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Vegan food is always a great alternative to the unsustainable food system, but know what’s even better? Vegan food that excites and surprises the tastebuds. Deep flavours rooted in cultural significance and topped off with some national pride? That’s what we’re talking about.
Latin America’s collection of vibrant countries turn out a plethora of memorable vegan foods. From Mexican spiced fruit jerky to sustainable Ecuadorian protein powder, you’re going to start campaigning for a Latinx vegan section at your local supermarket once we introduce you to some of our favourite brands.
Fruit and spice is a natural combination in Mexico. Fresh fruit served with hot swizzle sticks can be found everywhere and now, dried fruit and regional punch come together in Chuza’s snack packets. Lantinx, vegan and healthy. What more could you want?
Start with: Spicy Pineapple. The chewy texture of dried pineapple makes magic happen with Northern Mexico spices. Thanks to being sharper than some of the other fruits, the pineapple leads you in with less of a sock to your tastebuds. You’ll graduate to Spicy Strawberry within hours though. You have been warned.
Add this to your basket: The Chuza Chili Seasoning. It’s a pantry staple for sprinkling on or in literally everything. You’ll be shaking it onto pizzas, grapefruit and into your drinks before you can say “pass the water”.
Founded by three boys with a love for their mothers’ Mexican home cooking, Somos was founded to make it possible to recreate those dishes at home. The result is ready to assemble meal components that take the hassle out of cooking but put the Mexico back in the cocina.
Start with: The Smoky Mushrooms Tostada Kit. You get everything you need for a big family meal here, including blue corn tostadas brown rice, refried beans, chips, salsa and of course, chipotle mushrooms. The most impressive thing is how all the individual components have been designed with each other in mind, creating a combined flavour that is undeniably moreish.
Add this to your basket: Que Rico Chips & Salsa Variety Kit. Tortilla chips might not be new but if you’re not branching out with your dip you are missing an opportunity. The roasted tomatillo is one to grab!
If you haven’t heard of chocho, you’re not alone. A regenerative crop grown in Ecuador, chocho is a lupin, meaning it stores a huge protein punch within its pods. Rich in calcium, containing all nine essential amino acids and being super sustainable, it was a natural choice for fifth-generation farmer Ricky Echanique to work with. The Mikuna founder has developed key working relationships with Ecuadorean chocho farmers, to ensure fair trade whilst making what he considers to be a very different protein powder.
Start with: Cacao protein powder. As a gentle lead into a new protein source, having the security blanket of organic cacao is useful. Gluten, dairy and filler-free, the recipe is clean, as is the drinking experience. Chocho makes for a very smooth powder with no synthetic aftertaste.
Add this to your basket: Pure Latinx vegan chocho powder. It has no other ingredients and if you like the cacao, you’ll want to try the source in its raw form. Fans of the powder say they add it to baking, oats and even coffee as an energy hit.
Muchacha is a coffee brand but also a community. It seeks to empower women through acknowledgement of their expertise and leadership. Throughout the brand’s supply chain, women are uplifted and bolstered in their everyday lives. The ethos was put in place by founder Diana Hoyos. Hailing from Colombia, she understands the difficulty in trying to progress in a corporate setting, as a female. Now, she uses her platform to help others flourish with her ‘Victoria’ line of Colombian beans.
Start with: A one-off purchase of Victoria beans, to dial in your grinder. Alternatively, you can order the coffee pre-ground. A blend of fruit and chocolate notes, it feels rich and silky to drink, with a mildly acidic endnote. You’ll support women-owned farms with every cup.
Add this to your basket: A feminist-power mug from the merch shop. Our favourite is the ‘own your power’ style that gives you a boost with every sip.
5. The Pinole Project
Founded out of love for an abuela’s pinole recipes, The Pinole Project seeks to showcase the versatility of the Aztec superfood. Made using dried non-GMO corn with spices, sometimes chia seeds and unrefined cane sugar too, pinole is rich in protein and fibre. Here, it is added to oats to make the ultimate vegan oatmeal, just like abuela used to make.
Start with: A variety pack that includes all flavours. The original you can flavour yourself and who can say no to peanut butter with cacao or banana and cinnamon? All packets are gluten-free, vegan and packed with energy. Don’t believe us? The Tarahumara people of Northern Mexico eat pinole for energy before embarking on long-distance runs.
Add this to your basket: A second variety pack, to gift to someone you love and want to share food with. This feels very on-brand for The Pinole Project, which speaks about the act of eating together and creating a food-based community very fondly.
If you’re in the mood to experimnet with recipes, be sure to check out our favourite multicultural cookbooks.
Lead photo by The Blackrabbit at Unsplash.