-based.
“I always try to make sure I’m representing a dish in a way that would make any and all Peruvians proud, because at the end of the day, our cuisine is unique, delicious, and needs to be tasted,” Ramirez told Zagat.
He briefly studied at The Art Institute of Philadelphia, and then worked at Eleven Madison Park, Nuela, and Irving Mill before opening Llama Inn in 2015. Although he didn’t always want to cook Peruvian cuisine, he later traveled to the South American country and learned from the godfathers of modern Peruvian cooking—Gastón Acurio and Virgilio Martínez.
Together with his partner Jeremiah Stone, von Hauske was half of the chef/owner duo behind adjacent New York restaurants Contra (which earned them a Michelin star) and Wildair. Von Hauske, who hails from Mexico, was also one of the 10 chefs who created a plant-based feast for the Met Gala.
The culinary pro moved to New York in 2007 to enroll at the French Culinary Institute, though visa issues later forced him to go abroad. He made the most of his time away from America and worked in the kitchens of Noma in Copenhagen, Fäviken in Sweden, and Attica in Australia.
When the pandemic hit, Von Hauske and Stone decided to merge their eateries and create a new delivery-only restaurant called Contrair on the Lower East Side. It featured dishes such as tabbouleh with pomegranate and a miso kale, and a chopped beet salad served alongside natural wine,, as well as items with Mexican influences thanks to von Hauske’s heritage. Contra and Wildair have both since reopened.
Curious about some vegan Mid-Autumn Festival recipes? Look no further!
The annual holiday, which is sometimes referred to as Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, is a traditional festival that is observed by many East and Southeast Asian people. In fact, it is widely regarded as the second-most important holiday after Chinese New Year, and has a history that dates back to more than 3,000 years ago. It is commonly celebrated in mainland China, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand.
The holiday is observed on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar, which typically corresponds to mid-September to early October of the Gregorian calendar. This day was chosen because it’s thought to be “the middle of autumn.” Additionally, on the 15th of each month, the moon is at its roundest and brightest—AKA the harvest moon. This symbolizes togetherness and reunion in Chinese culture. In 2021, Mid-Autumn Festival falls on September 21.
The festival began thousands of years ago when the Emperor of China worshipped the moon in order to ensure bountiful harvests. Today, the holiday is typically celebrated with large family dinners where people eat foods that represent success and good fortune. People also carry or display lanterns that are meant to represent beacons that light the path to prosperity.
What foods are eaten during Mid-Autumn Festival?
The most popular food eaten during Mid-Autumn Festival is mooncakes—a pastry often stuffed with sweet bean, yolk, meat or lotus-seed paste. In many families, mooncake making is part of the celebration, and the sweets are often meticulously decorated and packaged with care.
As their name implies, mooncakes were initially intended as an offering for the moon. They are named after the moon goddess (Chang’e), who is said to make this type of cake. Common filling flavors include lotus seed paste, red bean paste, and green tea.
Like the moon, mooncakes are round and meant to represent togetherness. They are usually eaten in small wedges and served alongside tea, and are typically shared by family members. Mooncakes can also be given to relatives or friends as an expression of love and best wishes.
Since Mid-Autumn Festival is meant to celebrate the moon and the harvest, many dishes are loaded with vegetables, such as pumpkin, eggplant, mushrooms, and carrots. In a similar vein, mooncakes can often be filled with fruit such as pineapple or taro.
Duck is also common at Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations. People in East China’s Fujian Province traditionally prepare it with taro, which is widely planted during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
How to be vegan during Mid-Autumn Festival
Since Mid-Autumn Festival is about the harvest, fruits and vegetables play a large role in most family celebrations. However, bloggers and home chefs have also developed vegan versions of popular Mid-Autumn Festival dishes that are typically made with meat and/or dairy products.
For example, many mooncakes are typically made with an egg yolk inside and feature an egg wash, but plant-based cooks have been able to create recipes with vegan fillings and no egg wash.
Celebrate vegan Mid-Autumn Festival with these 6 recipes
LIVEKINDLY reached out to food bloggers of Asian heritage for some of their favorite vegan Mid-Autumn Festival dishes. Each blogger included personal details about what the dish means to them.
