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Blog Birthday + Vegan Pozole Verde

Welcome to my little corner of the blog-o-sphere. I hope to fill every nook of this blog with healthful vegetarian dishes, and toss in a few thoughts on post-grad life when feeling so inclined. 

The dishes on this site will always be vegetarian (sans meat, meat products and fish), and often times be vegan (no animal products). This reflects my own style of eating. A vegetarian for over 9 years now, I get all riled up tinkering with different fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts, and grains. Cooking has developed from an awkward necessity (when I first went veggie in middle school and was at home with a bunch of omnivores), to a giddy passion of mine. I love crafting various flavor profiles at my own whim and bringing dishes from across the world into my home; cooking is the magic skeleton key that allows for time travel to earlier kitchens, and to cultures and countries far away. The kitchen is my studio, and I often find myself in there for hours, hands covered in onion juice and herbs, the counter littered with vegetable peels.

This space will (hopefully!) be a way to share the food I love to make with others. I aspire to take vegetarianism down off of its scary, often negatively mythologized mantle and make it more fun, real, and approachable. 


I’d like to share a yummy recipe that I made last weekend: Vegan Pozole Verde. Granted, you may look at these pictures and think “Hmm…that does not look very verde. It looks rather red, or hell, even brown.” Well, fair point. But! Do not lose faith. I promise that when you make it, it will actually be green. I think it appears less so in the photos due to the red backdrop. Also, I used vegetable stock in recipe, which was a bit orangey in hue, so perhaps if I used water, it would have reached its full Kermit status. But why use plain Jane water when you can sub in the rich complexity of vegetable broth? My thoughts indeed, friends.

So what is this pozole thing exactly? Pozole is a name for this traditional Mexican soup, as well as its star ingredient: hominy, which is another word for corn that has been treated with an alkali (nixtamalization). “Wooaaah,” you may be thinking. “Chemicals? Alkaline stuff up in my soup? No, thank you”. But, fear not- this process has been used since the 1500s by peoples in Mexico and Central America. In fact, you have most likely been consuming this nixmatalized corn for awhile, without even knowing it. This is the corn that is used to make grits, tortillas and tamales, and if you have ever made a recipe calling for masa, this would be what you would purchase, in a ground form, of course.

Alkalization allows the corn to actually become more nutritious, by paving the way for the niacin (vitamin B3) found within the kernels to be absorbed by our digestive tract. Pre-treatment, the niacin is bound to a large molecule which prevents it from being absorbed; the nixtamalization strips it of this cumbersome molecule, allowing our digestive system to soak it up. Thank you to this awesome website for much of the above nixtamalization info.

In this recipe, I use canned hominy, which you can find near other Mexican / Latin American products in your grocery store. However, if you are feeling bold, you can also use dried hominy, such as that peddled by the wondrous Rancho Gordo – you’ll just need to simmer it in water for a bit before adding it to this recipe.


There are three types of pozole one could make: rojo, verde, or blanco. The rojo kind gets it namesake from the puree of dried chili peppers added to the broth, whereas the verde is named for a green puree stirred in. The white has no additional sauce. Why do I say “green puree”, and not name the specific ingredients? Well, because it can vary greatly between recipes. However, I can tell you what my mouth-watering recipe has: a puree of tomatillos (our green tomato friends dressed in lovely, willowly husks), spinach, green chilis, pumpkin seeds, and cilantro. Lots of cilantro. If you, or anyone you are serving this to does not like cilantro, go with a rojo. However, I couldn’t resist making the verde version with all of the abundant summer produce at our fingertips.


Another fun thing about pozole is that you personalize it with a bunch of fun toppings. And who doesn’t love customizing everything these days? I dressed it up with some shredded green cabbage for a nice crunch, more cilantro (I’m an addict, what can I say?), chunks of creamy avocado, and a squirt of lime juice. The lime is essential. Just do it. Other ideas for topping it off are layering on some zesty radish slices, spicy jalapeños, roasted and salted pumpkin seeds, fresh oregano, or tortilla chips. I also think goat cheese crumbles would be excellent on this, for a bit of sweet saltiness. I had a bowl with feta, and thought it was a bit too sharp for this soup. Another topping which I am a huge fan of is pumpkinseed butter (unpictured). I plopped a big spoonful in many of the bowls I ate this past week, and it was close-your-eyes-and-sigh heavenly. I am a realist, though, and know that most of you do not have a jar of pumpkinseed butter laying around. So, if you are looking for this effect, you might try doubling the amount of pumpkinseeds blended up in the green sauce.

Without further ado…

Vegan Pozole Verde

Serves 4 – 6
Total time: 1 hr and 15 mins

Pozole Ingredients:
  • 1.5 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 1 large zucchini (or 2 small) diced into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro (or about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tsp of minced Thai chili peppers, or 1/2 jalapeño
  • 3/4 lb tomatillos, halved
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 15oz cans of hominy
  • 2 cups cooked kidney beans (or 1.5 cans)
  • Salt

Toppings:

  • Shredded green cabbage
  • Avocado
  • Lime wedges
  • Cilantro
Directions:
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add in the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Then add in the zucchini and cook for 5-7 minutes. 
  2. While the stove-top mixture is cooking, make the green sauce. Add the cilantro, spinach, chili pepper, tomatillos, and pepitas to a blender with a dash of water. Blend. Add more water if needed, just enough for everything to puree.
  3. Add the minced garlic to the pot on the stove, as well as the dried oregano. Saute for a 2-3 minutes. Pour in the vegetable broth, hominy, kidney beans and green sauce. Stir to combine.
  4. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook, covered, for 45 minutes, or until the zucchini is cooked through. Add salt to taste. 
  5. Serve, steaming hot, topped with garnishes of choice. (However, I insist the lime wedge make an appearance!)
As I allude to above, I have been chowing down on this soup nearly every night this past week, and have yet to get sick of it (a true accomplishment). I imagine it would freeze well, too.

Please let me know if you try it out!


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