janet @ the taste space

Soldadera Beans + Decolonize Your Diet cookbook GIVEAWAY

In Book Review, Mains (Vegetarian), Sides on January 23, 2016 at 8:19 AM

Soldadera Beans + Decolonize Your Diet cookbook GIVEAWAY

While I may end up apologizing for too many cabbage recipes, I shall not apologize for too many bean recipes! With the United Nations declaring 2016 The Year of the Pulse, it is exciting to see people discovering (or re-discovering) their love of such a humble nutritious super star.Soldadera Beans + Decolonize Your Diet cookbook GIVEAWAY

With the recipes I have shared here alone, you can tell how versatile beans can be. Lately, I have enjoyed trying out a slow cooker to cook beans with delicious results. While I have quite a few types of beans from Rancho Gordo, I must admit I am anxious about messing up their cooking times because they are so fresh. The slow cooker is their preferred way of cooking the beans, and now I understand. With such a long cooking time, the error to turn them into mush is much longer. However, should you try it with a pressure cooker and even 5 minutes extra on high pressure could explode your beans. I get it.

So, when I saw this recipe for Soldadera Beans, a vegan version of cowboy beans as an homage to the women of the Mexican revolution, AND it called for specialty beans in my slow cooker, I was hooked. Pinto beans could also totally work if you haven’t been hooked onto the RG beans yet.

Rancho Gordo Bolita Beans

The beans are easy to make, especially if you are able to saute the ingredients in the slow cooker itself. After a long simmer, you have delicious creamy beans spiced with tomatoes, cilantro, with a depth of flavour from the beer. No meat-heavy cowboy beans, as liquid smoke stands in for those flavours. A bit on the brothy side, this was served well with crusty bread to sop everything up.

Soldadera Beans + Decolonize Your Diet cookbook GIVEAWAY

The recipe comes from Decolonize Your DietTrust me, it has nothing to do with colons and cleanses and all to do about traditional Mexican/American cuisine gone plant-based.The recipes promote a diet that is rich in plants indigenous to the Americas (corn, beans, squash, greens, herbs, and seeds). Beyond the recipes, they are intersected within the context of the country’s history, culture and social justice.

While it isn’t entirely vegan (everything is vegetarian), the majority of the recipes are vegan or can easily be substituted to become vegan recipes. This is actually a book I desperately would have wanted while I lived in Houston and had easy access to Mexican ingredients – cactus/nopales, huitlacoche/Mexican truffle/corn smut, epazote, fresh corn tortillas, and the like. While these ingredients are not essential to enjoying the book, it would have been fun to experiment with vegan recipes that called for them (something that I found lacking when I was trying to figure out how to cook them).

I liked how simple the recipes were while also being exciting for me to want to try them. The recipes are based on whole foods ingredients and the recipe for tortillas has me wondering whether it would be worthwhile trying out now that don’t have access to 100 fresh corn tortillas for $2.

Soldadera Beans + Decolonize Your Diet cookbook GIVEAWAY

Some of the other recipes that excite me are the hibiscus flower tacos (I have heard great things about these!), other bean dishes like the Tepary Bean Salad and Chicana Power Chili Beans as well as the tofu-based Slow Cooker Enchiladas. I also recognize many favourites from our travels such as Chiles Rellenos, Chilaquiles and Red Pipian. There is a spin to make the recipes a bit more nutritious such as the Healing Green Chileatole, which spikes the regular corn-based atole drink with chiles, cilantro and tomatilloas to make an interesting soup or the medicinal mushrooms added to the pozole.

I imagine this will appeal to many of my readers and I am happy to have one copy to share with you.

Recipes from Decolonize Your Diet shared elsewhere:

Abuelitas’ Lentil Soup

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me whether you have a favourite Mexican recipe you’d like to see vegan. The winner will be selected at random on February 7, 2016. Good luck!

Soldadera Beans + Decolonize Your Diet cookbook GIVEAWAY


Slow Cooker Soldaderas Beans
Recipe reprinted, with permission from Decolonize Your Diet: Plant-Based Mexican-American Recipes for Health and Healing by Luz Calvo & Catriona Rueda Esquibel. Published by Arsenal Pulp Press, 2015.

Author’s note: This recipe is our feminist riff on the common frijoles charros (cowboy beans). A vegan dish named after the women who fought in the Mexican Revolution (soldaderas), this features a smoky flavor—as if cooked over a camp fire.

