Today is Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that celebrates the 1862 victory of the untrained Mexican army (about 4,500 soldiers) over an army of 6,500 experienced French soldiers at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). Across Mexico and the United States, Mexican citizens, Mexican Americans, and — let’s face it — a lot of non-Mexicans will celebrate with parades and festivities. It goes without saying that there’s going to be a lot of food, alcohol, and horchata present.
It’s no secret that Mexican cuisine is delicious — and in spite of the heavy presence of meat and cheese, it’s easily made plant-based. If you’ve dined at Taco Bell or Chipotle (disclaimer: while delicious, neither are what one would consider authentic Mexican food), you already know that the meat can be swapped for beans and instead of cheese and sour cream, you can just order extra guac. But one Mexican food hawker is going beyond just beans when it comes to offering delicious, plant-based Mexican fare.
This ain’t Taco Bell. Rudy Ramos, founder of NYC’s Vegicano, serves up classic Mexican fare with housemade seitan, a type of plant-based protein made from wheat.
Rudy creates authentic plant-based Mexican cuisine at Brooklyn-based pop-up markets Vegan Shop-Up and Vegan Market. Pictured below the popular torta, a meaty Mexican sandwich with housemade seitan.
In addition to braised seitan, Rudy uses yuba, a soy-based food also known as tofu skin, to mimic meat.
Fun fact: Prior to his career hawking vegan Mexican food, Rudy was a blues musician who toured under the name Brownbird Rudy Relic.
His success at pop-up markets has lead to a collaboration with Manhattan-based comfort food restaurant Urban Vegan Kitchen and vegan dessert company Peaceful Provisions for a drool-worthy Cinco de Mayo Pre Fixe.
If you’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo tonight, skip the chain restaurants if possible and show your local authentic Mexican restaurant some love by ordering some food. If there aren’t any in the area, try making your own Mexican food without meat or cheese — it’s easy! For recipe ideas, check out 15 Party-Perfect Recipes for Your Vegan Cinco de Mayo Celebration.
Are you obsessed with vegan food? We highly recommend checking out the Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone. With over 8,000 vegan recipes (and over 10 new recipes added daily), you’re going to find something you love!
Lead image source: thehappyveganbelly/Instagram
In-text image source: Vegicano/Instagram