Viva Vegan!

200 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food Lovers


By Terry Hope Romero

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As coauthor of the phenomenally successful cookbooks Veganomicon and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Terry Hope Romero has long been one of the most popular vegan chefs around. Now, in her first solo cookbook, Romero opens the world of Latin flavor to vegans and foodies alike. Viva Vegan! expands the palates of anyone looking for a way to add fresh, seasonal ingredients and authentic spice to their meals without relying on animal products. A proud Venezuelan-American, Romero’s enthusiasm for her culture shines through every recipe.Viva Vegan! covers every aspect of Latin cooking across the Americas: refreshing bebidas (drinks), vibrant ensaladas, hearty empanadas, nourishing stews, and one-dish wonders. Learn the basics-how to make the perfect tamale, salsa to complement any dish, and beans from scratch-plus special treats like flan, churros, and more.Complete with gorgeous color photos, Viva Vegan! is the ultimate guide to authentic and inspired new Latin cuisine.


"Exuberant and unapologetic . . . recipes don't skimp on fat or flavor, and the eclectic collection of dishes is a testament to the authors' sincere love of cooking and culinary exploration."
"This is vegan cooking at its best."
Vegetarian Times
"Full of recipes for which even a carnivore would give up a night of meat."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Seriously good recipes with broad appeal."—Washington Post
Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar
"[A] winning collection of vegan cookie recipes that should appeal to vegans and nonvegans alike.... Decadent recipes . . . show that you can be vegan and still indulge in delicious treats."
Publishers Weekly
"Moskowitz and Romero are icons in the vegan world. . . . All your favorite cookies are here, alongside many that are about to become your favorites."
Bar Harbor Times
Providence Journal
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
"[Moskowitz and Romero] produce insanely fetching cupcakes."
New York Times
"Written chattily and supportively for even the most oven-phobic. . . . Each page of this cookbook contains an irresistible delight."

Also by Terry Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

For Nerio and Teresa.


When friends would ask me what new cookbook I was writing, my answer, "a vegan Latin cookbook," was often met with looks of "como?" How can that be? The meatiest cuisine on the planet (so say some) made meatless? Is she loca? Has she been living off of raw broccoli for too long? Oye! But Latin food and vegan cooking need not be mutually exclusive. In fact, they are a match of culinary perfection, just like beans and rice.
Imagine a world without tomatoes, potatoes, corn, beans, pumpkins, chili peppers, or even chocolate. Who would want to live there? Now imagine life without . . . cow tripe. You're probably thinking . . . no problemo, senorita! Well, that first set of ingredients gets me out of bed in the morning. These humble foods are not just culinary gifts but also part of the soul of Latin American cuisine. And even better . . . they're all naturally vegan.
Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, or just excited to give a few meatless meals some real estate on your dinner plate, this cookbook is for you. Interest in vegan cooking is exploding; the Latin community is expanding, and compassionate, healthy, affordable cuisine is more accessible than ever to anyone who loves tacos, tofu, or both.
The spirit and essential flavors of many of my favorite original Latin dishes are preserved in these pages. I aim to keep things authentic, but this is still not your abuela's cooking, even if she is vegan (and lucky for you if she is!). These recipes are meatless, dairy-free food fantasies made reality: seitan potato tacos, espresso-spiked vegan caramel flan, and melt-in-your-mouth alfajore (dulce de leche butter cookie sandwich), and none have ever known a cow. I've also created new recipes infused with Latin flavor, like gazpacho-inflected salad dressing, or a spicy dairy- and egg-free chocolate cake stuffed with a dulce made from sweet potatoes; my take on some "Nuevo, nuevo Latino" cuisine.
Is your neighborhood sadly lacking a Latin American grocery? I've got you covered. These recipes include the adjustments necessary to bridge the differences between a North American or European supermarket and a Latin American mercado. I'll also encourage you to seek out uniquely Latin ingredients in one of the many Latino markets in most major American cities (hey, we're the largest and fastest growing minority!) or take shopping to the next level on el Internet.


