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These tortitas de camarón are without a doubt my favorite Mexican lent dish. There is a tradition of serving seafood-based dishes during lent in Mexico and this is just one of them. To make this vegan, I made my vegan tortitas de camaron with a mixture of chickpea flour, zucchini, spices, and ground up nori. They are served in a guajillo chile salsa roja with nopales (cactus).

Glass bowl with chickpea flour, zucchini, spices, and nori powder for vegan tortitas de camaron

Lent is supposed to be a time to abstain from meat as a means of sacrifice and repentance, but now that I’m vegan, this part of lent really no longer applies to my life. However, there are many Lenten dishes that I used to love like ceviche, Mexican shrimp cocktail, capirotada, sopa de habas, and chiles rellenos. I have of course veganized all of them!

pot filled with water and dried chile and tomatoes simmering

Tortitas de camaron are essentially shrimp patties made with dried ground shrimp and whipped egg whites. You can find them served with salsa roja, mole poblano, and pipian (pumpkin seed sauce). For this vegan version, I tested making the patties out of chickpea flour cooked almost like polenta, then letting it cool, and cutting it out into circles. The flavor was good, but the texture was wrong and it seemed like a lot of steps for something that could be quite simple.

nopales draining in a white colander

I finally settled on adding grated zucchini to the patties, and cooking them like you would pancakes, and I think you’re really going to like this! What are some of your favorite lent dishes??

vegan tortitas de camaron cooking on a saute pan

The Recipe: Vegan Tortitas de Camaron

  • To cook nopales, bring a large pot of water to a boil with salt and a cilantro sprig. Add nopales and cook until tender for about 8 minutes. Drain the nopales and rinse them immediately with cold water. Let them drain for a couple of minutes and now they are ready to use.
  • The patties will seem like they are too soft in the middle, but as they cool down they will firm up.

Vegan tortitas de camaron with nopales in a light blue saute pan

  • I only added 1 tsp. of nori powder, but if you want the patties to be very fishy you can add more. I made the nori powder by placing 3 sheets of nori (for sushi) in my blender and processing it into a coarse powder. You can also use dulse flakes.
  • I added chile de arbol, because I like mine spicy, but you can omit them or add more.

 

Vegan tortitas de camaron on a clay plate with nopales and a spoon taking a portion

 

Spoon dipping into Vegan tortitas de camaron on a clay plate

Vegan tortitas de camaron on a clay plate with nopales and a guajillo salsa roja
5 from 1 vote
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Vegan Tortitas de Camaron

Vegan Tortitas de Camaron (Mexicans shrimp patties) a classic Lenten dish gone vegan in a guajillo chile salsa roja.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword lent recipes, vegan mexican, vegan shrimp
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
135 kcal
Author Dora S.

Ingredients

To make the patties:

  • 2 cups Finely shredded zucchini
  • 1 tsp. Garlic powder
  • 2/3 cup Chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tsp. Smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground mustard
  • 1 tsp. Nori powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt

Sauce:

  • 6 Guajillo chiles, dried stems, and seeds removed
  • 1-2 Chile de arbol, stems and seeds removed (optional)
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 White onion, chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 Cilantro sprigs
  • 1 1/2 cups Chile soaking liquid
  • 2 ½ cups Chopped nopales, cooked (see note)

Preparation

To make the sauce

  1. In a cast iron pan set to medium heat, toast the chiles for 20-30 seconds on each side. Be careful not to burn them, or the sauce will be bitter.
  2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and drop in the chiles and the tomatoes. Lower heat and simmer for 15 min.
  3. Remove chiles and tomatoes from the soaking liquid and place in the blender with garlic, onion, and 1 ½ cups of the chile soaking liquid. Season with salt and pepper, and process until smooth and strain. Set aside.

To make the patties:

  1. In a large bowl combine the zucchini, garlic powder, smoked paprika, chickpea flour, ground mustard, nori powder, and salt. Mix well with your hand and let sit for 5 min. Mix again.
  2. Grease with preferred cooking oil (optional) then scoop out 1/4 cup of the zucchini mixture at a time into the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until light golden brown. Set aside.
  3. Set a large saute pan to medium heat and pour in the sauce. Add cilantro sprig and let it simmer for 5-6 minutes. Add cooked nopales, stir, and adjust seasoning. Add the patties into the sauce and serve with rice.

Chef's Notes

  • To cook nopales, bring a large pot of water to a boil with salt and a cilantro sprig. Add nopales and cook until tender for about 8 minutes. Drain the nopales and rinse them immediately with cold water. Let them drain for a couple of minutes and now they are ready to use.
  • The patties will seem like they are too soft in the middle, but as they cool down they will firm up.
  • I only added 1 tsp. of nori powder, but if you want the patties to be very fishy you can add more. I made the nori powder by placing 3 sheets of nori (for sushi) in my blender and processing it into a coarse powder. You can also use dulse flakes.
  • I added chile de arbol, because I like mine spicy, but you can omit them or add more.

