Food We Talked to Vegetarian Latinos About How They Handle the Holidays – Remezcla

You kind of have to lean heavy on the appetizers.

Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla

Well, my immediate familyembraced [vegetarianism] fully. My mom actually learned recipes for vegan tamales, vegan champurrado, just anything that was a traditional staple she learned to make a vegetarian version for us, because it was two out of three kids that were vegetarians and the third one didnt mind eating vegetarian food.

As far as my extended family, theres a few scattered vegetarians, so there was always a vegetarian dish but usually, it was just sides or something carby like rolls. You kind of have to lean heavy on the appetizers, as opposed to the main meals. The game plan was usually to order ahead from a place we knew had vegetarian food, and it was almost like we were having a second dinner. It was almost like an exclusive club [where] the vegetarians hung out in a certain table, where we would bring our own dishes in solidarity like the kids table for vegetarians. -Pablo Hernadez

Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla

We made empanadas for my Friendsgiving and [my mom] helped me make them with veggies only. Shes also learning, which is nice. Shell taste them and shes like, Yeah, theyre good but you know would be better with meat.

Shes more interested in making sure that she makes stuff for me to eat, which is nice because I was starting to just make my own dishes and I think shes trying to [ensure] that I can still eat the traditional food. Even with arepas, I love thoseshe purchased the Daiya soy cheese and made arepas from them, so little by little shes starting to come around, but I mean its taken six years for her to finally give in. I think theres ways, but it is a lot of pressure to just kind of eat whats in front of you because for the sake of tradition, you almost want to do it, you know youre like, Oh, the holidays [are] fine, but I dont like the taste anymore.

So the previous years, I would [make] cookies or I would make something that still involved animal products. I would even offer to cook regular dishes that I was used to cooking, but I wouldnt eat my own stuff I was spending time and money on stuff that I didnt even eat. I would get there, sometimes eat before or I would eat a little bit of whatever side dishes I could eat. I was more so thinking of the full party rather than, Im going to be hungry. Thats why this year, Ive taken side dishessweet potato mash, mac and cheese that didnt have dairyI almost didnt want to take it because I knew people would say something or comment, Oh, this is vegan? Thats why I would just cook the regular dishes because I rather everybody eat whatever and then just leave me alone. -Carolina Montenegro

Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla

For the holidays, I usually make my own food. I kind of find out what my family is eating, like if theyre making tamales or pozole or just different food, so then I can recreate that certain dish and veganize it, just so they can kind of see, Hes eating the same thing were eating without any meat or milk products. Just little by little Ive noticed that my family taste my food. Last year, I made tamales and my grandpa, now that hes getting older, hes not able to tolerate beef as much, so he tasted my tamales and hes like O estaban bien sabrosos!He even took some home. -Adrean Rodriguez

Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla

My family is so big that this year were throwing Christmas in a hall because we dont fit in someones house, theres just too many of uslike 100. It is tough because everybodys bringing meat, but Im just there to enjoy the moment with my family, Ill eat rice and beans. On days like that, Ill have the moro or the salads that they bring and just limit myself. Unfortunately, I dont really get to indulge in all of the amazing things that they cook, but Im just there for the moment. I appreciate that theyre not forcing it on me. Theyre just like, I mean thats great but what are you going to eat? Thats always the question, but I can deal with that. -Maria Brito

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Food We Talked to Vegetarian Latinos About How They Handle the Holidays - Remezcla

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