A Mexican classic Christmas dish gets a vegan makeover — it’s so delicious you’ll never notice the missing fish!
Hola amigos! Today I will be sharing my recipe for veganised bacalao a la vizcaína. This dish is one of the many which may be served during the holiday season in Mexico.
Traditionally it’s made using salted cod (I actually shared that pescetarian recipe last year), but to make it a 100% vegan dish, we’ll be using hearts of palms and also adding nori sheets to give it that seafood touch.
The English translation for this dish is Biscay style cod. Biscay of course is a province of Spain and when the Spanish arrived in the New World they introduced the dish. Like so many of their other foods, as time passed the bacalao evolved with the availability of local Mexican ingredients. The dish we now know as bacalao a la vizcaina in Mexico is quite different than the one made in Spain.
As always, there are many variations to this recipe and, well, this is how I make it. Some people will use more tomatoes to make a wetter bacalao, or use baby potatoes, maybe add almonds…really the variations are many. You just have to find the one that you enjoy most!
Ok, let’s begin!
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- one 14oz can of hearts of palms, drained and cut into chunks
- 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled & cut into bite-size pieces
- 4 very large garlic cloves, roughly minced
- 2 very large (or about half a lb) Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- about ¼ cup of crushed or ripped up (nori) seaweed sheets
- ½ Tablespoon sweet paprika
- 2 Tablespoons of capers, or to taste
- green pitted olives, 6.70z pack or to taste
- pickled chiles gueros, to taste (I’ve also used pickled habaneros)
- 1 bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup water
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil, or as needed
- salt, to taste
- Drain and rinse the hearts of palm, if they’re not cut into chunks already cut them. Set aside. Heat 3 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan then saute the onion until soft, add the potatoes and cook just until they begin to soften, like 8 or so minutes. Mix in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
- Then add the tomatoes, bell peppers, hearts of palm, seaweed, half of the parsley, capers, ¾ of the olives you have, and the paprika. Mix until well combined. After about 15 minutes pour in like ¼ of water or as needed to let the “bacalao” simmer and not dry out.
- Once everything is nice and soft, taste and add as much salt as you’d like. Add as many of the pickled chiles as you’d like and also a big splash of the juice they came in. Stir well and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes or as long as you’d like. Right before you serve it mix in the remaining parsley and olives. Serve topped with more chiles gueros and olives if desired.
** These amounts make enough for 4 decent servings (with the side dishes) or 2 very hearty portions with just the white rice.
*** If you cannot find the pickled chiles gueros you may substitute with any yellow, pickled and mild chilies -- Pepperoncini is an acceptable substitute.
Unlike the traditional recipe that requires days of preparing the salted cod, this vegan bacalao can be ready in just over an hour!
If you had ever tasted the original version, you will be blown away at just how similar this vegan version tastes. The hearts of palm fall apart into small shreds just like the cod, the nori adds that small touch of seafood, but really what brings the dish together and alive are the combination of the bell pepper, onions, garlic, the parsley, the olives, capers and the pickled chiles. Uhmm (yum) my mouth waters instantly.
We like to eat our bacalao with some steamed white rice, a nice simple green salad, maybe some sautéed green beans some rustic bread and glass of red wine… AND uhhm you’ve got yourself a sumptuous meal that’s perfect for the holidays! In my house we eat tamales on Christmas and bacalao on New Years Eve, but you can serve it at both if you’d like.
Happy cooking amigos, thanks so much for stopping by! Wishing you the most amazing Christmas and New Years, may you be surrounded by those you love. ❤️❤️Adios!
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