Chinese Vegan Duck
“Eating duck and giving duck as a gift is customary for many during the Mid-Autumn Festival. This recipe, however, is our version of a Chinese vegetarian duck, which is made with bean curd skin and stuffed with a rich, umami-packed mixture of vegetables and mushrooms,” says Sarah Leung, who runs The Woks of Life food blog with her parents Bill and Judy and sister Kaitlin. “After slicing, the pieces really do resemble pieces of Chinese roast duck!”
“[Mid-Autumn Festival] is a harvest festival so I think of the bounty of the season. Rice, for example, is harvested in September and October. TTT [Tết Trung Thu, another name for Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam] falls in between seasons so the produce that’s available is awesome,” notes Andrea Nguyen, the author of Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors. “Tomato, eggplant and green beans are still around, but hard squash and sweet crucifers are ramping up!”
She adds: “[That’s] what the season means to me. I look at the fat moon, sip wonderful tea, and if there’s a mooncake around, take nibbles.”
Buy a copy of Nguyen’s book with this recipe here.
Savory Sticky Rice
“I know Mid-Autumn Festival is drawing near from the amount of moon cakes we start to have here at home. It’s a very festive time with lots of food involved and one of the dishes we’d always have at home is a hearty rice dish to share,” says Jeeca Uy. “This Chinese Savoury Sticky Rice is similar to Kiam Peng, a fukien term that literally translates to salty rice (kiam = salty, peng = rice). In both Chinese and Filipino cuisine, sticky rice symbolises a tight knit family and believed to bring good fortune.”
“The dish is special to me because it’s a family recipe that my mom has been serving over the years and it is very comforting. The best part is, the sauce is very versatile and you can use it as a base to serve various toppings according to your needs,” explains Maggie Zhu. “For example, I love to top it with raw vegetables in the summer to serve the dish as a cold salad. In winter, I serve it with grilled root vegetables as a warm bowl.”
Maggie adds: “For the Mid-Autumn Festival, a noodle dish is always a must because it symbolizes fortune and longevity. The sesame noodle is perfect because it’s extremely easy to make, can be prepared ahead of time, and goes with the rest of the dishes on the table.”
“Mooncakes are all about gathering with loved ones and sharing a sweet treat together. It’s a dessert that one comes around once a year, so we savour every bite!” explain Rachel Chew and Racel Leung. “Snowskin mooncakes are a modern, no-bake version that’s easy to make at home. If you love matcha and mochi then you’ll love this recipe as much as we do.”
These fruity mooncakes from Joyce Gan are vegan and gluten-free because wheat is substituted for cornstarch. Gan describes mooncakes as a “hallmark tradition” of Mid-Autumn Festival and recalls her parents filling their pantry with all different kinds of traditional mooncakes when she was a child. Now, these vibrant pineapple-filled treats have become a tradition in Gan’s own family.
The intersection of Korean-American and Mexican-American street food occurred in the fall of 2008, next to the curb outside of an L.A. club, where chef Roy Choi’s Kogi Taqueria truck first began to sell its original fusion, the Korean taco. The concept of spooning Korean barbecue onto corn tortillas, dressed with the fiery flavors of taco truck salsa bars was dreamed up by Kogi partner Mark Maguera, executed by chef Choi, and broadcast via Twitter to Los Angeles, and then the world, as a modern food truck revolution swept over the planet. A year before, in Koreatown, the heart of L.A.’s substantial Korean community where the flavors of Kogi Taqueria had been marinating, Kyochon, the first Korean Fried Chicken chain, arrived from Seoul. Although fried chicken on a taco wasn’t new, the KFC taco was inevitable. And so, too, was the eventual vegan Korean fried chicken taco, a modern twist on a now-famous Southern California classic.
In the 60s, a late-night mom-and-pop restaurant in Tijuana’s red light district, Kentucky Fried Buches, opened with just one item on the menu: fried chicken necks. For over 50 years, KFB delighted hungry diners looking for a tasty after-hours snack of crispy skin with a little chicken meat attached on a corn tortilla, dressed with a spicy red salsa, which inspired a couple of L.A.-based food trucks, namely, the Santa Rita, Jalisco truck.