My roots are Venezuelan, I was raised in New England, and then, soon after high school, I ran off to live in New York City (home to many Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and Dominicans). I had the break of a lifetime when I first moved here to work at one of the few Latino owned and operated vegan restaurants in NYC at the time. Bachué (named after an ancient Colombian goddess) was an ambitious mix of macrobiotic staples (brown rice, seaweed), flights of vegan fancy (savory vegan crepes), and an entirely Latino plate of "yellow" brown rice, beans, fried sweet plantains, and grilled seitan. I marveled over what I recognized from my childhood, now transformed and made even better by a Latina vegan fairy god-mother (named Veganué?). All of the flavor, texture, and spirit of the real thing—and not an animal's life interrupted. This was what was missing from the vegan spectrum of eating. While my days at that café have long passed, I took with me all those lessons learned and a need to explore this crazy notion of vegan Latin cuisine.


Are you a budget-conscious foodista? Latin food, especially when meat- and dairy-free, is economical and a timely choice for today's challenging times. Many Latin staples are some of the cheapest yet most nutrient-dense foodstuffs you can find at most supermarkets: rice; dried or canned beans; root vegetables; aromatic fresh herbs like cilantro, garlic, and parsley; peppers and onions; creamy coconut milk. Dried Mexican chiles—an inexpensive, authentic ingredient—delivers vast yet nuanced flavor. I don't know about your grocery store, but those I frequent in NYC stock ultra-versatile green plantains that go for six, or sometimes even ten, for one dollar! With such savings it's easier to spend a little extra on good-quality olive oil, organic products, and dairy alternatives. All of these basic, inexpensive ingredients are then used for maximum effect—the greatest nutritional and delicious bang (for your hard-earned buck).
Continuing on with the theme of thrift, Latino food is all about embracing leftovers and repurposing previously cooked foods. Refried beans are likely the most beloved example. Leftover tostones (crunchy fried plantains) get a second, sublime life in mofongo . Last night's rice and beans are transformed into comforting gallo pinto, or quinoa and beans into crispy Peruvian-styled, freeform tacu tacu. Old tortillas regain their former glory fried into tostadas or baked into a casserole—some may say even better than they were before.


So you're a vegan or vegetarian already and you've already mastered the dinner plate without the animal stuff on it. You get a golden tamale then! But perhaps you've longed for a taco that more resembles the delights found at a taco truck (usually off limits to those who don't eat animals) than it does fast food. Or you've longed for a world beyond standard vegetarian fare like bean burritos or soy cheese nachos. You'll find plenty to get started here. Many of my recipe testers have become devotees of Peruvian panca chili paste or homemade dairy-less dulce de leche sauce and have worked these into their regular vegan menu rotation.


I also wrote Viva Vegan! with Latinas (and Latin food lovers) in mind. Perhaps you've picked up this book with an emerging desire to quit meat and dairy, or even just to eat less of it. You're nearest and dearest to mi corazón and I aim to get you off to a promising career as a vegan Latina (or Latino). The easy part is cracking open this book and cooking up a soothing bowl of vegetable-filled posole stew or a batch of arroz con seitan. The hard part (I know what you're thinking) is what to tell your mom when she presents you with a dozen pork tamales for Christmas, brimming with all those unmentionable animal bits you don't want to eat. Just remember, you're not alone. I'm a pragmatist and the easiest way to make things happen is to step into the kitchen and start cooking for yourself. Experience has taught me and countless others that the way to a complaining familia is through their stomachs. Learn to master delicious vegan adaptations of traditional dishes (or invent your own new takes on meaty favorites) and everyone will learn to come around to your way of thinking. Or, at the very least, ask you when you're making dinner again! Didn't grow up with all the Latin foods you wish you could have? Maybe your parents thought it was important you got to know chicken noodle soup instead of sancocho, tuna casserole instead of pupusas, baked beans instead of arroz con gandules, all in hopes that you'd fit in with the other kids at school. I'll say it just one more time . . . this book is for you, too! Think of it as a way to get to know your roots just a little more, one chomp of yuca frita at a time.


A word on heat: Not all Latin American food is spicy or drenched in chilies. Throughout much of the Caribbean and many parts of South America, chilies (often called ají) are popular but used with care. In fact, you might even find that some of these foods in their native countries could use a little extra spice. In those cases I've included options to "pepper up" things in anticipation of the North Americans' love of chili-laced Mexican cuisine. But ultimately it's your kitchen and you can decide how hot you want your recipes to be.


