If there's something Carlos and I grew up on it's these little pieces of Venezuelan street food heaven called arepas. These vegan arepas are gluten free by default, they can be served for a yummy vegan breakfast or even as a vegan main dish for lunch or dinner. If you haven't tried these before, you'll fall in love instantly, this quick vegan recipe is a regular at our house for sure.
Every family back home has their own way of eating and serving these, and although most of the traditional fillings are not vegan friendly, all you need in my opinion for a top notch vegan arepa is some ripe avocado, tomatoes and some vegan cheese shreds. In fact plain avocado is a perfect filling in and of itself!
Want more ideas for fillings? The arepa is always a savory dish, so here are some ideas:
Mashed avocado mixed with vegan “chick’n” and a bit of eggless mayo (a weird but delicious concoction that has the very funny name of “reina pepiada” in our home country)
Savory stewed jackfruit made with some tomatoes, cumin, onions and peppers or pulled BBQ jackfruit
Vegan deli slices and cheese slices
Black beans and fried plantains
Black beans, fried plantains and some vegan cheese shreds
Anything savory your little heart desires.
They couldn’t be easier to make, and all you’ll need is a bag of pre-cooked white maize flour (known back home as harina P.A.N., which still is a very easy to find brand). You can find it in the Latin section of the supermarket, and now, with arepas gaining popularity across the globe, you can even find it next to the standard wheat flours at the supermarket in some cities. There really isn’t a substitute for this pre-cooked maize or corn flour, so ask your store clerk if you don’t see it right away. You can take a look at the package in the video below!
Are you ready? Sandwiches will never be the same after this one! Enjoy the video, printable and recipe for vegan arepas below…
Yield: 4 medium sized arepas | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 10-12 minutes
1 & 1/2 cups water
1 & 1/4 cups pre-cooked white maize flour (P.A.N. flour is a popular brand)
3/4 teaspoon salt
A bit of spray oil or a drizzle of neutral tasting oil for the pan
1 ripe tomato cut into thin slices
1 ripe avocado, sliced
Vegan cheese shreds
A sprinkle of salt
A pat of non-dairy butter (optional)
Combine the water and salt until the salt is diluted, and then add the maize flour, mixing it into the water with your fingers.
Let it rest for 1 minute, and then knead with your hands until incorporated and a soft dough is formed.
Shape the dough into 4 discs.
Heat a non-stick pan on high heat, wiping a bit of oil with a paper towel or using some spray oil.
Place the 4 arepas in the pan and lower the heat to medium. Don’t move the arepas until a crust has formed.
Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes or until a golden crust has formed, flip and let it cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden on the second side.
Cut them open like a burger bun with one end closed to form a pocket, and fill it up with any goodies you might like, in this case, a pat of non-dairy butter, lots of vegan cheese shreds, some avocado and tomato slices sprinkled with a little sea salt and enjoy!