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Mexican sin carne

Eddie Garza makes meatless versions of Mexican favorites

All Animals magazine, May/June 2017

by Kelly L. Williams

Eddie Garza's chickpea-based Garbanzorizo offers a healthier version of traditional chorizo. Photo by Meredith Lee/The HSUS.

Piping hot quesadillas, oozing with melted cheese. Tacos stuffed with spicy chorizo and Mexican crema with a hint of lime. HSUS senior food and nutrition manager Eddie Garza loves creating plant-based versions of these Latin staples to reach a crowd that’s eager to try new versions of familiar favorites.

“It’s a joy for me to veganize my favorite recipes from childhood,” says Garza, who grew up in Texas with his Mexican family. As part of his role with The HSUS, Garza demonstrates plant-based recipes to Hispanic communities around the country. “There are people of all ages, of all Latin backgrounds, who are interested in these types of foods,” he says.

Why? For one, it’s healthy. “The Latin community recognizes that we have some major health problems to address, such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Nutrition experts advise eating more plant-based foods to help treat these and other preventable diseases."

Garza’s work also fits into a growing trend in the food scene by focusing on foundational ingredients used by South and Central America’s native populations. These staples—think corn and beans— lend themselves well to plant-based cooking. Garza uses them to create “plant-based versions of things that we have come to love,” the cheesy, meaty modern favorites associated with Latin cooking.

  • Eddie Garza in the kitchen. Photo by Sylvia Elzafon.

Whatever the reason people appreciate his food, it’s a gateway into caring about the other positive effects of choosing plant-based foods. “The animal issues become part of the conversation,” he says, along with the environmental benefits of reducing meat intake.

And with his new cookbook—¡Salud! Vegan Mexican, published late last year—you can taste Garza’s recipes for yourself. For a sneak peek, try this recipe for Garbanzorizo. Whether nestled in a burrito or stirred into a rice bowl, this animal-friendly version of chorizo incorporates all the same spices and flavors as its namesake—but none of the animal products or cholesterol.


Garbanzorizo

Serves 4. Recipe by Eddie Garza.

Ingredients

1½ tablespoons olive oil
½ cup yellow onion, finely diced
¼ teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
2½ tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon tamari
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Instructions

1. In a large pan, heat the oil at medium-high heat. Add the onion and salt and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onion is nearly translucent. Add the garlic and stir together.
2. Add the cumin, thyme, oregano, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, paprika, chipotle and chili powders and the chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Mix well.
3. Add the chickpeas, tamari and vinegar, and toss until combined.
4. Mash the mixture lightly until the chickpeas are crumbly. Mix well and cook for 5 to 7 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

PER SERVING: Calories: 150; fat: 6g; protein: 7g; sodium; 623 mg



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