Sometimes it's best to leave mondongo and morcilla to those who really want to eat it (if you don't know what those are, then well, I'm not going to tell you!). My goal is not to "veganize" every Latin recipe out there. Instead, I've taken all of the gorgeous diversity of herbs, spices, vegetables, legumes, and fruits, and intertwined it with these vegan recipes to convey the history, love, and sabór of the Latin palate.
Empanadas and tamales are as much an American staple as burgers and apple pie. Eating Latin American food is eating American food . . . we all live in the Americas (if you're on this side of the planet that is). That said, Latin American food has an entire place of its own in the culinary universe. If you're a Latina and know tortillas but not arepas, or are just someone hungry for an additional approach to eating meatless and dairy free, I hope this can be a map on your journey to exploring a few new cultures in the convenience of your own home kitchen.
Enough with the reading, let's get to cooking (and eating)!

Now with the formalities out of the way, let's chat about all of the great ingredients that go into these recipes! Not meant to be an all-inclusive list, this is a rundown of things to have on hand. Some may be old hat to you if cilantro is a regular item in your veggie bin; others could be entirely new, such as ají amarillo paste or masa harina. Likewise, some of these ingredients are Latin-food-specific and found in friendly Latin American grocery stores; some are more vegan in nature and may require a trip to the health food store.
Read through this section, even if just a quick scan, to get an idea of what that next shopping trip should include or if you are already in the clear with certain ingredients. For a handy take-along guide for shopping in Latin markets or health food stores, step over to appendix B. And for suggestions on shopping online for hard-to-find ingredients, see (you guessed it) appendix B again.


I've broken down things that don't need refrigeration into three lists: basic items, Latin ingredients, and vegan stuff. Depending on where you live, this could mean three different shopping trips or just one stop and a thorough taking-stock of the kitchen cupboards.

