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December 17, 2008

Latin American Recipes

Humane Society International

  • Compass Group

These recipes contain ingredients commonly found in many countries, including those in Latin America. 

If an ingredient is not readily available, you may want to experiment by substituting with a similar ingredient that you can easily find. 

Use locally produced, in-season fruits and vegetables when possible. 

Organic ingredients are recommended, especially in the case of fruit.


Soy Fruit Smoothie

Serves 1

handful of fresh blueberries (if frozen, use half cup)
4-5 fresh strawberries, stemmed and quartered
1/4 cup purple grapes
1 banana
3/4 cup soy milk
3-4 ice cubes

1. Wash fresh fruit thoroughly.
2. Add ingredients to a blender.
3. Blend for approximately one minute or until fruit and ice are fully mixed.

Strawberry, Banana and Mango Smoothie

Serves 2-4

2 cups of fresh strawberries, washed, stemmed and quartered
2 bananas
2 mangoes, peeled and diced (or one cup of frozen)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of unrefined organic cane sugar
2 cups of orange juice

1. Blend strawberries, banana and mango.
2. If mix is too thick, add a little bit of orange juice.
3. Gradually add the lemon juice, sugar, and rest of the orange juice.
5. Blend until smooth.

Triple Berry Smoothie

Serves 1-2

1 1/2 bananas 
1/2 cup of soymilk
1/2 cup of fresh blueberries
1/2 cup of fresh raspberries
1.2 cup of fresh strawberries, stemmed and quartered
3-4 ice cubes

1. Wash fruit.
2. Combine fruit in a blender.
3. Blend until completely mixed and smooth.
4. If too thick, thin with additional soy milk.


Greek Tofu Salad

Serves 4 (small) or 2 (large)

1 lb. firm tofu, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup of olive oil*
1/3 cup of red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon of basil
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon of salt
2 small tomatoes, washed well, cut in half, and quartered
1 cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced
1/4 red onion, diced small
1/2 cup kalamata olives

1. Place tofu cubes in a mixing bowl.
2. Using a blender or whisking in a separate bowl, mix olive oil, red wine vinegar, basil, black pepper, oregano and salt.
3. Pour mixture over tofu and marinate in the refrigerate for at least one hour.
4. Add tomatoes, cucumber, onion and olives to tofu and mix well.
5. Serve chilled.

Chilean Salad

Serves 2

4 ripe tomatoes, washed, peeled and sliced
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice, to taste
Dash of cayenne pepper or ground cumin (optional)*
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, washed, dried, and roughly chopped

1. Mix tomatoes and onions in a large bowl.
2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Pour on oil and lemon juice.
4. Mix well, taste, and adjust seasoning.
5. with fresh cilantro and serve.

* The cayenne or cumin will give this salad a little heat and some extra bite.

Avocado, Tomato and Onion Salad

Serves 2-4

4 tomatoes, washed and diced in large chunks
1 sweet white or red onion, peeled, cut in half, and very thinly sliced
1 avocado, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon
extra-virgin olive oil

1. Mix tomatoes and onions in a large bowl.
2. Cut the avocado in half, remove the seed, scoop out each half with a spoon and thinly slice. Add to tomatoes and onions.
3. Add salt, pepper, oil, and lemon juice.
4. Gently mix until all ingredients are well blended.
5. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Tofu and 3-Bean Salad

Serves 6

6 ounces whole wheat pasta, cooked
6 cups water
pinch of salt
olive oil
1 pound block of extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes
1 15 ounce can of navy or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 12-15 ounce can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 12-15 ounce can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cucumber, peeled and diced small
1/4 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 yellow or green pepper, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced
1/4 cup Italian vinaigrette salad dressing, or more to taste
fresh parsley, washed, dried and chopped finely
salt and pepper, to taste (optional)

1. Bring water to a boil in large pot.
2. Add pasta and small amount of oil and salt.
3. Cook until pasta is al dente.
4. Remove pasta from heat, rinse, drain and let cool.
5. Heat small amount of oil in medium saucepan on medium-high.
6. Add tofu, beans, and soy sauce and sauté over medium-high heat until tofu is slightly browned.
7. Combine pasta, tofu mixture and other ingredients in a large bowl.
8. Add salad dressing and mix well.
9. Taste, and adjust seasoning (add more dressing, or salt and pepper).

