Making Mexican Meals Meat-Free at Penelope’s Vegan Taqueria and El Hongo Magico | Latino Voices | Chicago Information

Making Mexican Meals Meat-Free at Penelope’s Vegan Taqueria and El Hongo Magico | Latino Voices | Chicago Information

For a lot of Mexican People, the thought of Mexican meals with out meat could be a little arduous to know.

“Rising up in a Mexican household, meat is, like, the factor,” stated Juan Lisandro Ramirez. “Veganism is method off — particularly coming from a Mexican household, even my household don’t get it.”

However as Ramirez, who’s the proprietor and chef behind Penelope’s Vegan Taqueria factors out, indigenous Mexican delicacies is rooted in plant-based meals.

“When the Aztecs have been round, when the Mayas have been round, earlier than la conquista, give it some thought — their menu, their delicacies was I believe 90% vegan/vegetarian,” Ramirez stated. “A few of the recipes that we’ve are handed alongside in my household, so it’s straightforward for me to say, oh, I’m gonna do black beans, frijoles en la olla. I bear in mind how my mother did it and the way it smells. So I’m attempting to recreate that. Now with a torta milanesa, it’s breaded hen, what can we do to exchange the hen?”

Ramirez stated changing into vegan was a part of an “awakening” for him.

“To have this way of life of being vegan is various things, you recognize, it’s not solely well being causes, religious causes,” Ramirez stated. “I used to drink quite a bit and use medicine after which I misplaced every thing. In the future I awoke and stated, you recognize what, like, both I die like this or make a change, proper? I don’t need to die younger, so any longer I’m gonna cease every thing, every thing that’s gonna kill me. After six months, I’m like, ‘Oh, I really feel nice,’ and it turned my way of life.”

Ramirez stated when he made the change, he had hassle discovering locations exterior of residence to eat. So, he and his spouse determined to do it themselves by promoting vegan tacos in pop-ups. The Andersonville Penelope’s is their second brick-and-mortar location.

That very same DIY spirit is what Carlos Luna and Bernice Vargas stated impressed them to open their vegan taqueria, El Hongo Magico, which gives tacos and tamales starring mushrooms. Luna stated their endeavor started with a well being scare.

“I had been taking a look at shedding 18 inches of colon for a number of years, and so I used to be prepared to attempt nearly every thing to keep away from such an invasive process,” Luna stated. “I used to be led to a plant-based food plan, and I used to be lucky sufficient to have a associate like Bernice who stated, all proper, let’s do that collectively. And we began cooking at residence. It was a visit to Mexico Metropolis the place we fell in love with mushrooms. We got here again residence and began taking part in with them.”

Vargas stated that journey reminded her of the huge selection in Mexican delicacies.

“I went again to what my mother would cook dinner for us, and I spotted a variety of my flavors have been plant-based, lentejas, calabacitas, tortas de papa, the potato truffles that you just do throughout Holy Week,” Vargas stated. “It’s been straightforward to return to these recipes and understand one thing that my mother made was so easy, so scrumptious.”

After a 12 months in a ghost kitchen, El Hongo Magico is now a part of the solely vegan XMarket meals corridor within the Uptown neighborhood. Vargas and Luna stated they hope that growing veganism visibility can present it’s a tasty method to enhance group well being.

“I’m a part of the veteran group,” Luna stated, “and I see a variety of veterans that I imagine can endure quite a bit much less if they will decrease issues like irritation, proper? If they will decrease issues like weight. And I’m not going to say {that a} plant-based food plan goes to repair all of the well being circumstances that they could be combating. However I will probably be prepared to wager {that a} plant-based food plan will assist alleviate a few of these signs.”

Again at Penelope’s, Ramirez stated in relation to vegan delicacies, taquerias like his are just the start.

“I believe folks need to reside longer, they need to reside more healthy life,” Ramirez stated. “I believe sooner or later increasingly more vegan companies are going to open up. That is the longer term.”

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