The Basics

Both vegans and Latinos need cooking oils or flavorful broths for cooking. Because there is a lot of wiggle room regarding quality of that olive oil or brands of vegetable broth, I leave it up to your excellent personal taste to pick out what you enjoy . It's likely you may already possess some or all of these ingredients, but be sure to check exactly how much is there before starting a recipe.
Extra-virgin olive oil is the go-to olive oil especially in salads and uncooked items. More refined oils such as virgin olive oil and olive oil blends are less costly and easy to buy in bulk, but you might sacrifice a little flavor. Some like to reserve the more expensive extra-virgin oil where the flavor will more likely be savored, such as in salad dressings or drizzled on top of soup, and use cheaper oils for pan-frying.
Peanut oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil, and coconut oil are used to approximate other flavors in Latin American cooking. Peanut oil is superb for deep- and pan-frying and its aroma complements strong flavors such as hot chiles or tomatoes. Use canola for baking, frying, or where a light-tasting oil is needed. Grapeseed is very light and right for salads when the flavor of olive oil may overwhelm other ingredients. Coconut oil is used in some Latin dishes and is occasionally called for in these recipes. Look for organic, unhydrogenated natural coconut oil. Use refined coconut oil if you don't want a coconut flavor . . . unrefined coconut oil has a pronounced coconut aroma.
Shortening and margarine come into play when making tamales or baked goods. Both once had a bad rap sheet with nasty stuff like hydrogenated fats and chemicals, but some have since evolved to meet the needs of today's healthier chef who still appreciates a "buttery" cookie or rich, tender piecrust. These are useful ingredients in Latin cooking as they both step in for lard—the favored fat for tamales and flour tortillas—in very traditional recipes. Look for new brands of shortening and margarine that are labeled free of trans fats and nonhydrogenated, and make sure that they're also vegan (some brands think it's cool to pump up margarine with whey or other milk solids). As of this writing Spectrum and Earth Balance are two common and excellent vegan brands; the latter is also available in a handy solid stick form.
Long-grain white rice is king in Latin American cooking and can be enjoyed with just about any Latin cuisine. Delicious and versatile organic long-grain white can be found lots of places; even the old-guard Latin grocery brand Goya is on the organic kick! I personally love to use nontraditional aromatic basmati hybrids (such as California basmati or Texmati) for my own home cooking, as the consistency is similar to white long-grain rice, plus they have a mouth-watering buttered-popcorn aroma, without the need of cows or corn. The only kinds of rice I suggest to refrain from using in these Latin recipes are Asian short-grain rice, risotto rice (unless called for), and sticky/ sushi-type rice.
Long-grain brown rice can also be used in these dishes, keeping in mind that the total liquid content and cooking time will increase quite a bit (usually doubled).
Vegetable broth makes for moister and more flavorful casseroles, stir-fries and sauces. (Use it as broth in soups, too, of course.) Unless you really love making your own vegetable broth, use boxed broth or even broth reconstituted from vegetarian bouillon cubes. Try different brands to find one you like. Use low-sodium broth, if you prefer. There are also good "chicken"flavored vegan cubes, and vegetable broth in a handy concentrated paste form (Better Than Boullion brand, for one) that's concentrated enough that it can easily be stored in the fridge but makes many quarts of broth whenever you need it. In general, avoid brands that have artificial additives or monosodium glutamate (MSG).
White wine and red wine are a flavorful cooking liquid that I love to use when deglazing (page 261) a sauté pan. The cheap stuff is perfect! Some wines might be filtered with animal-based ingredients, so just be sure to choose a certifiably vegan wine for your cooking needs. One handy site that can confirm the veganness of your wine is
Red wine vinegar and white wine vinegar are widely used as seasonings in Latin cuisine. Just a tablespoon in a bean soup can help sharpen flavors and provide a perfect contrast to the spicy and earthy flavors present in lots of Latin foods. If you prefer something a little milder, rice vinegar can be substituted, or if you don't mind and have a big bottle of it already (since it has dozens of household uses), plain white distilled vinegar is a sharp and tangy addition to recipes. Malt vinegar is fine for use in soups or spicy marinades, as the malty flavors are compatible with salty or strong flavors. The only vinegar I don't recommend for Latin cooking is apple cider vinegar. Although it's the darling of health food cooking, I find that the strong cider aroma and flavor can overwhelm and just doesn't taste right with these foods.
Beer is remarkable not just for drinking—and in an ice-cold Michelada (page 220 an yone?)—but fantastico when used in marinades, as a substitute for vegetable broth in rice dishes, or even incorporated into hearty stews. I can't say enough about the flavor boost beer can bring to foods, especially spicy or garlicky dishes. Mexican beer is my go-to beer for cooking Latin stuff and most commonly available brands, such as Corona, Dos Equis, and Presidente, are vegan as of this writing.
Liquid smoke is my most favorite of sneaky flavoring ingredients. Entirely vegan and made by distilling wood smoke with water (sounds amazingly alchemical!), a shake or two into beans or marinades imparts a delicate smoky flavor that stands in nicely for bacon or ham. Vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, our vegan stand-in for its not-so-vegan counterpart, is used in many Latin countries, where it is called salsa ingles, as a common seasoning for beans, rice, and other savory dishes. Even soy sauce shows up in some cuisines (such as the Japanese and Chinese influences in Peruvian food) and, of course, since we're vegans we just can't get enough of the stuff, plus it helps flavor and balance such soy foods as tofu and tempeh. I like to use mild Chinese-style light soy sauce in Latin recipes (save the tamari and shoyu for Japanese cuisine, please).
Freshly ground black pepper is habit forming and not too expensive as far as habits go. For a few bucks, a decent pepper mill and a bag of mixed peppercorns bring endless moments of pepper-grinding joy.
Salt is also a personal preference item. I use two kinds of salt: coarse kosher salt is great for general all-purpose cooking, but I still use granulated table salt for baking. If you choose to use kosher salt, use just a teeny bit more than table salt, as it has more volume because of its flaky texture. Sea salt is a tasty all-purpose salt for all of you gourmet hippies out there.

