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Savory Vegetarian Posole

Updated on November 26, 2014

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 .

garlic cloves
garlic cloves

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.

Cooking oil

Fresh parsley


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.)

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.

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

Vegetarian Broth Powder No-Chicken 1lb
Vegetarian Broth Powder No-Chicken 1lb

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.

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.

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!

Thoughts on These Recipes... or One of Your Own to Share?

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    • profile image

      julieannbrady 6 years ago

      You know, I've been seriously "under the weather" this year, on antibiotics still, and craving some hearty soup that I can keep down ... this sounds like it might be worth trying.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      savory indeed, it'll be cold this weekend and this soup is on my to do list now.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      Your vegetarian posole looks fabulous. I plan to try it. Thanks for the recipe!

    • JeffMcRitchie1 profile image

      JeffMcRitchie1 6 years ago

      Looks delicious! I may have to give it a try!

    • profile image

      myshelle01 6 years ago

      Your recipe is now on my must try list. I love making soups

    • profile image

      Pete Schultz 7 years ago

      I've never eaten posole at all, so I have no benchmarks to judge, but I think I'd like to try this recipe.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Wonderful recipes and versions of recipes. I have favorited so I can come back and make each of these. Lovely.

    • best-intentions profile image

      best-intentions 7 years ago

      Posole is one of my favorite comfort foods. I have always made it "carnivore style", but I'll have to give a veggie version a go! I don't know why I never thought of that before. I make mock chicken noodle soup all the time (my step-daughter is a lifelong vegetarian). Thanks! I have another menu item to add to my arsenal. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I read the title of this lens and thought, "This looks so yummy." Then I read it and the recipe is so easy that I have to make it for myself and my boys, thanks!

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 7 years ago

      Never tried it but I shall now.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I'm not a vegetarian but I keep meat eating to a minimum. So your wonderully tasty sounding recipes should go down well in my household.

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 7 years ago

      The only posole I've ever had came out of a can, so I'm excited to give these recipes a try. **Blessed by a Squid Angel**

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 7 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I like all kinds of vegetarian Mexican foods but I've never heard of this before! I'll have to try it. Thanks for the recipe!

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 7 years ago

      I had never heard of posole before, but it sounds really delicious! you describe it in an easy way, as well.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I had never heard of posole - it looks very tasty :)

    • The-Java-Gal profile image

      The-Java-Gal 7 years ago

      I love posole, and this sounds like a quick recipe. Thanks for sharing. I would probably use both parsley and cilantro, as they make a unique flavor combination.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 7 years ago

      My kind of recipe ... I very seldom measure ingredients. I will definitely try this.

    • burgessvillian profile image

      burgessvillian 7 years ago

      I just happen to love soup and Mexican food. When it gets cold in the winter I think I'll make a pot and try it out. I'm the only one in the house that will eat hot food. The rest like their Mexican pretty mild. Great lens.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 8 years ago from UK

      Thanks for sharing -- this sounds like a really tasty vegetarian recipe.

    • AndyDad LM profile image

      Andrew Scott 8 years ago from New Zealand

      Yum. I'm glad to see vegetarian versions of mexican style food. I'll try this one.