Vegetarian Posole

Vegetarians tend to eat a lot of ethnic food. American food -- with the exception of some delicacies like mac-and-cheese and veggie chili -- tends to focus on meat. We aren't known as a meat-and-potatoes culture for nothing. Anyway, so because of that, I end up cooking and eating a lot of cuisines like Thai, Japanese, Chinese, sometimes Italian and Greek, and especially Indian.

But one of my very favorite cuisines for delicious vegetarian meals is Mexican. Oh man, there are so many great veg-friendly Mexican ingredients. Beans, cheese, rice, peppers, lime, avocado, tomato, cilantro. It's easy to forget about the whole meat thing entirely.

This recipe is one of those classic Mexican dishes that's healthy, filling, and really good. Also, it just so happens to be vegan (no dairy!). According to the history books, posole is a traditional pre-Columbian meal that was made on special occasions -- specifically, the occasion of human sacrifice. After the heart was torn out in the ritual, the rest of the human flesh was chopped up and cooked with corn meal because corn was considered a sacred plant. After the Spanish conquest, cannibalism was banned and pork was substituted in the posole because it "tastes very similar."

Now aren't you glad this version is vegetarian?

Vegetarian Posole
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cups vegetable broth, water, or a combination
  • 2 cups cooked whole hominy, or one 14-ounce can of hominy, drained and rinsed
  • One 15-ounce can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups kale, chard, or other leafy green
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 medium avocado, diced
  • 3 medium plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium lime, cut into wedges
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Pour broth over onion mixture and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Add hominy and beans; cook 2 minutes. Add greens and cook until greens are wilted and just cooked, about 2 minutes more. Stir in cilantro, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Garnish with remaining ingredients and serve.