The Vegan Pantry

It used to be that a drive to the health food store was necessary to get tofu or soy milk, but now it seems any generously stocked supermarket or corner grocery will have many of these items. ¡Viva la vegan revolución!
Nondairy milk is a generic term for your choice of soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, oat milk, hazelnut milk, hemp milk, or other nut-based milk in these recipes. Excellent commercial brands now exist for all of these milks and it's worth trying a few to see which one you like. I'll list my preference for the type of milk in the recipe, but if you hate, say, almond milk, switch it to hemp or oat or whatever floats your boat. This flexibility of substitution, however, excludes coconut milk or soy creamer . . . which will be listed specifically and unequivocably if a recipe calls for it.
Here are my own personal preferences for using nondairy milks: I like to use soy milk mostly for baking and making flan, as it contains plenty of protein to help provide structure and body to the final product. I adore almond milk and use it when a baked good doesn't need much nondairy milk, say a tablespoon or two. And it makes a killer horchata and delightful arroz con leche. For a thick creamy café con leche or for use in vegan ice cream, I like hemp milk, hazelnut milk, or the new coconut-based drinking milk So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage. And rice milks are a favorite for merengadas or for any sweet and delicate smoothie.
Heavy cream substitute is yet another generic term for the soy- or nut-based cream substitutes now available. Silk brand is the most commonly found soy creamer and the new MimicCreme, although not as widely available, is a wonderful heavy cream stand-in made from almonds and cashews. The unsweetened variety is excellent for use in soups. I generally use only plain soy creamer and unsweetened nut-based creamers.
Do not by any means use that powdered "nondairy creamer" designed for coffee; it's insanely artificial tasting and full of bad-for-you hydrogenated oils. Just say no!
Tofu usually comes up when the topic of vegan food arises. Properly prepared tofu is like the chameleon of foods and can be transformed into savory entrées, light desserts, and everything in between. Generally the water-packed, chilled "Chinese" firm style is used for baked tofu and savory dishes. "Japanese" silken tofu (either water-packed or boxed) is used for some desserts or where a smooth-textured, blended consistency is desired. Consult the recipe for which kind of tofu should be used.
Tempeh originally hails from Indonesia but has since spread like a mushroom all over the non-meat-eating community. The short story is that it's a fermented soybean cake, which sounds terrible but when properly made tastes awesome! It has a firm, distinctly non-tofu-like texture, and a rich, nuanced flavor. Tempeh should be lightly steamed first to help soften it up to absorb the flavor from marinating (the second step) just before frying (the last step that makes everything great, including tempeh).
Vital wheat gluten flour is special wheat flour whose starchy portion has been removed so only the protein gluten is left. Silky and a pale creamy color, it is used to make seitan (wheat meat) in these recipes. You'll most likely have to go to a health food store to find this item, or online to check out baking specialty stores. I recommend purchasing a lot of it, either in bulk or the largest packages you can, if you become really excited about making seitan.
Seitan is a wonderfully chewy "meat from wheat" crafted from seasoned vital wheat gluten, which can be purchased or made at home. Of the unmeat power trio (tofu, tempeh, and seitan), this one usually wins over omnivores first with its chewiness, excellent grill-ability, and meaty appearance. Homemade seitan can be as involved a process as you like; the seitan recipes in this book (steamed rather than boiled or baked like most seitan) are fairly minimalist and don't require too much fiddling on your part. Seitan is great for individuals who can't handle soy (as long as it's not seasoned with soy sauce!); it pairs superbly with Latin cuisine; and when sliced and cooked just the right way, it even looks like meat.
Nutritional yeast is a special ingredient no vegan or health nut should be without, as it provides a cheeselike flavor to foods, along with a boost of vitamin B12, protein, and other things to keep you alive. Look for golden yellow powdery flakes with a savory smell and melt-on-your-tongue texture, either sold in bulk or packed in jars. This book uses it primarily for flavoring seitan and in a few other cheeselike concoctions. Absolutely do not confuse with brewer's yeast, which smells like old socks and will not work in these recipes!
Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is made from soy and is available in dehydrated form (usually chunks or small bits). It always needs be rehydrated before eating and is best when tossed into a simmering sauce or soup. When flavored correctly it transforms in something hearty and chewy and provides a satisfying meatlike experience. TVP is an old-school vegetarian meat substitute that I only use occasionally in some soups and stews for a special hearty, chewy effect. You won't need to purchase much if you choose to use it with this book; one large bag of the large chunk style should suffice. You could also substitute Soy Curls—a dried, soy-based protein made with whole soybeans—for TVP in any recipe, too.

