Plant-based retreats in Mexico – More than vegan tacos


vegan mexican food on yoga retreat

Plant-based Mexico retreats – more than vegan tacos

by Chef Zachalicious

In my recent post, I laid out the reasons that our yoga retreats are plant-based. Creating delicious and nourish plant-based meals can be challenging AND fun, depending on where our retreats are located. While I am not Mexican, I have eat a LOT of Mexican food and enjoy transposing the original, traditional tastes into similar plant based meals. It is still my favorite after all these years, all these countries, and all the cuisines I have eaten. Viva Mexico!

Carrie and I have traveled through more than 20 different Mexican states. We have eaten everything from bus station street tacos to 8-course fine dining experiences. We have places across the country that we CANNOT WAIT to go back to, and some we do return to on occasion. Like the lady and her daughter slinging breakfast moletas on a street corner in Mexico City. Or where they have the best fancy vegan food in Oaxaca. Or blue tortilla street tacos in this one park in Puerto Vallarta. It really does keep a chef dreaming.

The cuisine is varied and each region has its own specialties and styles. From the rich molés of Oaxaca, to the fruits of Puerto Vallarta, to the blue corn tortillas of the central areas, for foodies you can’t find anything better than the variety and quality in Mexico.

It’s actually EASY to try out a plant-powered diet in Mexico, especially on our retreats!

Beans and legumes, seeds and nuts. They are the protein.
Black beans, pinto beans, soy beans, lentils… most Mexican people eat these foods all the time. Other things that are common are pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and cashews. There is no reason for a vegan or vegetarian to lack protein on a plant-based diet in Mexico.

beans plant-based mexican food yoga retreat

Fruits in their tropical home.
Tropical Mexico is home to SO MANY world-class fruits. Mango, banana, pineapple, soursop, passionfruit, jackfruit, citrus, avocado, coconut, zapote, melon, and whole bunches of exotic things that I don’t even know the name of. One time in Oaxaca we were at a market that had seven different varieties of mangoes. It is great to eat the fruits fresh, as many people in more northern countries have never tasted tropical fruit that was picked fresh.

Ancient grains – corn is king.
It is really easy to use the local ingredients to create amazing plant-based dishes that even meat-eaters enjoy. Many communities in Mexico still eat in a traditional way, similar to how food has been in that region for centuries. Key players are the “three sisters”: corn, beans, and squash…the most important is corn! But real, indigenous, non-GMO corn is key!

vegan tacos on yoga retreat mexico

Every little town in Mexico has a tortilleria, the tortilla shop where you can usually buy taco tortillas or lumps of masa dough that you can form yourself at home. This dough is what you use to make artisanal tortilla shapes that define the different regional staples – enchilladas, tacos, enfrijoladas, molitas, sopes, flautas, dorados, quesadillas, huaraches… these are just a sample of the many forms that this masa dough can take.

Chilies – Mexico’s biggest addiction.
Mexican people (and many tourists) put chili on EVERYTHING. Chili goes on tacos, but also in drinks, sweets, even ice cream. People are absolutely obsessed with chili. So many amazing chilies are grown in Mexico and they come in many different forms at the market. For instance, a jalapeño can be left to grow longer, turning from green to red. This red pepper is then smoked and dried. This chili that was a jalapeño is now a chipotle pepper. Many chilies have two names depending on the way they are processed. You can find great dried chilies at any market in Mexico, but the most amazing chilies we have seen come from the central markets in Oaxaca.

 

Chilies range from barely spicy to straight fire from hell, and they can be used in many different ways. From salsas to molés to eaten raw, each region has its own way to prepare and consume the chilies and as a chef it is very exciting to try all the different things. We can tell if a restaurant is going to be good by tasting the quality of the salsas, before our entrees even arrive.

We are sure to include local chilies on all of our Mexico yoga retreats.

What plant-based foods are we eating on our upcoming Mexico yoga retreat

Day 1

Dinner – Jackfruit barbacoa, pinto beans, jicama slaw, pico de gallo.

Dessert – Pineapple cake, passionfruit syrup.

Day 2

Breakfast – Local fruit buffet, overnight oats, cashew butter

Dinner – Lentil fritters, camote, elote salad, tortillas.

Dessert – Double chocolate black bean brownie.

Day 3

Breakfast – Pepitas + sundried tomato chorizo, roasted rosemary potatoes.

Dinner – Enfrijoladas, black bean mole, slaw, cashew crema.

Dessert – Mango tart, aquafaba whip.

Day 4

Breakfast – Smoothie bowl, granola, toasted coconut, the ripest fruits.

Dinner – Calabaza flautas, chopped salad.

Dessert – Banana bread, coconut caramel.

Day 5

Breakfast – Chilaquiles, chickpea scramble, always fruits.

Dinner – Rice + beans, grilled plantain, heats of palm “ceviche”, chipotle mayo.

Dessert – Local chocolate or other treats

Day 6

Breakfast – Avocado toast, sprouts, roasted tomatoes, black beans.

Dinner – Pumpkin soup, crispy chickpeas, roasted kale.

Dessert – Cacao drink for ceremony.

Day 7

Breakfast – Granola, local fruit, nut butter, coconut.

Some lunches are also provided, and some will be eaten out.

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The food in Mexico is so much more than just tacos and meat. Vegan eaters shouldn’t have a problem finding plant-based options anywhere. All of the big cities in Mexico have trendy vegan restaurants now, and veganism is supposedly the fastest growing food trend in the country. The younger generations of Mexicans are finding that you really can keep the flavor and style of the traditional cuisine, even it you remove the meat. With diabetes and obesity being serious issues in the country, there is no better time than now for people to get healthier by adding more plant-based foods to their diet, whether they are fully vegan or not.

Some of our favorite memories in Mexico are over the backdrop of an incredible meal. I have had so many meals there that I will remember for the rest of my life. From street food to eight-course fine dining experiences, Mexico really has it all to offer when it comes to food.

If you would like to check out my plant-based Mexican food on our yoga retreat this March, click here for more information!

vegan tacos mexico retreat

We also run train tours on Mexico’s new Tren Maya! There are 6 day and 11 day options available. We have made lists of all our favorite plant-based restaurants along the way and there will be LOTS of opportunities to eat Mexican vegan!