In recent years, a young Latino chef, Jonathan Pérez of Macheen gained a following for his spicy fried chicken tacos, topped with a piquant buttermilk fried chicken dusted with a proprietary blend of ground chile peppers, and slathered in a guajillo chile ranch dressing. While not influenced by these rare fried chicken tacos in Mexican culture, Koreatown’s Michindak, or Crazy Chicken, has added another chapter in L.A.’s evolving Mexican Korean street food mashup. “Charlie, my ex-marketing manager, came up with the idea in 2019, and he had so much love, fascination, and passion for L.A. street truck food, tacos and burritos,” said Joseph Park of Michindak. Park attributes the rise in the popularity of Korean Fried Chicken in all its forms to the year 2019, when K-Pop, Korean dramas, and young Korean YouTubers spread Korean culture to a wider audience.
Food trucks in L.A. helped create fusion cuisine
It’s no coincidence that the food truck scene begun by Kogi in 2008 was heavily influenced by Mexican-American street food, with many trucks adding tacos as a menu item—Argentine tacos, Thai tacos, and several trucks that followed Kogi, doing Korean tacos. The intermingled flavors of Latin America and Asia in our restaurants inspired by ramen franchises from Tokyo, CDMX-style al pastor specialists, and dim sum houses, are the culinary DNA of such hybrids, like the KFC taco, that is a tale of Los Angeles cuisine, on a corn tortilla.
Located in an outdoor kiosk on the corner of West 6th and South Catalina, inside one of Koreatown’s numerous strip malls jam-packed with specialty and regional Korean eateries, is Michindak. Their Korean fried chicken kiosk serves KFC with 5 levels of spice, from original to the ultra spicy Michin in a piece combo, in fried chicken sandwiches, capitalizing on L.A.’s obsession over hot chicken sandwiches, and their big chicken tacos. Chicken strips in a spicy batter are double-fried, Korean-style (also a technique used in Baja-style fish tacos), coated with honey orange sauce, and dusted with Hidden Valley Ranch powder. They are wrapped in corn tortillas with slaw, pickles, and a habanero sauce. Your very spicy taco is cooled by dipping it in Ranch dressing, yet another L.A. trend, that of dipping tacos is part of the dish.
From the age of alfalfa sprouts, vegan Indian food, the Self-Realization Cafe, and H.E.L.P. in the 60s, to plant-based meats, to the popularity of the vegan traditions in Thai and Vietnamese cuisines in the 90s, L.A. has led the way in vegan culture. While avocado toast was, for a moment, its symbol, the region’s vegan roots run much deeper. The first plant-based restaurant, aptly named, The Vegetarian Restaurant, opened on 3rd Street in the 1890s. Today, plant-based meat dishes and vegan substitutes are everywhere from cafes to five-star restaurants, even on Mexican taco trucks, and in the foodie web of Koreatown.
“In Korea, KFC is more serious, I mean, there are Michelin-starred chefs that have gone into perfecting the dish, which is everywhere in Korea, but here, things like chicken sandwiches, and tacos are very California,” said Matt Kang, Korean-American editor of Eater LA. And in California that includes vegan versions of our favorite dishes such as Jesse Boy’s Korean fried cauliflower, or the V-KBBQ tacos at Tacos Tu Madre in Westwood, or vegan menu items on taquerias sprawling from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach.
Whatever your fusion favorite, the only way to wrap a taco in classic Angeleno style is with fresh-made corn tortillas. L.A. is known for the best corn tortillas in the country with several producers selling ones made with nixtamal, using organic corn. It’s the perfect wrapper for a spicy plant-based KFC taco tossed in a flavorful gochujang sauce— a uniquely and healthy L.A. mix of Korean and Mexican street food made vegan.
How to make a vegan KFC taco
Try your own vegan Korean fried chicken taco at home with this recipe created by celebrity chef Nyesha Arrington using LikeMeat Chicken.
