7 Veg Friendly Chilean Traditional Foods
When I say traditional Chilean food, most people quickly think of asados and carne, empanadas full of cheese and meat, and an extra helping of meat. I’m here to tell you, you can eat Chilean and still be friends with the animals. Most of these options require little to no extra questions or prep work. Get out there and enjoy!
Mote is a secret love of mine, found in almost any plaza in any city in Chile (mainly during the summer but I’ve seen it during the winter too). Mote con huesillo is mote (wheat) and a big hunk of huesillo (peach) in a sweetened broth of sugar and cinnamon. It’s a dessert here, though I consider it more of a tasty drink. It’s cheap, tasty, and surprisingly vegan.
Warning: I have heard that occasionally a vendor will use honey as a natural sweetener in their mote. If that makes you nervous, just ask. There is normally more than one cart selling mote depending on your locale. I’m sure one of them makes it sin miel. (Without honey).
Before you yell, sopapillas aren’t vegan, some are, some aren’t. As most vegans/veggies are used to, you’re just going to have to ask your local street vendor if they use lard or not in their sopapillas. (“contienen manteca de cerdo?”-Should do the trick). If the answer is no, dig in! I prefer mostaza (mustard) and maybe a bit of aji on my sopapillas, but I’ve seen ketchup, pebre, and other good things thrown on!) Get out and eat this greasy street food. You gotta eat at least one before you leave Chile.
Pebre is delicious. Fact.
It is often served as an appetizer or a garnish to throw on top of bread, sopapillas, potatoes, anything really. I’d consider it a cousin of salsa and weird nephew of the mix they make for bruschetta. Completely vegan, completely delicious, and completely traditionally Chilean. If it’s an option, put it on everything.
Only slightly obsessed.
Completos, or suped up hot dogs, can easily be made vegan. Ask the vendor or restaurant if they can put extra palta and make it sin la vienesa and sin la mayonesa. Potentially weird, but completos are classics here. The other thing that I do to spice my completo up, is I’ll make some carne de soya and stick it in the bun as the meat replacement. Super delicious.
Some may call foul on calling this traditional Chilean food, especially seeing as we eat hot dogs in the US, but based on seeing how much they love their completos, I’d say it’s a Chilean rite of passage.
Very simple, but very Chilean. Toasted bread with avocado. Simple. Delicious. Chilean. Vegan.
For those interested, see my post on Chilean bread and the lard myth.
While most Chilean salads here run the boring path of a meat, mixed with an egg and iceberg lettuce drenched in dressing, ensalada chilena is super rica. Onions, tomatos, cilantro, oil,salt, and pepper. Nothing cooked, all mixed up fresh. If you see it on a menu, order it. It’s plain and simple, but that’s the beauty in the flavors.
An accidentally vegan dish of beans, squash, corn, and spices all mixed up in a delicious stew. It’s a summer dish, so don’t be looking for it in the cold of winter.