There are many benefits to going vegan, and most people begin to feel them within the first few weeks. Whether it’s more energy, clearer skin, or fewer stomach upsets, veganism can literally make people feel better in ways traditional medicine can’t. Going vegan doesn’t have to mean bland food though – we’ve compiled the best vegan Mexican-inspired recipes that you’ll never know are vegan!
The hardest part of going vegan is taking that initial step, as many people assume they’ll no longer be able to indulge in their favorite foods. While you will need to cut out steaks and burgers (andcheese), there are plenty of delicious alternatives and even a few variations of your favorite staples. As Mexican is a favorite cuisine of many, we compiled a few of our favorite vegan Mexican recipes to help inspire you in the kitchen. These recipes are healthy, delicious, and – unless you inform your guests they’re vegan – they’ll be none the wiser.
5.) Mexican Bean Lasagne
What could be better than a take on both Mexican food and Italian food? Mexican Bean Lasagna is one of our favorite recipes, from one of our favorite vegan sites, veganuary.com. It’s cheesy (yes, dairy-free cheese, but still delicious), spicy and full of protein and veggies, and a vegan Mexican dish your family and guests will love.
- Prep time: 45-50 minutes
- Cook time: 30-35 minutes
- Serves: 6-8 people
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 395 g tinned mixed beans in spicy tomato sauce
- 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes, for extra heat if liked
- 25 g vegan butter
- 25 g plain flour
- 300 ml unsweetened soy milk
- 150 g dairy-free cheese, grated (we love Daiya shredded)
- salt and
- 8 flour tortillas, halved
- Heat oil in a pan andfry the onion until soft but not brown. Add pepper and fry for further 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the mixed beans and chopped tomatoes, adding chili flakes if liked. Heat through and then reduce heat to low whilst making the dairy-free cheese sauce.
- Place vegan butter, flour and soy milk in a medium saucepan. Stirring continuously over a moderate heat, bring to the boil and cook for 2-3 minutes until thickened, smooth and glossy. Stir in 100g dairy free cheddar cheese until melted and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spoon about a quarter of the tomato sauce over the base of a lasagne dish and arrange a single layer of flour tortillas over the top. Spoon a quarter of the dairy-free cheese sauce over the tortillas then repeat the layers finishing with a layer of cheese sauce. Cover the top with the remaining cheese.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until bubbling and golden.
- If you’re trying to stay away from soy, you can also substitute almond milk for soy milk.
4.) Quinoa Taco “Meat”
Quinoa tacos are one of our favorite vegan Mexican recipes. We discovered this treat awhile back on Minimalist Baker and have been making it monthly ever since. While “quinoa meat” may not taste exactly like “real meat,” it’s just as flavorful, and once topped with salsa, guacamole, and whatever else you can dream up, taste just like “real” tacos (sans the grease, saturated fat, and worse).
- Prep time: 15 minutes
- Cook time: 45 minutes
- Serves: 6 people
- 1 cup (184 g) tri-color, white, or red quinoa
- 1 cup (240 ml) vegetable broth*
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) water
- 1/2 cup (128 g) salsa
- 1 tbsp (3 g) nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground chili powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp each sea salt and black pepper
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive or avocado oil
- Guacamole to taste (as a topping)
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add rinsed quinoa and toast for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add vegetable broth and water and bring back to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to low, cover with a secure lid and cook for 15-25 minutes, or until liquid is completely absorbed. Fluff witha fork, then crack lid and let rest for 10 minutes off heat.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Add cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients (salsa, nutritional yeast, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and oil). Toss to combine. Then spread on a lightly greased (or parchment-lined) baking sheet.
- Bake for 20-35 minutes, stirring/tossing once at the halfway point to ensure even baking. The quinoa is done when it’s fragrant and golden brown. Be careful not to burn!
Serve in crispy taco shells, atop salad, or any other way you can dream up!
- Top with homemade guac, pico, and Frank’s Red Hot Sauce for extra flavor. You can find vegan sour cream in most grocery stores too!
3.) Vegan Black Bean Enchiladas
Black beans are an excellent source of protein for those looking to go vegan but worried about their protein intake. These delicious vegan Mexican treats are full of veggies (cauliflower, broccoli and bell peppers, in addition to black beans) and easy to make! We’re grateful to Cookie and Kate for creating and sharing this recipe.
- Prep time: 15 minutes
- Cook time: 45 minutes
- Serves: 4 people
- 2 cups enchilada sauce; either store bought or homemade enchilada sauce (from Cookie and Kate)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped red onion (about 1 small red onion)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 bunch of broccoli or 1 small head of cauliflower (about 1 pound), florets removed and sliced into small, bite-sized pieces
- 1 tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 5 to 6 oz. baby spinach (about 5 cups, packed)
- 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed, or 1 ½ cups cooked black beans
- 1 cup shredded vegan Monterey Jack cheese, divided
- ½ tsp salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 8 whole wheat tortillas (about 8” in diameter)
- Handful of chopped cilantro, for garnishing
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with one rack in the middle of the oven and one in the upper third. Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch pan with olive oil or cooking spray.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil until simmering. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are tender and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the broccoli and bell pepper, stir, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover the skillet (I don’t have a lid for mine, so I just placed a cookie sheet on top). Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 to 9 minutes, or until the broccoli is brighter green and just starting to turn golden on the edges.
- Add the cumin and cinnamon to the skillet and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the spinach, a few handfuls at a time, stirring until it has reduced in size. Repeat with remaining spinach and cook until all of the spinach has wilted.
