Savory Vegetarian Posole
A Simple and Hearty Vegetarian Stew
Posole is a flavorful Mexican stew that includes hominy as its signature ingredient. Traditional posole recipes call for chicken or pork broth, but it is easy to make a version that is vegetarian -- vegan, in fact! Vegetarian posole is an ideal dish for those who haven't been vegetarian all their lives and who crave savory flavors. If you use the right broth base, you might even fool your non-vegetarian friends and family into thinking your posole is the 'real' thing. (Frontier's vegan 'chicken broth' powder is quite the crowd-pleaser.)
The 'posole basics' include broth, hominy, chili peppers, garlic, onions, and cumin or other spices. Many versions add tomatoes or other garden vegetables. Some add vegetarian protein sources. There are a surprising number of vegetarian posole recipes on the internet, and if you make the dish a few times, you'll probably find that you're putting your own spin on it. You can vary the ingredients and the proportions quite a bit .
The Basics: My Vegetarian Posole Recipe
...or un-recipe as the case may be
I followed a recipe the first time or two that I made vegetarian posole, but I have been making it for years -- and doing it slightly differently each time.
I'll give you the gist of how it's done, and you can rely on your taste buds to fine tune it. Just remember to err on the side of caution when wielding hot peppers! The broth can easily become too peppery.
Frontier's vegan chicken bullion: You can mix broth according to package instructions or you can opt to use less powder if you're restricting sodium intake. The spices add to the rich flavor, so it's easier to go a low-sodium route.
Canned rinsed hominy
Fresh garlic and onion: You might try 1 small onion and 3-4 cloves of garlic per can of hominy. Fresh garlic is a nutrition booster, particularly if you dice it a few minutes before you cook it. If you're in a hurry, though, you can use frozen onions and powdered garlic.
Green chilies: I generally use canned or frozen -- mild to medium -- but fresh are quite high in vitamin C. If you do use fresh peppers, remove the seeds, or the soup will be so spicy that you will lose the other flavors.
Mexican spices: For this recipe, I prefer low-sodium taco seasoning to chili powder. I like to throw in a dash of cumin, too -- cumin is the most traditional posole seasoning.
1. Sautee onions until they're almost translucent, then toss in chopped garlic. (If you're using fresh peppers, you'll want to fry them alongside the onion.)
2. Add Frontier's broth mix to cold water, then begin boiling the mixture.
3. Add most of the remaining ingredients: the onion, garlic, and pepper mix, plus the canned hominy. Add seasonings to taste.
4. Simmer; wait to add fresh chopped parsley until you're almost ready to serve. (You may also want to add grated cheese -- dairy or vegan -- just as you take the pot off the stove.)
Another Basic Posole Recipe
This posole recipe is very similar to mine -- it's even based on the same brand of bullion! It differs in that it does call for tomatoes. It also uses chile powder instead of taco seasoning, and cilantro instead of parsley. (If you are a fan of measuring cups and measuring spoons, you'll find some proportions here.)
- Recipezaar Vegetarian Posole
Simple, classic... and five star.
A Slightly More Elaborate Posole Recipe - Spicy and Rich
This version uses several types of chile pepper, and combines veggie bullion and miso for a savory broth.
- Epicurios Vegetarian Posole Recipe
This is a recipe for chile pepper fans!
Super Healthy Veggie-Rich Posole
Want a little tofu with that soup? Here is a nontraditional, but antioxidant rich posole stew, from ChefMD.
Posole with Seitan
Tofu is one option for adding vegetarian protein. Seitan is another. I think that seitan gives a more traditional flavor. It's actually very easy to make: just mix 'vital wheat gluten' and water or broth until the mixture becomes thick and rubbery. Then break it into little pieces and simmer... and simmer... and simmer.
Because those lumps of wheat gluten dough take about an hour of stovetop cooking, this is a step you'll want to carry out in advance! I like to cook up a big batch and then freeze some. Here you see seitan frozen with other posole fixings, such as diced hot peppers.
Of course seitan can also be purchased ready-made. The downside is price.
Posole with Vegetarian Sausage
Variation: Using Vegetarian Sausage
As an alternative, you can try frying a little veggie sausage in oil and adding it to the stew. I have used Trader Joe's vegetarian Italian sausage: one three-ounce vegetarian sausage to accent a 29-ounce can of hominy and a small can of mild green chiles.
It does improve the texture of the vegetarian sausage to fry it before adding it to the broth. A surprising choice of oil? Sesame! It gives a savory taste.
Image by the author
Vegan Chicken Broth
Use this broth powder in vegetarian posole and other soups and sauces that are traditionally made with chicken broth -- you can even make vegetarian chicken and dumplings.
We used to buy it in bulk in my housing cooperative days. The one pound bag shown here is a good choice for economy. You may also find it in the bulk food bin at food co-ops and whole foods stores.
More Veggie-Laden Posole Recipes
Want some more vegetables in your stew? Try these recipes. Each has its own character. I've annotated the list to let you know what the signature ingredients are in each.
- Vegetarian Posole from About.com
This recipe adds carrot and bell pepper. There's only one powdered spice (besides salt and pepper). Yes, it's cumin!
- CD Kitchen Vegetarian Posole
This recipe includes a number of vegetables, including squash.
- Group Recipes: Vegetarian Posole
This version adds black beans and corn as well as a cabbage garnish.
This version adds pinto beans for extra nutrition. Cabbage and avocado are listed among the possible garnishes.
- The Kitchn
This version uses pinto beans and tomatoes. The author notes it was made from leftover taco ingredients.
Starting with Dry Hominy
This is another basic posole recipe, except that there are few shortcuts; the cook starts with dried hominy. This adds quite a bit to the prep time as the kernels need to soak before cooking.
There aren't a lot of veggies in this one, but there are several seasonings, combined in a rich, Colorado-style sauce, which apparently freezes well.
The cook also discusses the many ways posole recipes can be adapted. You can find some good ideas for garnishes here. Feta... now that's a surprise.
- Red Posole
A well-seasoned posole.
Possible Accompaniments - To Vegetarian Posole
- Tortilla chips with guacamole
- Cheese enchiladas or soy chorizo taquitos
- Spicy refried beans (How about adding a small amount of canned chopped chipotle pepper?)
- Mexican hot chocoate
Making A Posole-Based Meal
This video demos a yummy, posole-based meal. The cook uses cabbage and lime as garnishes. She even fries up her own tortilla chips!
- Garlic clove
Clare Bloomfield, Free Digital Photos