The Latin Pantry

Beans, rice, chile peppers . . . they're all right here, along with a few other things you may not be but should get more fa - miliar with. These ingredients cover most everything you'll need to make the following recipes, but be sure to read through a recipe first to see if there are special things required.
Beans, cooked to perfection, are the heart and soul of so many of Latin recipes, not to mention one fine, filling, and wonderfully cheap source of protein, fiber, and nutrients. Canned beans are an ideal convenience food during those busy times and are useful when you require just a little bit of beans and not a whole pot. With a little advanced planning, you may find that dried beans need not be inconvenient at all and even lend themselves to freezing.
Purchased frozen beans


  • 4/30/10
    # 10 on Tucson Weekly’s bestseller list for the week, 5/24/10

    “[Romero] comes to the rescue of cooks whose imagination limits their vegan output, and vegans who would like more Latin dishes on their menus. There are 200 recipes in this colorful book; among favorites like tacos, burritos, and tamales (and everything else you’ll find in popular Mexican, Cuban, Costa Rican, South American and Spanish restaurants), there are wonderful desserts, salads, stews, snacks, sweets, casseroles, and…ooooh, those creamy corn-filled empanadas!...There is a great selection of dishes that everyone will enjoy…’Crepes with Un-Dulce de Leche and Sweet Plantains’ are swoon-worthy…Bottom Line: Would I buy Viva Vegan!? Sí.”, 5/27/10

    “Crepes with Plantains…[is] one of the best vegan breakfast ideas I’ve come across…A good cookbook for novice cooks as well as for those more experienced cooks who want to add a little variety to their culinary repertoire. It works well as an introduction to preparing Latin foods.”
  •, 6/2/10
    “[An] insanely creative cookbook.”

    The Electric Review, May/June/July 2010 issue

    “As Terry Hope Romero shows in Viva Vegan!, it's entirely possible for diners to get big flavor with organic ingredients that fore-go all-things-animal. Here, Romero takes a fresh approach to vegan cooking,…introducing an assortment of recipes that simultaneously pay homage to vegan principles and the saucy-flair of traditional Latin cuisine…Viva Vegan!, which speaks with equal precision to both the professional chef and the novice, contains a complete course in how to apply vegan principles to Latin cooking…Noted for its clear narrative that educates without intimidating.”

    Bergen Record, 6/14/10
    “Two-hundred festive recipes fly off the pages of this Latin-American book, each sacrificing meat and dairy but not authentic techniques.”

    Deseret News, 6/15/10
    “Romero blends her Venezuelan roots with her experience working in a New York Latino-operated restaurant to create Latin American vegan recipes.”
  •, 6/18/10
    “Flipping through this book was both fun and jaw-dropping. Not only was it beautifully written, I also don’t think I’d have predicted that so many classic Latin dishes would lend themselves so well to going meat and cheese-less. The recipes were compelling–and all looked fresh and perfect for summer.”