Korean Fried Chick’n Tacos
30 mins to prep
20 mins to cook
1 packageLikeMeat Like Chick’n Pieces, thawed in refrigerator
1/3 cupvegan mayo
2 tablespoonslight brown sugar
2 tablespoonstoasted sesame oil
2 tablespoonslow-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cupapple cider vinegar
1 teaspoonkorean chili flakes
1 teaspoonKosher salt
1 teaspoonfresh ground black pepper
KOREAN-STYLE PINK PICKLED RADISH
1/4 cupwhite vinegar
1 teaspoonKosher salt
1 bunch pink radishes, cleaned, stemmed, and thinly sliced
2ripe avocados, pitted
2cloves of garlic, finely grated with Microplane
1/4 cupfresh lime juice (about 2-3 limes)
1 tablespoonlime zest
1/3 cupvegan sour cream
1/3 cuppicked cilantro leaves
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
KOREAN FRIED CHICK’N
Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
1/2 cupbrown rice flour
2 teaspoonsbaking powder
2 teaspoonsKosher salt
3/4 cupice-cold sparkling water
106-inch yellow corn tortillas, warmed or toasted over a burner
1 1/2 cupsgreen cabbage, thinly sliced
1/4 cupfresh herbs, chopped (such as scallions and cilantro)
Toasted white and black sesame seeds (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup water, gochujang, mayo, brown sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, chili flakes, salt, and black pepper. Whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper.
KOREAN-STYLE PINK PICKLED RADISH
In a small pot over medium-high heat, bring 1/4 water, sugar, vinegar, and salt to a boil until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
In a jar or small bowl, add the radishes and cover with lukewarm pickling liquid. Let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving or refrigerate. The pickled radishes will keep in the refrigerator, tightly sealed, for about one week.
In a blender (or food processor), add the avocados, garlic, lime juice and zest, sour cream, and cilantro. Blend until smooth, adding more lime juice if needed. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
KOREAN FRIED CHICK’N
In a heavy-bottomed pot or cast-iron skillet, add oil to fill 1-2 inches. Heat the oil to 375˚F over medium heat.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels and preheat the oven to 300˚F (to keep fried Like Chick’n Pieces warm).
In a large bowl, whisk the cornstarch, brown rice flour, baking powder, and salt. Stream in sparkling water until smooth.
Working in batches, evenly coat each Like Chick’n Pieces in the batter. Allow excess batter to drip off slightly, then carefully lower battered Like Chick’n Pieces into the hot oil using a spoon.
Fry in batches until Like Chick’n Pieces are puffed and golden, about 3 minutes each.
Carefully scoop them out using a slotted spoon or skimmer and drain on the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Hold in the oven, if desired.
Toss the fried Like Chick’n Pieces in the gochujang glaze to coat well.
Pile a handful of cabbage onto a tortilla and top with a few Like Chick’n Pieces. Drizzle with more gochujang glaze, if desired.
Garnish with avocado crema, pickled radishes, herbs, and sesame seeds, if desired.
Start by preparing the gochujang glaze, followed by the pickled radish radishes and avocado crema before frying. Once you prepare the batter for the Chick’n Pieces, you want to be ready to serve, so having all your ingredients, or mise en place, ready is key. When ready to fry, preheat the oven to 300˚F to keep the fried Chick’n Pieces warm.
Special Equipment: blender or food processor, deep-fry thermometer
These vegan stuffed poblano peppers, or chile rellenos, feature dairy-free feta and provolone cheese, potatoes, and tomato sauce.
Hunger pangs got you down? You’re definitely going to want to dig into this recipe. On this episode of EATKINDLY With Me, Amanda Castillo whips up a family favorite: vegan stuffed poblano peppers.
“I am so excited about this recipe,” Amanda says. “It’s one of my personal favorites that my mom makes. It’s super yummy.”
Stuffed poblano peppers are also known as chile rellenos. The green peppers traditionally feature a cheese, meat, and vegetable stuffing. They’re battered with egg and flour and then fried to perfection. It’s believed the chile relleno originated in Puebla, Mexico. The dish’s colors—red, white, and green—resemble the Mexican flag. This makes the dish a popular choice for commemorating Mexico’s Independence day, which is celebrated on September 16.