Rice and Bean Salad

Serves 4

1 cup rice, cooked
1 small red onion, peeled and diced
3 medium tomatoes, washed and diced
1/2 red pepper, washed and diced
1/2 green pepper, washed and diced
1 cup corn kernals (thawed, if frozen)
2 cups cooked black or kidney beans (or use mixture of the two for more color)
1 avocado, halved, seeded, and sliced
7 sprigs cilantro*, washed, dried, and chopped fine
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
dash of cayenne pepper
optional: 3/4 teaspoon dried epazote, chopped fine (more, if using fresh)
dash of Tabasco
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large bowl, mix rice, onion, tomatoes, peppers, and corn.
2. If using canned beans, rinse and drain, add to other ingredients, and mix well.
3. Add avocado slices, cilantro, red wine vinegar, cayenne, epazote (if using), Tabasco, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Mix well.
4. Taste and adjust seasoning.

* Use just the leaves of the cilantro. Discard the stems or use them to flavor soup stock.


Porotos Granados (Chilean bean and squash soup)

Serves 4-6

1 pound dried navy beans, soaked in water to cover overnight
2 cups of butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
Approx. 6 cups cold water
2 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2-3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped in blender
1-2 green chili peppers, finely chopped
2 cups of fresh corn kernels
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
optional: one small tomato, diced, or fresh oregano

1. Rinse and drain navy beans.
2. In a large pot, combine beans and squash and add enough cold water to generously cover.
3. Bring water to a boil and cook for 50-55 minutes. (Check beans while cooking and add more water if necessary).

While beans and squash are cooking:
4. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
5. Add onions and sauté for several minutes, until onions start to brown.
6. Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and continue to cook.
5. Blend tomatoes in blender to make tomato paste.
6. When beans are ready, add the onions, garlic, tomatoes, peppers and corn kernels.
7. Reduce heat to low. Add salt, pepper, and oregano and continue to cook for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
8. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Garnish soup with fresh diced tomatoes or fresh oregano.

Bean Broth with Potatoes

Serves 4

1 1/2 cups of beans, soaked overnight in cold water to cover
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
3 leeks*, rinsed and chopped
1 bay leaf
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil in a large stock pot. Add onions and leeks and sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes until translucent.
2. Drain and rinse the beans. Add beans and bay leaf to onion mixture, with enough cold water to generously cover.
3. Cook for about 50 minutes over low heat.
4. When the beans are almost tender, add the carrots and potatoes.
5. Continue cooking until all ingredients are tender and cooked through.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

* Only use the whites of the leeks, with a little (half inch) of the green leaves.

Vegetable Soup

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 yellow zucchini, chopped
4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 small cauliflower, chopped in medium-size pieces
1 1/2  tablespoon oregano
1 1/2  tablespoon Italian herb seasoning
1 cup brown rice, uncooked
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes.
2. Add zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, and herbs, and continue to sauté over medium-high heat until vegetables start to brown. 
3. Add rice, tomatoes and vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes or until rice is cooked.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Note: This soup may be served chilled as well. Garnish with vegan sour cream and chopped scallions or seasoned croutons.

Tortilla Chip Soup

Serves 2-4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, medium dice
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
3 cups of vegetable stock or water
7 fresh tomatoes, diced + 1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 cup tortilla chips, crushed
1 small avocado, diced small

1. In a large pot, heat oil and sauté onions and garlic over medium heat until onions are translucent.
2. Add vegetable stock, tomatoes, water, tomato paste, jalapeno, cumin and chili powder. Bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes.
4. Serve in individual bowls, garnished with chips and avocado.