    Miss Eco Glam Blog, 4/28/10
    “Inside the book are recipes for every aspect of Latin Cooking… You will learn the basics of Latin cooking, how to make beans from scratch, how to perfect a Tamale, and how to make authentic desserts. This book will keep you busy in the kitchen for as long or as short as you like, the variety of recipes in here are fabulous!... It’s the kind of recipe book you read and start drooling because each dish sounds so exotic and sooo yummy!”
VegNews, July/August 2010
Viva Vegan! hits the mark. Celebrating her Venezuelan roots—and Latin culture as a whole—the NYC-based chef has not simply veganized Latin-food favorites…Instead, she presents unique dishes infused with Latin flavors…Thirteen well-organized chapters of recipes cover everything from quintessential condiments to more versions of rice and beans than you ever thought possible.”
Bookviews, July 2010
  • “Finally a recipe book that offers vegan recipes that are a familiar take on Mexican and South American foods. Viva Vegan would even appeal to people who think all vegan eating is just grains and veggies and soy products with no taste. The book is very creative with its recipes…Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or an omnivore, this book would be a great addition to your cookbook library.”
    Curled Up With a Good Book
    “Romero has opened my eyes to a whole new world of vegetable possibilities with her book…Romero’s book makes it so simple…[to] whip up meals…One bite and I was converted…Romero includes helpful tips, friendly encouragement, and snippets of beginner Spanish that let us gringas pretend we’ve got Latin flair in the kitchen...Viva Vegan is a perfect way for the not-quite-committed to make the transition to a vegan lifestyle without giving up the flavors we love…Romero’s approach is chatty and light-hearted, suggesting that whipping up these recipes is equally breezy. I can tell you that this particular kitchen-illiterate reviewer found it to be just that, and produced easy, tasty dishes that even the family carnivores wolfed down.”
    Midwest Book Review, August 2010
  • “In Romero's kitchen, firm tofu is turned into a chewy, smoky pan-fried ‘vegan stunt-double’ for chicharrón, the fried pork rinds popular in the Caribbean, while ceviche is reimagined with mushrooms or heart of palms.”
    Sacramento Book Review, August 2010
    “No matter what your dietary persuasion, Viva Vegan! is a cookbook everyone needs to bite into. Sassy and exploding with flavor, this book includes both joyful reading and happy eating…I imagine I’ll be turning to Viva Vegan!...frequently. And I’m not even vegan…What sets Romero’s recipes apart from other vegan fare is her reliance on standard kitchen ingredients—not creepy faux meats…Her recipes ultimately rely on fresh ingredients, creating healthier, lighter versions of otherwise traditionally heavy meals…Fresh, fun, and enticing, recipes from Viva Vegan! are certain to become staples in your family meals.”
, 7/29/10
    “Latin-style food has been hugely underrepresented in vegan cookbooks, but this new book sets everything right.”
    Fresno Book Review, 8/8/10
  • “Loaded with attitude to show that vegan cooking can be an absolute blast and doesn't have to rely on faux meats and pretend cheeses to taste good…This being summer, it's time for easy-to-make salads, and Romero offers a wonderful selection, including Black Bean and Corn Salsa Salad, where most of the energy goes into creating its gazpacho-style dressing, turning simple black beans and roasted corn kernels into something special.”
    Metro New York, 7/20/10
    Viva Vegan! audaciously ventures meat-and-cheese-lessly into the heart of Latin American cooking—and brings you 200 vibrant recipes that don’t skimp on taste or authenticity.”
    The Hippo, 7/15/10
    “These are some of the best kinds of vegan recipes because they present fun foodie twists that will be interesting no matter what your diet is.”
    Munster Times, 7/17/10
    “The author leaves no frijole overturned, giving step-by-step directions for Chili Rellenos, Red Chile-Seitan Tamales and other meatless entrees. We’d need a lot more pages to list her fabuloso suggestions for sides, soups and sweets.”
    New York Daily News, 8/4/10
  • Books and Chocolate blog, 11/24/10
  • “Covers every aspect of Latin cooking such as bebidas (drinks), ensaladas, empanadas, nourishing stews, and one-dish meals, while teaching the reader the basics of Latin cooking—how to make the perfect tamale, salsa to complement any dish, and beans from scratch—plus treats like flan and churros…A great resource.”
    Natural Solutions, January 2011
    “[One of the] 12 Favorite Cookbooks from 2010”

    Natural Solutions
    , January 2011
    “Romero, a Venezuelan-American and celebrated vegan chef, makes classic Latin recipes (from empanadas to churros) meat-and-dairy free.”
    Vegan Mainstream, 1/8/11
    “[Romero is] a knowledgeable and passionate foodie who sheds a different light—and even some Latin heat—on veganism.”
    Vegetarian Journal, Vol. 30, Issue 2, 2011
    “Romero shows you just how festive and inventive Latin cuisines can be…Helpful tips throughout.”
    Metapsychology Online Reviews, 4/10/11
  • “This book is wonderful for vegetarians and vegans alike, but the recipes can be prepared and enjoyed by anyone with an appreciation for Latin food.”
  •, 9/21/10
    “Terry successfully provides the vegan world with Latin-based vegan delights. The naturally-fresh nature of some Latin recipes greatly aid in her delicious new creations.”
    VegNews, December 2010
    “Cookbook of the Year.”