1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
2 white onions, peeled and chopped
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
1 head garlic (about 14 cloves), peeled and chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 12-oz (355-mL) bottle lager beer (see Shopping Note)
1 tbsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp liquid smoke concentrate (optional)
1 tbsp minced Chipotles en Adobo or canned (Janet’s note: omitted)
2 cups (500 mL) heirloom beans (pinquito, bolita, vaquero, Good Mother Stallard, or pinto) (Janet’s note: I used Rancho Gordo’s bolita beans)
1 qt (1 L) water
4 Roma or plum tomatoes, chopped or 1 14.5-oz (411-g) can fire-roasted chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped cilantro
2 tsp sea salt

1. In a large frying pan on medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add bell peppers and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and coriander and cook until fragrance is released, about 1 minute. Pour in beer and stir in oregano, bay leaves, liquid smoke, and chipotle. Bring up to a slow simmer.

2. Transfer mixture, along with beans and water, to slow cooker. Cook beans on high heat for 4–6 hours or low 6–9 hours, or until skins are soft and insides are creamy. Add tomatoes, cilantro, and salt.

3. Reduce heat to low (if necessary) and cook 1 hour to allow tomatoes to soften and seasonings to meld.

Shopping note:

We use a pure-brewed organic lager in this recipe.

A Mexican beer would also work well.

Makes 6 cups (1 ½ L) or about 8 servings

PHOTOGRAPHS, PROP STYLING & FOOD STYLING CREDITS FROM COOKBOOK: Tracey Kusiewicz | Foodie Photography foodiephotography.com

Note: I was given a copy of the cookbook from the publisher.  I was under no obligation to share a review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Contest Rules: No purchase necessary. Contest period begins Saturday, January 23, 2016 and ends Sunday, February 7, 2016. For US and Canadian residents only. Approximate retail value $26.95. Enter by writing a comment answering the prompt for a chance to win.  Entrants must supply a valid email address. Winners will be notified by email and must respond within 48 hours.

  1. I could eat Mexican dishes almost every day. I would love to veganize all new to me Mexican food, for example chorros!

  2. Before I switched to a vegan diet a couple of years ago, I used to love the Hot Migas at a local Mexican family-run restaurant (which closed recently after being in business for decades–maybe 50 years). I’d love to see that recipe veganized!

  3. i would love a healthy plant-based version of Chiles Rellenos.

  4. I love the idea of this. Anything with beer and you know I’m down. San Diego is like Mexican food and beer heaven. 🙂

  5. I would want a vegan crema

  6. I would love to see a vegan ceviche.

  7. Chile rellenos! Like the fried kind I used to get stuffed with queso. Don’t miss it but I did love it., would love a vegan version.

  8. Thanks for sharing the link to my post! Great review – I love this book and find myself using it a lot. (Please don’t enter me into the contest.)

  9. The cookbook looks awesome! I’d love a vegan Chicken Chilaquiles recipe 🙂

  10. This recipe sounds wonderful! Thanks for hosting this giveaway. I would love a healthful, no chemical mole sauce recipe.

  11. Oh yes, another vote for Chile Relleno.

  12. On the link you provide for the lentil recipe what on earth is “yerbaníz”??? My favorite Mexican (or Tex Mex, Mexican American) food is cheese enchiladas and tacos. Pretty much any Mexican recipe can be veganized.

  13. I’m always looking for a good vegan tamale recipe. Specifically I’d like a satisfying vegan version for green corn and cheese.

  14. Thanks for this great giveaway Janet. Hummm…good question. I love Mexicain food but so far I was lucky enough with vegenanizing the meals we love. However, I would say a vegan tamale because I only had the opportunity to eat it once 😉

  15. Chile Rellenos are also one of my favorites. I also love sweet potato lasagna

  16. i am allllways in the market for a chilaquiles recipe!

  17. Janet, you are in Canada are you not? Where do you get Rancho Gordo beans. I’ve had my eyes out for them for a while now but thought that they either not ship to Canada or it would be too expensive, especially if they charge duty.

    • I will admit that I only get them when I travel to the US (or my lovely friends bring them to me as gifts). RG will ship to Canada but it is more expensive and I never knew what the duty would be. I would love to find a Canadian supplier, but haven’t been able to find anything.