- Transfer the contents of the pan to a medium mixing bowl. Add the drained beans, ¼cup cheese and a drizzle of enchilada sauce (about 2 tablespoons). Season with ½ teaspoon salt and some freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
- Assemble the enchiladas: Pour ¼ cup enchilada sauce into your prepared pan and tilt it from side to side until the bottom of the pan is evenly coated. To assemble your first enchilada, spread ½ cup filling mixture down the middle of a tortilla, then snugly wrap the left side over and then the right, to make a wrap. Place it seam side down against the edge of your pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
- Drizzle the remaining enchilada sauce evenly over the enchiladas, leaving the tips of the enchiladas bare. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese evenly over the enchiladas.
- Bake, uncovered, on the middle rack for 20 minutes. If the cheese on top isn’t golden enough for your liking, carefully transfer the enchiladas to the upper rack of the oven and bake for an additional 3 to 6 minutes, until sufficiently golden and bubbly.
- Remove from oven and let the enchiladas rest for 10 minutes
- Before serving, sprinkle chopped cilantro down the center of the enchiladas. Serve immediately.
- The best thing about this vegan Mexican dish is that it can be easily adjusted depending on what veggies are in season. While this recipe has bell peppers, broccoli and cauliflower, you can easily substitute eggplant, pumpkin, squash, or any other veggie you’re craving.
2.) Vegan Queso Dip
While NYC may do pizza well, the city fails when it comes to “cheese dip.” The South, however, excels in this Americanized Mexican dish. Queso dip is as delicious and simple as it seems – melted cheese, some cream, and a few spices (and jalapeños, for those that like it spicy) which tastes best when paired with salsa and put atop chips. Queso dip is as far from vegan as you can get, but thankfully there’s a vegan version! While we’ll admit it’s not quite as good as the real thing, it’s close, and another of our favorite vegan Mexican dishes. Thank you Well Plated for sharing this recipe with us.
- Prep time: 15 minutes
- Cook time: 30 minutes
- Serves: 12 people
- 5 cups cauliflower florets (from about 1 medium head cauliflower)
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp McCormick Less Sodium Taco Seasoning, divided (use Original Taco Seasoning to make 100% dairy free)
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in cool water for at least 4 hours or overnight or in boiling hot water for 1 hour and drained (for quicker alternatives or if you have a high-powered blender, see Notes)
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice), plus additional as needed
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt (omit if using Original Taco Seasoning or add to taste)
- 1 (10-oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained, or 1 1/4 cups well-drained chunky salsa
- Place the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven and coat two rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
- Place the cauliflower, garlic, and onions in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with 2 tbsp taco seasoning. Toss to coat, and then divide evenly between the two baking sheets. Spread each into a single layer so that the veggies do not overlap. Roast until golden and tender, about 30 minutes, tossing once halfway through and switching the pans’ positions on the upper and lower rack.
- Transfer the roasted vegetables to a blender and add in the soaked cashews, almond milk, nutritional yeast, salt, and remaining 1 1/2 tsp taco the seasoning. Blend until very smooth, adding water a few tbsp at a time as needed to reach your desired consistency. (I added about 1/2 cup water for a very thick queso.) If your blender has a heating feature, continue blending until the mixture is hot. If not, pour the queso into a saucepan and heat over medium on the stove until very warm. Stir in the drained tomatoes or salsa. Taste and add kosher salt or a little bit of additional taco seasoning as desired.
- To serve as a dip, transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with desired toppings.
- If you have a Vitamix, you can forgo soaking the cashews.
- If you happen to have any leftovers, store in airtight container for up to 5 days. To reheat, microwave and stir frequently.
- Optional: Top with sliced jalapeño, fresh cilantro, diced tomatoes, finely chopped red onion, and/or faux sausage. Also pairs well with taco quinoa above.
1.) Fiesta Bean Dip
If you love vegan Mexican food as much as we do, then the appropriately named veganmexicanfood.com will be your new favorite go-to for recipe inspo. We’ve tried several of their recipes and they have all been crowd-pleasers. One of their all-time favorites is their Fiesta Bean Dip. It’s easy to make, delicious, and perfect for just about any occasion.
- Prep time: 15 minutes
- Cook time: 10 minutes
- Serves: 6 people
- 1 (8-oz.) container of vegan sour cream (optional)
- 1 (4-oz.) can chopped/sliced jalapeño peppers
- 1 (16-oz.) can refried beans
- 1 (1-oz.) package taco seasoning mix
- 1 cup grated vegan cheese (optional)
- 2 avocados, mashed or guacamole
- 1 cup salsa
- 3/4 cup or more diced tomatoes (optional)1 (4-ounce) can diced black olives
- 1/2 cup diced/chopped green onions (optional)
- If using, in a medium bowlstir together the vegan sour cream and jalapeño peppers. Set aside.
- Now heat the beans on medium heat. Stir in taco seasoning until hot.
- In a shallow serving dish, spread bean mixture about 1/2 inch thick.
- If using, sprinkle the grated vegan cheese over the hot beans (this will help it melt).
- Follow this by layering on the mashed avocado, salsa, and the optional tomatoes, and if using, spoon on the vegan sour cream/jalapeño mixture. Finally, you can top with olives and/or green onions. Additional avocado slices can also be placed on top.
- Top with olives, green onions, additional avocado slices, corn, or anything else you think would pair well
- Serve with tortilla chips
Do you have a favorite vegan Mexican recipe? Share it in the comments, or click next to find some vegan hair care products.