I would never have considered ever making Puerto Rican food. However my husband is Puerto Rican and this peaked my curiosity about the culture and the food. Upon doing some research I stumbled upon many delicious recipes Sadly none were vegetarian or remotely vegan friendly. It was then that I accepted the challenge to create a vegan Puerto Rican dish. And so the vegan Sancocho was born.
What is Sancocho?
Sancocho is a meat stew with many starches. Sancocho can easily consist of up to 5 different kinds of meat! There are many different versions of this stew as each Caribbean and Latin American place has their own version of it.
The general, starches used are plantains and yuca in Puerto Rican Sancocho. One can add as many different starches as you like from potatoes, to sweet potato, butternut, corn and butternut.
What are these weird names starches you talk about?
Plantains are family of the banana and look like a larger banana. Plantain have a thick skin and they can only be eaten raw if they are very ripe. Most people always cook plantains. They are highly versatile and similar to a potato with more vitamins and minerals. You can bake, fry or boil them.
Yuca is a root more commonly known as cassava root. Recently cassava flour has been gaining popularity as a great gluten free flour alternative. Essential this flour is yuca flour. Buy yuca and plantains from speciality and Asian stores (in other countries). I have managed to find these easily at American grocery stores.
Veganizing ‘meat’ flavors and substitutes
Sometimes you want a very meaty flavored dish and other times not. I think it’s great if a dish can have a meaty taste yet be vegan at the same time. Make this dish more ‘meaty’ by adding TVP – Textured Vegetable protein or a store bought vegan beef alternative.
I used lentils for this recipe as I wanted to create a more plant based recipe. Lentils are packed with proteins and minerals and I enjoy cooking with them.
Use a vegan beef spice for more flavoring if you like. Personally I find they generally contain yeast extract and I like to limit my consumption of this. I used every day ingredients and spices I had at home and the results were just as tasty.
This vegan Sancocho is:
- Puerto Rican husband approved
- High protein, high iron, vit A and C per serving. (See Nutritional value)
- Super filling
- Leftovers freezer wonderfully or eat in next few days
- Taste of Latino land
Sofrito – what’s that?
Sofrito is a Spanish spicing combination to give some o-o-mf to dishes. It is commonly used in Latino foods and is super easy to make. Check out my recipe here.
Make this vegan Sancocho in 3 easy steps:
Prep all your vegetables
Fry the onions and garlic
Add all the remaining ingredients, boil and simmer.
It really doesn’t get any easier than this. Well except if you have a crock pot and toss everything in then you walk away and come back to an amazing meal.
A hearty Puerto Rican Stew made vegan and using plant-based ingredients. GLUTEN FREE, Soy free
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp sofrito (see recipe link)
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 Litre vegetable "beef" stock or veggie stock of choice (4 quartz)
- 1.5 cups dried lentils (or 2 cans drained and washed)
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup red or white onion
- 5 sprigs cilantro
- 1 green plantain
- 1 yellow plantain (really ripe green plaintain)
- 1 medium yuca root (Also known as cassava root)
- 1 medium sweet potato (optional)
- 3 small potatoes (optional)
- 1 corn on cob or 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 green bell pepper
Prep all your veggies. Peel the potatoes, yoca, plaintains and cut into cubes. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Slice the green bell pepper.
Head the 2 tbsp oil in a large pot, add onion and fry until amost translucent then add garlic.
Add the 1.5 cups dry lentils and all the veggies. If using canned lentil wait until the veggies have cooked for 15min before adding.
Add the 1L veggie stock and 2 tbsp sofrito, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil and boil for 15 minutes, reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes or until all veggies are cooked.
Service with rice or quinoa. Quinoa is not traditional but I loved how it went with the dish.
Feel free to cut the recipe in half.
You can omit the sweet potato and potatoes.
Replace any hard to find starches with butternut, pumpkin or starches of choice.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe and give it a try.