Many traditional Mexican dishes are filled with beef, poultry, and pork, but the cuisine’s bold flavors come from its fresh spices and herbs. This allows for many dishes to be interchangeable with vegetarian fillers instead. All it takes are the right adjustments with vegetables, tofu, or beans to swap out the meat. With the right ingredients, you can make delicious vegetarian Mexican recipes right at home. If you’re looking to recreate your favorite south-of-the-border dishes, these vegetarian Mexican recipes still provide you with the protein and nutrients without the meat.
1. Fresh Vegetable Quesadillas with Corn Relish
This recipe from Martha Stewart calls for use of fresh, raw vegetables. All you need to do is prepare the fillers and grill up the quesadillas to have a vegetarian quesadilla in just twenty minutes.
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for grates
4 ears corn (husks and silks removed), or 1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 bunch scallions, half of bunch thinly sliced, other half cut into 2-inch lengths
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 flour tortillas (10-inch)
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (6 ounces)
1 yellow squash, halves crosswise and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 orange bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced
Step 1 – Heat grill to low; lightly oil grates. Cut off tip of each cob. One at a time, stand each ear in a large wide bowl; with a sharp knife, carefully slice downward to release the kernels (you should have about 2 cups). Discard cobs.
Step 2 – Add sliced scallions, lime juice, and oil to bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Set corn relish aside.
Step 3 – Place tortillas on a work surface. Dividing evenly, sprinkle half the cheese on bottom half of each tortilla. Top with squash, bell pepper, scallion pieces, and remaining cheese; season with salt and pepper. Fold top half of tortillas over filling to close.
Step 4 – Grill quesadillas, turning once, until browned in spots and cheese has melted, 6 to 8 minutes. Cut into wedges; serve immediately with corn relish.
2. Addictive Sweet Potato Burrito
This recipe from All Recipes uses cumin, cayenne pepper, and chili powder to give these burritos a bold kick. With just fifteen minutes of prep, and twenty-five minutes to cook the entire dish, this delicious meal will be ready in just forty minutes.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups canned kidney beans, drained
2 cups water
3 tablespoons chili powder
4 teaspoons prepared mustard
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
3 tablespoons soy sauce
4 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes
12 (10 inch) flour tortillas, warmed
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Heat oil in a medium skillet and saute onion and garlic until soft. Mash beans into the onion mixture. Gradually stir in water; heat until warm, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the soy sauce, chili powder, mustard, cumin, and cayenne pepper.
3. Divide bean mixture and mashed sweet potatoes evenly between the tortillas; top with cheese. Fold tortillas burrito-style around the fillings and place on a baking sheet.
4. Bake in the preheated oven until warmed through, about 12 minutes.
3. Mushroom and Poblano Vegetarian Enchiladas
If you’re a fan of tofu, then this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens is for you. The tofu, mushrooms, and poblano peppers bring the taste of these enchiladas to life. From start-to-finish, this dish will only take thirty minutes to make.
6 ounces firm tofu
1 small poblano pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 8 ounce package sliced cremini mushrooms
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dairy sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces)
8 corn tortillas
Chopped tomato and green onion (optional)
1. Drain tofu; cut into cubes. Stem and seed poblano; cut into strips. In a skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add tofu, pepper strips, mushrooms, cumin, and salt. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until mushrooms and pepper are tender, turning occasionally. Stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup of the cheese.
2. Preheat broiler. Lightly oil a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside. Wrap tortillas in damp paper towels; microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 30 seconds or until warm and softened. Spoon mushroom filling into tortillas; fold over and place in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. If desired, top with tomato and green onion.
4. Vegetarian Taco Salad
This colorful taco salad from Eating Well uses rice and beans instead of meat. You can make this meal all at once in forty minutes, or assemble the rice and bean mixture ahead of time and store to create the salad at a later time.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 large tomatoes
1 1/2 cups cooked long-grain brown rice
1 15-ounce can black, kidney or pinto beans, rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup prepared salsa
2 cups shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce
1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
2 1/2 cups coarsely crumbled tortilla chips
Lime wedges for garnish
1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and corn; cook, stirring, until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Coarsely chop 1 tomato. Add it to the pan along with rice, beans, chili powder, 1 teaspoon oregano and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato cooks down, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
2. Coarsely chop the remaining 3 tomatoes. Combine with cilantro, salsa and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon oregano in a medium bowl.
3. Toss lettuce in a large bowl with the bean mixture, half the fresh salsa and 2/3 cup cheese. Serve sprinkled with tortilla chips and the remaining cheese, passing lime wedges and the remaining fresh salsa at the table.
These vegetarian dishes are both flavorful and healthy for you. If you want to try different vegetarian style recipes of your favorite dishes, try substituting the meat with either tofu or beans. Don’t forget to add the necessary herbs and spices to keep that authentic Mexican flavor.
If you’re not in the mood to cook tonight, stop by your local Acapulco’s Mexican Family Restaurant and Cantina. Our different locations throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut offer many vegetarian style options on their menus for you to enjoy. We can’t wait to see you!