    , December 2010
    “A gorgeous, comprehensive guide to tackling everything from crispy plantains to rich dulce de leche…While the book features some meat-free substitutes…it focuses more on beans, grains, and vegetables, highlighting the healthy side of traditional dishes…Helpful how-to illustrations pepper the book, teaching beginners the secrets…Provide[s] the perfect foundation for eager amateur chefs, while foodies will surely appreciate the creative vegan twists…There’s no doubt that Viva Vegan! marks a milestone for vegan cookbooks.”
    Eco Mama’s Guide to Green Living, 11/17/10
    Viva Vegan is for those who like a little spice…A great holiday gift for that person who likes Latin American cuisine.”
  • “[Romero] has collected 200 authentic recipes for Latin food lovers that will make you drool as you read how diverse herbs, spices, vegetable, legumes and fruits come together as enchiladas, green tomatillo sauce, taquitos, and flans.”
  • (UK), 6/30/10
    Viva Vegan! is the ultimate guide for anyone looking for a new way to add fresh, seasonal ingredients and authentic Latino spice to their meals without relying on animal products.”
    Tucson Citizen, 7/2/10
    Romero draws on her Venezuelan roots and her experience as a cook in an New York City Latino-operated restaurant to concoct delightful new takes on old favorites…This is a marvelous collection, especially for the hot summer months. The salads and beverages are wonderful choices when the temperature climbs above the century mark.”
    Portland Oregonian, 7/13/10
  • “[This book] comes as a nice surprise to those who think Latin American food consists primarily of…meaty dishes. Viva Vegan! contains easy, creative recipes for vegans who love Latin American cuisine…[It] is one of the greatest ethnic additions to a vegan's cooking library, with recipes that require a minimum level of culinary skill and taste as delicious as they look.”

  •, 4/1/11
    “Romero’s tasty and easy-to-follow recipes will tempt even hard-core carnivores.”, 4/14/11
    “A decadent romp with things like chocolate mole tamales, mushroom ceviche, and sweet coconut corn pudding, with a good dose of educational cooking and ingredients information.”

    Big City Vegan, 7/7/11
    “The volume and expanse of recipes in this book is impressive…This vegan cookbook is one big fiesta! Vegan food is not just for vegans anymore and this cookbook proves it.”, 10/19/12

  • The Feminist Texican, 8/26/10
    “If you think meat-free Latin food is not a possibility, prepare to have your mind blown…As for the recipes themselves? Delicioso!...This cookbook is extremely hard not to like. She is knowledgeable and easygoing, and the book itself is easy to navigate.  I love that the book has recipes from a variety of Latin-American countries; it’s fun to see the variations inspired by different cultures. The book does not disappoint!”
    January, 8/29/10
    “Most surprising…[Romero] delivers.”
    Z-Life, Fall 2010
    “You can have your Latin food and eat it, too…Romero takes a fresh, healthier approach to Latin cuisine while expanding the vegan repertoire beyond the basics of tofu, seaweed and brown rice…Easy-to-follow recipes.”
, 8/16
    Viva Vegan! has made it fun and easy to take the vegan plunge while still staying true to your Latino roots in the kitchen…[It] will have your cupboards ready to handle any meal—without hurting our furry friends!”
    Taste for Life, October 2010
  • Basil and Spice, 4/29/10
    “[Romero] offers a dynamic intro to Latin food ways with her latest cookbook, Viva Vegan! that even the most staunch omnivore will salivate over…Newcomers to Latin food and plant-based dishes will appreciate Romero’s primer on the Latin pantry and how to source these ingredients.”
  • “Provides an outstanding collection of dishes…Using the basic spices of Latin cooking, this takes vegan dishes to a new level, offering professional chefs and beginners a fine set of vegan choices. Every vegan library should acquire this as an unusual addition to the collection!”
    The Vegetarian (UK), September 2010
    “This book introduces us to the incredible tastes and diversity of South American cooking…[It] features lots of useful hints and tips…It’s well worth hunting out all the authentic ingredients for this book but you won’t be disappointed with the recipes with more accessible items. Definitely one of my favourite books of the year.”
    The Vegan (UK), September 2010
    “An innovative new book that incorporates exciting new recipes with delicious traditional Latino favourites. Romero shows you how to transform vegan ingredients into wonderful dishes for you to enjoy…Whether you are looking for a comforting feast or have a specific dietary requirement Viva Vegan has something for you…[It] will definitely keep you cooking with passion every time.”
  • "Covers really helpful kitchen basics from start-to-finish and makes what might seem too involved at first glance easy through its excellent instruction."—Whalebone, "Essential Vegan Cookbooks"
  • On Sale
    Apr 27, 2010
    Page Count
    320 pages

    Terry Hope Romero

    About the Author

    Terry Hope Romero is the author of several bestselling and award-winning cookbooks. Named Favorite Cookbook Author by VegNews, Terry lives, cooks, and eats in Queens, NYC.

    Learn more about this author