Vegan Mexican Cookbooks
Every vegan has that last food that they cling to – for some people, it’s ice cream, while others have to pry their fingers from a wheel of brie. For me, that food was tacos.
I just couldn’t wrap my brain around it. I mean, I made changes to tacos when I first went vegetarian – ground beef was easy to swap out for sliced grilled mushrooms and black beans.
But the idea of an entirely vegan taco was…omnious, to say the least.
No cheese? No sour cream? What kind of freak eats a dry taco?
What would hold all the filling together if not the loving embrace of shredded cheese?
It just seemed…sad.
However, much to the delight of my taste buds, I soon found out that vegan Mexican cooking (and a vegan lifestyle in general) didn’t have to be about deprivation at all. In fact, it opened me up to a whole new world of recipes, as well as plenty of tips and tricks to use in the kitchen.
If anything, learning not to drown everything in cheese and sour cream allowed all the bright, fresh flavors of authentic Mexican cooking to shine through.
Much like some people love the look and feel of a real magazine, I am a lover of cookbooks. There is something about a well-loved cookbook with hundreds of little post-it notes marking favorite recipes that just makes a kitchen homey for me.
There are plenty of cookbooks out there centering around Mexican cuisine made vegan, but I’ve narrowed it down to three titles that should grace the shelves of every plant-based kitchen.
See the full list below!
1. Viva Vegan!
200 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food Lovers
by Terry Hope Romero
When I saw Terry Hope Romero’s name on the cover of this cookbook, I knew it was going to be good. Half of the culinary dream team that produced Veganomicon [Amazon] and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar [Amazon], Terry is something of a legend in the vegan cooking world.
Viva Vegan! is worth a try for the sheer volume and variety of recipes – at 200 recipes, making one dish a day would still take you over half a year to finish the whole thing!
She has something for every food need, from appetizers and salads to the summertime cookout staple: sangria.
With a hefty volume of recipes, this cookbook is a great option for people on all points of the skill spectrum. Those who are just starting out in the kitchen can turn to salads and rice-and-beans, while those who are more comfortable with their culinary abilities can try their hand at rolling out homemade dough for satisfying empanadas.
Though perhaps the greatest part of this latin vegan cookbook – and all Terry’s recipes – are the familiar, comforting textures she manages to create with plant-based ingredients.
You don’t need to shell out a lot of money for specialty vegan sour cream when you can make your own crema from soaked and blended cashews.
The only strike I found against Viva Vegan! is the lack of pictures. Their middle section contains a few photographs of a handful of recipes, but they by no means do the dishes justice.
I prefer photos that draw me into a recipe and make my mouth water, but that could also just be personal
2. Vegan Tacos
Authentic and Inspired Recipes for Mexico’s Favorite Street Food
by Jason Wyrick
Chef Jason Wyrick's “Vegan Tacos” cookbook is the grown-up version of your college cafeteria’s Taco Tuesday.
Before this cookbook, my understanding of the taco was that it was a simple, somewhat Spartan thing – some crumbled protein, shredded iceberg, and waxy cheddar cheese wrapped up in a flour taco and maybe dolloped with some jarred salsa.
Through this book, however, Jason Wyrick showed me an entirely new side of tacos – the mature, classy taco that could be prepped for guests or be worthy of being eaten off something other than a paper plate.
Vegan Tacos is a cookbook for someone who is comfortable in the kitchen and looking to participate in every step of the taco-making process, from rolling out from-scratch tortillas and chopping ingredients for creative salsas.
Not to mention, this cookbook could double as a coffee table book – the photos in it are breathtaking, regardless of whether or not you actually make the tacos!
As Vegan Tacos requires an intermediate knowledge of cooking, I don’t suggest this as a cookbook beginners – it is best suited to those who are more experienced in the kitchen and get joy from labor-intensive recipes and exotic (read: harder to find) ingredients.
3. Love Vegan
The Essential Mexican Cookbook for Vegans
by High Cedar Press
While I grew up loving Mexican food, I did not grow up cooking Mexican food.
In my opinion, the most valuable aspect of Love Vegan is its heavy focus on authentic Mexican spice blends.
While the recipes require a little up-front investment in spices you might not already have on hand, once your spice rack is stocked, the recipes are incredibly flavorful, and a breeze to make.
I also love that the recipes in this cookbook don’t fall back on processed foods like vegan meats and cheeses – when I open a cookbook, and it calls for beefless crumbles, vegan cheddar, and dairy-free sour cream, I’ll admit I feel a little cheated.
I love that Love Vegan is based on whole, delicious vegan foods like black beans, sweet potato, and avocado. A big plus for weeknight cooking: each recipe takes only 30 minutes to prepare!
Love Vegan is well-suited to beginner cooks and beginner vegans – in addition to the recipes, it also provides informative background on vegan nutrition and a plant-based lifestyle.
The Final Verdict
If you can only choose a single vegan Mexican cookbook from this list, I’d recommend going with Terry’s Viva Vegan! [Amazon] – her recipes will grow with your skill set, and for the little price you pay for 200 recipes, it is the best bang for your buck.
You don’t have to give up your favorite creamy, filling Mexican dishes and condiments just because you want to lead a plant-based lifestyle.
With a little time and the guidance from these three cookbooks, you’ll be able to whip up a Taco Tuesday – and not to mention salads, sandwiches, and beverages – that are the perfect blend of delicious and cruelty-free.