    • Also, the closest I found was this farm which sells a ton of heirloom bean seeds (mostly to grow your own, not eat). You could eat them, they would just be expensive but I just noticed for 2016 they have removed all online ordering and even the list of their impressive heirloom beans: http://www.treeandtwig.ca/heirloom-seeds/

  18. Pozole Rojo!!! Those beans look amazing.

  19. You have presented quite the commercial for this book (and the recipes it boats). While not vegan, I enjoy ALL Mexican foods — and love the idea of exploring more! Thank you for the awareness of this book. It’s on the want list 🙂

  20. I heard it was the year of beans. LOVE that =) I have never heard of soldadera beans, but they sound cool. This slow cooker dish sounds really good!

  21. This recipe looks so warm and smoky; I can’t wait to try it! I would love a good recipe for vegan tamales – I’ve had a vegan version before but didn’t love them. And I’ve added this book to my Amazon wishlist!

  22. I would like to try a vegan chili relleno!

  23. Hola! I dont know which traditional mexican food i would like to see veganized, i dont have experience with that many of the dishes. That said, a kind of bastardized quasi-Mexican food i would love to have be vegan is fish tacos. Thanks!

  24. My local taco place does a really nice chorizo taco and I’d like to see a good vegan chorizo that would be comparable in texture to it!

  25. I have had many successfully veganized Mexican dishes – chiles rellenos, chicken taquitos, all manner of tacos, tortilla soup, and so many more – but I sure do miss queso fresco. I’d love a good vegan queso fresco. Or cotija!

    I also have to say that I’m very excited about this book. It’s been on my wishlist since it was announced!

  26. Menudo — por la cruda! LOL.

  27. Enchiladas for sure!!

  28. I would love a well thought out enchiladas mole recipe! I kind of wing it, using a ton of ingredients, and sometimes it works OK but sometimes it, um, doesn’t. Seeing someone else’s expertise and ideas would help a lot.

  29. how about tacos al pastor? or enchiladas suizas? I would like to see those two veganized, and basically any recipe with nopales.

  30. I’d really be interested in a vegan dessert, like flan.

  31. I would love to cook a vegan queso dip and just learn how to make tortillas in general 😀 These beans look delish and I love their name!

  32. This book looks great, totally what I’ve been looking for! I would like to see a vegan tamale, with vegan masa.

  33. Thank you for the giveaway. Well Id love to see a some mexican deserts turned vegan, possibly some churros, champurados or pan dulce 😛 I have yet to come across any solid recipes for these particular foods.

  34. I’m just starting to go vegetarian and would love to use the cookbook to help change my diet. I love Rancho Gordo beans, just made black beans and rice last night.

  35. I have been wanting to get this cookbook for a while now. I am especially interested in the tortilla recipe, but this soup looks wonderful. I can’t wait to try.

  36. hands down vegan tamales and vegan champurrado! 🙂

  37. My favorite Mexican recipe is Chiles Rellenos, that’s one I’d like to see a vegan version of.

  38. All looks delicious but where do you buy some of these beans,not on my grocery store shelf?

  39. Yes yes I crave queso fresco hard! Maybe a extra soft tofu with some nooch…? Oh and crema (vegenaise?) But the bold flavors bound together in chorizo and the universal comfort of tamales is what I really need.

  40. For the savory side I would love to see Chile Rellenos or a fritata. For the sweet side: dulce de leche or bunuelos.

  41. Hey Janet,
    To decided whether what is my favorite dish is a really hard question. I’m third generation Mexican American and when I became vegan I tried to ‘veganize’ pretty much about every Mexican dish out there except mole! Mole has been one of favorite dishes out there that I’ll forever love. My family was very supporting when I became vegan, my dad said he was a ‘vegan’ growing up in Mexico. He never really ate meat and he lived on a ranch. I love hearing about stories growing up as a kid. He would wake up everyday at four in the morning to go ‘walk the cows’. Along the ranch they would grow pumpkins, corn and squash and his mom would utliitze those three main vegetables and make up many different dishes. I’ve learned so much about my tradition with food and how politics and history intersected with it. I honestly believe schools should teach more about food then anything else.

  42. I’d love to see vegan POZOLE!!!! Or chiles rellenos even vegan tortas ahogadas, why not? I already made some vegan enchiladas 😀

  43. I’d love to see vegan POZOLE!!! Or chiles rellenos even vegan tortas ahogadas. . . I already made some vegan enchiladas 🙂

  44. For me, I think it would come down to my favorite desert: tres leches cake. Just knowing how to make it just right is tough. But to make it as delicious while following a vegan diet would sure be a challenge!

  45. huevos rancheros!

  46. Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to see a vegan bean dish with vegetables.

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