Pescado a la Veracruzana is one of the most well known Mexican fish recipes. This version is a vegan one that you’re going to love! Still has the same delicious flavors but without the fish!
Table of Contents
Pescado a la Veracruzana
Pescado a la Veracruzana, or Veracruz style fish, is one of the most well known Mexican fish dishes. It’s of course very popular in the Mexican Gulf regions of Veracruz and throughout the coastal regions.
It is a dish popular all year long but gains more popularity during the Lenten season.
What is Pescado a la Veracruzaza
This dish is one of the many in Mexico which represents the mixture of cultures in Mexico.
It has colonial Spanish cooking methods and ingredients as well as some touches of pre-Hispanic history.
The fish is traditionally a red snapper, and it’s cooked in a sauce made of onion, tomatoes, peppers, olives and capers. Of course the variations vary greatly but these are the basic general ingredients.
The olive and capers are the Spanish touch given to this recipe. The rest of the traditional ingredients are common pre-Hispanic ones.
How to Make Vegan Pescado a la Veracruzana
So of course we aren’t going to be using red snapper to make our pescado, we’re going to be using cauliflower!
Yes amigos, cauliflower.
It so happens to make a great substitute in this recipe. Of course it doesn’t taste like the real thing but it still tastes delicious.
What to Use Instead of Cauliflower
I understand some people aren’t fans of cauliflower, so below are some options to use instead.
- Tofu: It makes a great substitute for fish. I’ve used it many times to make fish tacos and it’s delicious.
- Jackfruit: This vegan meat is a great substitute for just about everything, fish is no exception.
- Hearts of Palm: They are one of my favorite substitutes for fish or seafood dishes.
- Store-bought Vegan Fish Fillets: Where I live they aren’t available just yet, but I know in the US there are many options.
Vegan Ingredients You’ll Need
The ingredients needed are all quite easy to find and anyone anywhere should have access to everything on the list.
If you have any questions for additional substitutes do let me know.
- cauliflower cutlets or instead you can cut large chunks
- white onion
- olive oil
- peppers (see note below)
The ingredients above are the most commonly used, as previously mentioned there are definitely variations to the recipes.
For the peppers I like to use long pickled mild-ish ones called “chiles gueros”, you can find them at the Mexican grocery store. If you can’t you can always use some raw jalapeños to your taste.
I also like to add chopped parsley or cilantro, as well as a squeeze of lime juice to help the flavors pop even more. The lime juice is completely optional.
How to Give it a Vegan Seafood Taste
This is easily done by using ground nori sheets. I use them often in my vegan recipes and they work perfectly and deliciously. All I do is take some regular nori sheets, like the ones for making sushi rolls, and grind them in the blender until they’re a powder.
Pescado a la Veracruzana Recipe
If you’ve been reading and cooking my recipes, by now you know like to keep things simple. This recipe is no exception. Yes, it may use quite a few ingredients but, it’s quite easy to prepare.
Prepare all of the ingredients on the list then heat the oil in a large pan and fry the cauliflower cutlets/steaks until a little crispy on both sides.
Remove the cauliflower pieces from the pan then add the onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent.
Add all of the remaining ingredients, except the chiles and cauliflower, to the pan and cook until the tomatoes have broken down and made a sauce. Then mix in the pickled chiles and stir to well combine.
Lastly add the cauliflower steaks back to the pan. Use a spoon to scoop sauce on top of the cauliflower and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes or to your desired tenderness. Taste and adjust if desired.
That’s it, like I said, incredibly easy to make!
Below is the written recipe with a few more details.
Pescado a la Veracruzana | Veracruz-Style Vegan “Fish”
- 1/2 small cauliflower head sliced into 4 steaks or cut into large chunks
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- ½ whole white onion sliced
- 4 whole garlic cloves minced
- 1 lb. roma tomatoes roughly chopped (it’s about 4 large tomatoes)
- ¼ cup parsley finely chopped
- 1 cup whole green olives can use those filled with red pepper
- 3 Tablespoons capers
- 1 Tablespoon ground nori
- 1 whole bayleaf
- ½ lime juiced
- 8 whole chiles guerros to taste, optional or use another milder chile
- Heat the oil then add cauliflower and saute on both sides. Remove them from the pan and set aside. Add a little more oil to the pan then add the onion and saute until soft.
- Next add garlic, tomato, parsley, olives, capers, nori powder, bayleaf, and lime juice. Stir until well combined and simmer until tomatoes have softened and released their juices. Now mix in the chiles gueros, and carefully add back the cauliflower into the pan. Try to coat the cauliflower with some of the sauce.
- Simmer until the cauliflower is fork tender or to your desired tenderness. Serve with steamed white rice and enjoy!
Vegan Fish and Seafood Recipes
I used to think that substituting fish or seafood in vegan or vegetarian recipes would be difficult, but it’s actually not. Check out below all of the ways I’ve been able to make traditional fish or seafood recipes into meatless versions.
- Mexican Fish Ceviche (Made with Cauliflower)
- Ecuadorian Style Vegan Fish Ceviche
- Mexican Tuna Salad (Made with Chickpeas)
- Bacalao a La Vizcaina (Made with hearts of palm)
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…