Vegetables/Side Dishes


This is so delicious one person could eat the whole thing!
To be polite, share with others  (Serves 1-4)

2 ripe avocados
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, washed, dried and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Cut avocado in half, remove seed, scoop out flesh into mixing bowl and break into pieces with fork.
2. Add remaining ingredients and stir well, taking care not to mash avocado (keep it chunky).
3. Season to taste with salt and lime juice and serve.

Vegan Refried Beans

Serves 2-3

1 cup black beans, soaked overnight in water to cover
3 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, peeled and minced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon salt,
1/2 teaspoon thyme 
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes 
1/4 teaspoon crushed hot pepper 
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, to taste
2 cups water

1. Rinse beans and drain thoroughly. 
2. Add beans to water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until cooked, 40 minutes to an hour. Remove from heat, let cool, then mash.
3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté garlic and onion in oil for several minutes. 
4. Add spices and cook for five more minutes.
5. Add beans to mixture, then slowly add up to two cups of water to reach desired consistency.
Serve hot or cold.

Salsa Fresca

Serves 2-4

1/2 cup red onion, peeled and minced
1 or 2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/4 cup cilantro and/or parsley, washed, dried, and finely chopped
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped into cubes
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
salt, to taste

1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
2. Add salt, to taste.

Vegan Sour Cream

Serves 2-4

1/2 pound silken tofu
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Blend tofu in small food processor or blender for two minutes.
2. Add all ingredients and blend again until smooth.
3. Adjust seasoning to taste (more salt or vinegar, as desired).

Variations:  Add 1-2 tablespoons of chopped chives, dill or minced garlic for a flavored variation.
To make a sweet cream, omit the vinegar and add two tablespoons of maple syrup instead.

Garlic-Braised Broccoli

Serves 2

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 medium broccoli head, cut into florets
1/4 cup water
salt, to taste

1. Warm oil and garlic in a medium-sized pot over medium heat until garlic starts to brown but does not burn.
2. Add broccoli and stir briefly until heated through.
3. Add water and cover pot. Steam for about two minutes until broccoli is tender but still crisp and bright green.
4. Sprinkle with salt, to taste.

Gingery Greens

Serves 2

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 small shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
1 bunch of kale, collard greens, or other dark leafy greens, washed and roughly chopped
2 cups of water
salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil and sauté shallots and ginger over medium heat until lightly browned.
2. Add leafy greens and water. Cover and cook over low heat until water has almost evaporated and greens are tender, stirring occasionally.
3. Taste greens. Add more water, cover, and continuing cooking, if necessary, until greens reach desired tenderness. (Do not overcook. They should still retain intense green color.)
4.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Main Dishes

Vegetarian Fajitas

Serves 6

2 zucchinis, cut into small cubes
1 red pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 small broccoli head, cut in small pieces
soy sauce
extra-virgin olive oil
6 tortillas
toppings:  salsa, guacamole, vegan refried beans

1. Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F).
2. When oven is ready, wrap tortillas in foil and heat in oven for 5-10 minutes.
3. Sauté vegetables with oil and soy sauce over medium-high heat until slightly browned.
4. Remove tortillas from foil, and individually fill with a portion of the vegetable mix.

Serving suggestion: Serve with sides of salsa, guacamole, vegan sour cream, and vegan refried beans.

Quinoa and Black Beans

Serves 4

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of black pepper
1 1/4 cups corn kernels
2 15 ounce cans organic black beans 
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, washed, dried and chopped

1. In medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and sauté onion and garlic until lightly browned.
2. Add quinoa, vegetable broth, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
5. Stir in corn and turn off heat. Let sit for about five minutes.
6. Mix in black beans and cilantro and serve.

Bean and Rice Burrito

Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 15 ounce can organic pinto beans
1 cup brown rice, cooked
1/2 cup corn, cooked
dash each of chili powder, cumin and garlic powder
3/4 cup of water
6-8 whole wheat tortillas

lettuce, washed, dried and chopped
1 tomato, washed and diced

1. Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F).
2. Sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat for five minutes.
3. Add green peppers. Continue to cook for five minutes, then remove from heat.
4. Drain and rinse beans. Mash beans in medium mixing bowl.
5. Add rice, corn, spices and water to the mashed beans. Mix thoroughly.
6. Transfer bean mixture to a pan and heat on medium 5-10 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
5. Wrap tortillas in foil and heat in oven 5-10 minutes.
6. When tortillas are ready, remove from oven and let cool slightly before filling with mix of both peppers and beans.
7. Tuck in sides half inch and roll up to form burritos.