Her vegan stuffed peppers feature potatoes. “A good rule of thumb is to use one potato per chile,” she explains. The filling also includes a red tomato sauce. “I’m not sure if tomato sauce always comes with chile rellenos. But it is what my family does and I absolutely love the flavor that it gives it,” she says. Since Amanda’s tomato sauce is homemade, this recipe calls for a blender.
Once complete, Amanda tops the peppers with extra vegan feta cheese and cilantro. “Alright, let’s go in for a bite,” she says. “Wow, the provolone in this makes a huge difference. It tastes like ooey-gooey melted cheese. You guys have to try this.”
Stuffed Poblano Peppers (aka “Chile Rellenos”)
35 mins to prep
1 hour to cook
4 poblano peppers
1/4 cup vegan feta cheese
4 Yukon gold potatoes
4 slices vegan provolone cheese
1 Roma tomato, diced
1/2 cup JUST Egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Garlic salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
1 cup canola or vegetable oil for frying
3 Roma tomatoes
1/8 large white onion or 1/4 of small white onion
2 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon Mexican dried oregano
1 cup of water
6 cilantro stems
Salt to taste
In a saucepan, cover potatoes with water over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until fully soft, 15-20 minutes. Drain and peel skins. Set aside to allow to cool.
Roast the peppers over an open flame until the skin is blackened and blistered. Carefully turn with tongs to ensure that all sides are blackened. If you don’t have access to an open flame, the peppers can be broiled in the oven for about 2 minutes on each side.
Place peppers in a large, sealable bag to keep in heat and allow to steam. After 10 minutes, remove peppers from the bag and peel the charred skin. Peel carefully to not tear the peppers open. Set aside.
To prepare the filling, mash potatoes in a large bowl. Add diced tomato and feta cheese. Mix and add garlic salt and pepper to your liking. Set aside.
Time to make the sauce! In a saucepan, boil 3 tomatoes over medium-high heat and cook until the skins begin to peel, about 10 minutes. Place the tomatoes in a blender along with the onion, garlic cloves, oregano, and 1 cup of the water used to boil the tomatoes. Blend and salt to taste.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the blended salsa and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, add 3 stems of cilantro, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with more salt if desired.
Time to fill! Cut a small slit down the middle of each pepper and carefully remove the seeds. Place one slice of provolone into each pepper along with a scoop of potato filling. Do not overfill – the peppers should still be able to close. Toothpicks can be used to ensure they stay closed while frying.
In one dish add the JUST Egg, and in another add the flour. One by one, generously coat the peppers in the egg, and then in the flour.
Heat 1 cup of oil in a large skillet. Once hot, add the peppers and fry for 2-3 minutes per side until the batter is golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain off any excess oil.
In a separate pan, simmer the chile rellenos with the salsa for 3 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
An open flame is ideal to blacken the poblano peppers, however, an oven can be used as well if you don’t have access to one. A large, sealable bag will be needed to steam the peppers after charring.
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In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson decreed the start of a new holiday, one that would celebrate people of Latinx and Hispanic descent, their achievements, and their cultures. The holiday was dubbed “Hispanic Heritage Week”—according to hispanicheritagemonth.gov. But, twenty years later, President Ronald Reagan decided a whole thirty days were in order, and thus elongated the observation of the holiday from September 15 to October 15. The significance of the start date, September 15th, is that many Latin American countries celebrate their independence day then, with Mexico and Chile closely behind, on September 16th and 18th.
What is Latinx Heritage Month?
Though it’s been known as Hispanic Heritage Month for 33 years, using the term, “Hispanic,” to encapsulate the Latin American experience in the United States has come under criticism, and rightfully so.
Merriam-Webster defines Hispanic as, “relating to the people, speech, or culture of Spain,” centralizing the colonizing influence on Latin American countries, and in doing so, alienating some Latinx peoples. Using ‘Hispanic’ to mark the holiday celebrates the Spanish influence on Latin America while concealing the murder and colonization of Latin Americans.
If we are celebrating Latin American heritage on the days these nations achieved independence from their colonizing countries, like Spain, it feels counterintuitive and problematic to continue calling it “Hispanic” Heritage Month.