 

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Tortitas de Camaron
Amount Per Serving
Calories 135 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Sodium 277mg 12%
Potassium 689mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 8g
Protein 7g 14%
Vitamin A 49.7%
Vitamin C 29.4%
Calcium 11.6%
Iron 11.8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

My husband said something to one of our friends that I can’t stop thinking about. He said, “ Dora isn’t vegan, she just eats vegan.” I guess he was referring to my one cheat day a week. (He’s asleep as I am writing this so I will have to ask him tomorrow what he meant.) In his mind, if I really was vegan I wouldn’t cheat at all. Yes, I cheat once a week. I know some of you animal lovers will be horrified at this, but I’m just not quite there yet in my transition into veganism.

Veracruz-style fava bean stew, fava beans braised in onion, garlic, tomato, olives, capers, and pickled jalapeños. It is spicy and comforting

I could sugarcoat it and tell you that going vegan is easy, it is not. Especially if you are a die-hard carnivore or cheese lover like me. There can be many obstacles, like an unsupportive family, difficult access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and not knowing how to cook. One of the things that is not talked about enough is that you have to completely change your mindset. We are so used to seeing meat and potatoes on our plate that when someone gives us a plate of only potatoes it feels like we are missing something. This is why it takes time to change. Some people can quit animal products cold-turkey and that’s great, but there’s also many of us who do better with a gradual approach. Lindsay from Happy Herbivore has a great mantra, “Progress not perfection,” and I try to live it out everyday.

Veracruz-style fava bean stew, fava beans braised in onion, garlic, tomato, olives, capers, and pickled jalapeños. It is spicy and comforting

Veracruz-style fava bean stew, fava beans braised in onion, garlic, tomato, olives, capers, and pickled jalapeños. It is spicy and comforting

As time has passed (this is my 3rd year being an imperfect vegan) the health benefits of going vegan or plant-based have become clearer and clearer. When I do eat animal products I feel pretty gross, and now, even though I became vegan for health reasons, every time I take a bite of an animal protein I can’t help think about the suffering of the animals.

Veracruz-style fava bean stew, fava beans braised in onion, garlic, tomato, olives, capers, and pickled jalapeños. It is spicy and comforting

So yes, Mr. Stone, I am vegan. I might not be a perfect one, and maybe I will never be, but I like to think that my imperfect veganism contributes to making this world a little better. I know my health is definitely better, and I know yours can be too.

Veracruz-style fava bean stew, fava beans braised in onion, garlic, tomato, olives, capers, and pickled jalapeños. It is spicy and comforting

What are some of the things you struggled with while transitioning to a vegan lifestyle? Do you have any tips and tricks for other newbies?

Now, onto…

The Recipe: Veracruz-Style Fava Bean Stew

I’m sure by now you’ve heard of fish cooked Veracruz-style. The fish is baked or braised in a sauce of onions, garlic, tomatoes, capers, olives, and pickled jalapeños, but since this is obviously a vegan blog I did not use fish for this recipe. Instead I made a hearty stew of dried fava beans Veracruz-style. It is comforting, spicy, tangy, and it pairs perfectly with rice.

The fava beans take about 40 minutes to cook and you do have to soak them overnight, so this recipe can take a little bit of time to prepare. If you cannot find fava beans or do not like them you can substitute with potatoes. Enjoy!

Veracruz-style fava bean stew, fava beans braised in onion, garlic, tomato, olives, capers, and pickled jalapeños. It is spicy and comforting
4.25 from 4 votes
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Veracruz-Style Fava Bean Stew

Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 day 1 hour
Servings 4 servings
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Fava beans, dried
  • 1 tbsp. Vegetable oil, optional
  • 1 Onion, white, thinly sliced (julienned)
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) Crushed tomato
  • 1/2 cup Manzanilla olives, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. Capers
  • 1 tsp. Oregano, dried
  • 1 Bay leaf dried
  • 2 Pickled jalapeños chopped
  • 1 cup Vegetable stock or broth

Preparation

  1. Place fava beans in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 40 minutes or until the beans are tender.
  2. While the beans are cooking, heat oil in a large pot set to medium heat. Add onions and sweat for 3-4 minutes or until the onions are tender and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
  3. Pour the crushed tomatoes over the onions and simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the olives, capers, oregano, pickled jalapeños, and bay leaf. Mix well.
  5. Drain the cooked fava beans and add them to the pot with the onion mixture.
  6. Pour 1 cup of vegetable broth into the pot and simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Season to taste and serve with rice.

Chef's Notes

If dried fava beans are hard to find you can use potatoes instead.