Vegan Mexican Meal Plan

By Karen Leibowitz

Many flavors and ingredients in Mexican cuisine are heavily animal-based. But have no fear: a vegan diet with traditional Mexican taste is possible! Read on for a sample meal plan with recipes.

Day One

Tofu scramble with salsa and avocado, wrapped in corn tortillas, served with watermelon
Zucchini with Rice Soup, served with an apple
Baked, sliced plantains with sour cream, served with rice, beans, and steamed peas
Elote (grilled corn) with lime, salt, and Ancho chili powder

Day Two

Moelletes (toasted bean and vegan cheese open-face sandwich, on French baguette bread) served with cubed and steamed chayote (pear-like squash native to Mexico)
Taco Salad
Tamale Corn Pie
Pumpkin seeds with sliced mango, sprinkled with chili powder and lime juice

Day Three

Breakfast burrito (tofu scramble, black beans, tomato, onion, corn, avocado, salsa, etc., served in a whole wheat tortilla)
Baked Bean Quesadillas, served with cubed melon
Grilled nopales (cactus) wrapped in corn or whole wheat tortillas, served with rice and salad
Cubed papaya and sliced banana with fresh-squeezed lime juice on top

Please note: These are general menus and should be adapted to your own needs.

Taco Salad

(Serves 4)

  • 1 pound soy crumbles (found in natural foods stores and some supermarkets)
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • One 16-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped green or red bell pepper
  • ½ cup shredded vegan cheese
  • ¼ cup sliced black olives
  • 1 cup broken tortilla chips

Combine soy crumbles and onion in a 2-quart bowl or casserole. Microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes (or heat in skillet), until onion is tender and crumbles are heated through. Add beans, water, and seasonings. Stir to combine. Cover and microwave on MEDIUM for 10 minutes (or heat in a skillet) until thick and bubbly.

On a serving platter, arrange lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers. Spoon taco mixture over lettuce. Garnish with vegan cheese, olives, and chips.

Note: This recipe is adapted from one found in Vegan Microwave Cookbook.

Total calories per serving: 368 Fat: 10 grams
Carbohydrates: 48 grams Protein: 35 grams
Sodium: 955 milligrams Fiber: 16 grams

Baked Bean Quesadillas

(Makes 3 whole quesadillas)

Here's a quick dish that kids and adults will also enjoy.

  • Vegetable oil spray
  • Three 6-inch corn tortillas, cut in half
  • 1 cup canned beans of your choice (baked, black, pinto, etc.)
  • 1 cup shredded vegan cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro

Place 3 tortilla halves on a clean work surface. Spray one side with oil. Turn sprayed side down. Place ⅓ cup of beans in the center of the three tortilla halves. Top beans with vegan cheese and cilantro. Cover with remaining tortilla halves and spray the tops with oil. Place on large oil-sprayed frying pan and cook on each side for 3 minutes, or until golden.

Note: This recipe is adapted from one found in Vegan Meals for One or Two which can be purchased here:

Total calories per serving: 241 Fat: 9 grams
Carbohydrates: 36 grams Protein: 6 grams
Sodium: 628 milligrams Fiber: 6 grams

Tamale Corn Pie

(Makes 6 three-ounce servings)


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes


  • 1 ½ cups pinto beans, cooked or canned and drained, rinsed
  • Vegetable oil spray to cover pot
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped celery
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped bell pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup canned tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 cup cut corn, cooked

In a heavy stock pot, place cornmeal, cold water, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring until mixture is thick (about 10 minutes) and has come to a boil.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process beans in a food processor or mash with a fork until chunky. Heat a stock pot and spray with oil. Sauté onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic until soft. Add tomatoes, chili powder, and corn. Stir until all items are well combined and hot.

Spray oil on an 8 x 4 x 2 ½-inch pan and spread 75 percent of the cornmeal mixture on the bottom and sides. Fill with the bean mixture and top with the remainder of the cornmeal mixture. Bake pie for 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and beans begin to bubble.

Note: This recipe is adapted from one found in Vegan in Volume, which is available for purchase at this link:

Total calories per serving: 184 Fat: 1 gram
Carbohydrates: 38 grams Protein: 7 grams
Sodium: 11 milligrams Fiber: 7 grams

Zucchini with Rice Soup

(Serves 6)

Rice Soup

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 2 tomatoes
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 cube low-sodium bouillon

In a skillet, heat oil and add the rice. In a blender, blend the tomatoes, onion, salt, water, and garlic. Once the rice is browned, add the puréed vegetables and vegetable bouillion to the rice. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes or until rice is cooked.


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chili, chopped
  • 4 large zucchinis of any variety, cut into slices and then in half to form half moons
  • ½ teaspoon salt (optional)

In a large skillet, add oil and heat. Add chopped vegetables and squash to skillet. Sprinkle with a little salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring for 10 minutes. Serve immediately with rice soup and with some of the Tofu Sour Cream found below.

Note: This recipe is adapted from Calabasitas con Sopa de Arroz found in Issue 1 2011 of Vegetarian Journal:

Total calories per serving: 377 Fat: 10 grams
Carbohydrates: 64 grams Protein: 9 grams
Sodium: 460 milligrams Fiber: 5 grams

Tofu Sour Cream

(Makes 1 pint; one serving = 2 Tablespoons)

  • 3 cups water
  • 14 ounces soft tofu
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Bring water to a boil. Drop the uncut tofu into water and allow it to boil for about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Allow tofu to stand for 3 minutes or until completely cool. Drain the water from the tofu. Place tofu, lemon juice, and salt in a blender and process the mixture until smooth.

Use to top tacos, quesadillas, chili, soup, and more!

Note: This recipe is adapted from one found in Vegan in Volume, which is available for purchase at this link:

Total calories per serving: 16 Fat: 1 gram
Carbohydrates: 1 gram Protein: 2 grams
Sodium: 75 milligrams Fiber: <1 gram

For more vegan Latino recipes and resources, visit

For information on recipe books referenced in this article, visit and click on "Books."

Karent Leibowitz wrote this article while interning with The Vegetarian Resource Group. She hopes to become a registered dietian.