Isabelia Herrera touches on this, with much more in-depth, in a 2019 New York Times exploration of the holiday titled, Does Hispanic Heritage Month Need a Rebrand? She reminds readers that the term “Hispanic” also alienates and excludes those of African and Indigenous descent.
Latinx (or Latine, 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 ’90s on online forums, according to Minhae Shim Roth’s, What does Latinx Mean, for those of Latin American descent. Though it’s still an imperfect umbrella term, Latinx Heritage Month is the start of a work-in-progress striving to be more inclusive and intentional when talking about the descendants of 33 countries, their cultures, their achievements, and their futures.
How to be vegan during Latinx Heritage Month
Food culture is an important part of Latinx Heritage Month, and Latin American cuisine is brimming with flavor. The herbs, spices, and flavors particular to each kitchen do the heavy-lifting in each culture’s cuisine, bringing any vegetable, grain, or legume into colorful life. Veganizing foods that are traditional to these cultures becomes easy when you harness the flavoring agents responsible for their flavor profiles and translate them to plant-based ingredients.
Take for example Haitian epis, the seasoning base Chef Gabrielle Reyes uses to give Haitian spaghetti the perfect touch. This blend of herbs, alliums, bouillon and more, is capable of injecting a wealth of bold savory flavor into any dish. Sofrito, similarly to epis, is the beloved base in Puerto Rican cooking that gives ingredients the classic flavor that is key to this island’s cuisine.
Veganizing recipes that are traditional to the individual cook, are a way to keep traditions and cultures alive in the hearth of our homes, especially for the vegan Latin American diaspora in the United States. Celebrate this month by making these meals at home, or by supporting your local Latinx chefs, and delight at the wealth and variety of flavor that vegan Latinx culture is innovating every day.
5 tasty Latinx recipes, made vegan
Vegan niños envueltos
Husband and wife chef team, Cecilia Flores and Ivannoe Rodriguez Sierra of Boston-based vegan Dominican blog and catering service, Coco Verde Vegan, say this recipe of vegan niños envueltos is really special to them.
“It’s one of the first recipes we created while transitioning to a plant-based diet almost four years ago now,” shares Flores. “I have beautiful memories of my aunt making them in a huge caldero during the summers that I spent in the Dominican Republic as a kid. I love how hearty they are and how they taste like home.”
Singing and cooking viral TikTok sensation, Gabrielle Reyes, also known as One Great Vegan, went vegan to improve her health. She told Today 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 to your taste buds. My goodness, this recipe is delightfully delish with the buttery plant-based sausage and peppers along with epis seasoning, plus noodles for a colorful Caribbean treat.”
Reina Gascon-Lopez of The Sofrito Project, a blog that highlights Puerto Rican food culture, veganized this recipe, which usually 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 culture with them,” Gascon-Lopez says about the vegan canoas recipe. “She introduced me to a variety of plant-based ingredients and taught me a lot about adapting recipes for a vegan lifestyle. We had a great time for our weekly family dinner nights with lots of dinners that the whole household could eat and enjoy together. This recipe was definitely in rotation after I made it for everyone.”
Owner and operator of the delectable and sought-after Los Angeles-based vegan Cuban pop-up, Señoreata, Evanice Holz, shares with LIVEKINDLY, and her Instagram followers, a pastelito de carne y queso recipe that was a childhood favorite.
“It’s the closest I can get to a plant-based modern take on the classic Cuban pastelitos I used to love eating as a kid,” she says of the pastry she’d often eat six of in one sitting.
Through Señoreata, Holz has been able to bring these savory delights to folks in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree. “Now, I get to share this part of my culture in a cruelty-free and plant-based way for the modern world.”
Arepas are the first solid foods Venezuelan chef and food creative, Mercedes Golip, had as a baby. But she didn’t learn how to make them until 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’s mastered the arepa and beyond—lending her creative eye to her beloved arepas by pressing flowers or herbs into them. Or in this case, making them into a colorful creation by using different colored varietals of heirloom masa harina, like this recipe.
“By learning to make arepas at home, I have connected with my roots on a different level through a practice that is becoming almost obsolete in Venezuela and that I feel is important to preserve as part of our heritage, especially as a Venezuelan-American in the context of a growing diaspora.”