Serve with mix of salsa, chopped lettuce, and diced tomatoes.

Black Bean Stew (Feijoada)

Serves 6

2 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight, then drained
8 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
2 red peppers, seeded and cut in strips
4 cloves garlic, minced 
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup orange juice (juice of 1/2 orange)
2 teaspoons molasses
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons liquid smoke flavoring

1. Place the beans in a large pot with bay leaf and thyme and cover generously with water. Bring the beans almost to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent beans from burning. Add more water if needed to cover beans. Drain beans, reserving two to three cups of the cooking liquid. Return beans to pot.
2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Add one cup of beans to the onions, mash the beans, and add one cup reserved cooking liquid. Cook for a few more minutes, then add to beans in the large pot.
4. In large pot, add remainder of reserved bean liquid, red wine, orange juice, molasses, thyme, cumin, salt and pepper, and continue to cook uncovered over medium low heat for another hour, stirring occasionally and adding more liquid if necessary.
5. When beans are tender and creamy, stir in liquid smoke flavoring.
6. Remove thyme and bay leaf, adjust seasoning and let stand 5-10 minutes.

Serve with cooked rice and steamed collard greens.


Chocolate Cinnamon Quesadillas

Serves 2

2 tablespoons dairy-free chocolate (grated or finely chopped)
1 tablespoon unrefined granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 medium whole wheat flour tortillas
1 teaspoon organic powdered sugar

1. Sprinkle one tablespoon of chocolate, 1/2 tablespoon of sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon over one half of each tortilla.
2. Fold tortilla in half to cover ingredients.
3. Using a non-stick griddle or saucepan, heat tortillas over medium heat until they start to brown. Flip over after approximately two minutes to heat both sides.
4. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Serving suggestion: Garnish with fresh, seasonal fruit (such as blackberries, peaches, or strawberries).

Banana Bread

Serves 4-6

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped dates
1 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
oil or non-stick spray for pan
optional: 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1. Preheat oven to 190 C (375 F).
2. In a small bowl, thoroughly mash bananas.
3. Add lemon juice, oil, sweetener and dates and mix all ingredients thoroughly.
4. In a separate mixing bowl, combine flour, wheat germ, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
5. Mix together wet and dry mixtures and nuts, if adding, and gently blend.
6. Spoon into a lightly oiled loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until done.
7. Test with a knife or toothpick for doneness.

Fluffy Fudge Brownies

12 brownies

1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated organic sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup water
1  tablespoon ground flax seed, soaked in 3 tablespoons hot water (optional)
oil or non-stick spray for pan
1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1. Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F).
2. In large mixing bowl, combine baking powder, cocoa powder, flour, salt and sugar and blend well.
3. Add oil, vanilla, water, flax seed mixture (if using), and nuts or chips, if using. Mix all ingredients together well.
4. Pour mixture into greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan and bake for 20-30 minutes or until done. (Test with toothpick or knife.)
5. Let cool before serving.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup soy margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated organic sugar
1/4 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
12 ounces dairy free chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1. Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F)
2. In large bowl, mix together margarine and sugars.
3. Slowly stir in soy milk.
4. Add vanilla and continue to cream mixture well.
5. In separate mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda.
6. Add dry ingredients to creamy mixture and blend well.
7. Add chocolate chips and blend.
8. Scoop in small amounts (1/4 cup) onto non-stick cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven 8-10 minutes.
Cool and serve.

Tips for replacing eggs in baked desserts

If available, try Ener-G egg replacer or
•1 egg = 2 tablespoons water + 1 tablespoon oil + 2 teaspoons baking powder
•1 egg = 1 tablespoon ground flax seed simmered in 3 tablespoons water

Learn more about egg alternatives