15 South American Plant-Based Recipes


South America is a continent in the southern hemisphere made up of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname , Uruguay and Venezuela! From empanadas to potato croquettes, you will fall under the spell of South American cuisine! These 15 dishes are some of the most popular and delicious dishes to try from across the continent, which you won’t want to miss!

We also recommend that you download the Food Monster Application – with over 15,000 delicious recipes, this is the largest resource of meat-free, vegan, plant-based and allergen-free recipes to help you stay healthy!

1. Black bean empanadas

Black bean empanadas

Source: Black Bean Empanadas

Spelled empanadas stuffed with black beans, corn and red pepper served with fresh salsa and cashew sour cream by Lena Novak!

2. Papas Rellenas: Eggplant and potato croquettes

Papas Rellenas: Eggplant and potato croquettes

Source: Papas Rellenas: Eggplant and potato croquettes

Papas rellenas are a popular type of kibble in many Latin American countries. In this recipe from Cruelty Free Family, the crispy potato croquettes have a savory, sweet and spicy eggplant filling surrounded by a creamy mashed potato. They are then served with a creamy and irresistible avocado sauce for dipping. It’s a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes, but it’s also worth making mashed potatoes just to experience that tasty appetizer.

3. Colombian Black Bean Stew

Source: Colombian black bean stew

This Colombian Black Bean Stew from Kimberly Espinel is not only super easy to prepare and utterly delicious, but also extremely healthy. Full of protein and plant fiber, it’s proof that plant-based foods don’t have to be complicated. Plus, the main ingredients (black beans, onions, and garlic) are all inexpensive. This Colombian black bean stew is a delicious, economical, and filling meal, especially when served with cereal and avocado slices.

4. Moqueca (Brazilian stew)

Moqueca (Brazilian stew)

Source: Moqueca (Brazilian stew)

Thick, succulent, heartwarming and almost too good to share, this vegan recipe from Moqueca de Compassionate Cuisine was inspired by a Brazilian seafood stew. Their compassionate version uses fried plantains, tofu, hearts of palm, and diced potatoes to create a beautiful and unique tasting dish. Since it was originally a seafood stew, they used wakame, a sea vegetable, to create a mild broth that gives off a subtle taste of the sea.

5. Tres Leches Flan

Flan Tres Leches

Source: Tres Leches Flan

Tres leches flan is a Mexican candy that is traditionally made from milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and eggs. In this simple recipe by Alejandra Olmedo, three kinds of non-dairy milk are used and cornstarch replaces eggs. Served with syrup and fresh fruit, this treat has a rich, custard-like texture that melts in your mouth!

6. Pastel de Choclo: Chinese pâté from Chile

Pastel de Choclo: Chinese pâté from Chile

Source: Pastel de Choclo: Chinese pâté from Chile

Simply put, this is a Chilean dish very similar to shepherd’s pie. Typically, this dish contains large, juicy pieces of beef, but we find eggplant to be the best substitute because it doesn’t have a lot of flavor and carries all the flavors of the dish while retaining its shape. This Pastel de Choclo: Shepherd’s Pie from Smith and Daughters is fantastic served with a green salad seasoned with our lemon cumin vinaigrette.

7. Brazilian black beans

Brazilian black beans

Source: Brazilian Black Beans

These Brazilian-style black beans from Elsa Brobbey are intensely flavorful, perfectly spiced, and cooked until tender, rich, and fragrant with deep flavors. It’s also filling and nutritious, and very adaptable whether you want to use your favorite spices or mix in healthy greens and veggies. For a creamier texture, stir a cup of the stew (just before the end of cooking) until smooth and add it again. It makes a great meal on its own, with a piece of good bread, or you can serve it as is traditionally done with white rice.

8. Sweet potato tacos with plantain and guacamole

Plantain Sweet Potato Tacos With Guacamole

Source: Sweet potato tacos with plantain and guacamole

These Erin Druga Plantain Sweet Potato Tacos with Guacamole are exactly what they sound like: stuffed with plantains, sweet potatoes and black beans and topped with a simple guacamole. They are vegan, gluten free, and a great option for lunch or dinner!

9. Roasted Corn and Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Roasted Corn and Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Source: Roasted Corn Cheese and Sweet Potato Enchiladas

These Roasted Corn Cheese and Sweet Potato Enchiladas from Danielle Clark are the perfect cozy dinner! They’re made with minimal ingredients, come together in under an hour, and are incredibly easy to prepare.

10. Black Bean Tamales

Black Bean Tamales

Source: Black Bean Tamales

A reduced corn version is used to craft these Amy Height Black Bean Tamales! Corn, black beans, tomatoes and fiery spices, all cooked in a small bag of corn husks. There ! A super simple meal. Plus, the tamale topping makes a super filling breakfast (over kale) if you have any leftovers. I used to bake it in muffin tins for 20 minutes at 350F to firm it up: it makes little bean and corn bites that are great for pre-fueling your day.

11. Cuban lentil soup with baked plantains and lemon cream

Cuban Lentil Soup with Baked Plantains and Lemon Cream

Source: Cuban Lentil Soup with Baked Plantains and Lemon Cream

Comfort in a bowl – full of veggies and classic Cuban onion and garlic essence with a kick. It’s a robust soup with lots of vegetables and spicy with traditional Cuban flavors. Topped with lemon cream and irresistible baked plantains, this Cuban Lentil Soup with Baked Plantains and Lemon Cream from Karen Sheer is warming and packed with nutrients!

12. Cauliflower ceviche

Cauliflower ceviche

Source: Cauliflower Ceviche

The ceviche differs from country to country. This cauliflower ceviche from Dora Stone is closest to the Mexican version that features onions, tomatoes and peppers. Onion, cilantro and lime juice have also been added to create a spicy, tangy and refreshing appetizer. Serve in an avocado for a fun presentation and with plenty of tostadas or fries!

13. Palmito Salsa: Brazilian Heart of Palm Salad

Palmito Salsa: Brazilian Heart of Palm Salad

Source: Salsa de Palmito: Brazilian Heart of Palm Salad

This simple and refreshing Palmito Salsa: Brazilian Heart of Palm Salad by Christine Pittman is perfect for your summer barbecue. The hearts of palm are mixed with tomatoes, onions and spring onions in a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, lime, salt and pepper, to give it a little spice. If you’ve never tried hearts of palm before, this salad is a great place to start.

14. Black Bean Potato Pupusas

Black Bean Potato Pupusas

Source: Black Bean Potato Pupusas

A pupusa is a traditional Salvadoran dish consisting of a thick corn tortilla filled with a mixture of meat, cheese and beans. However, these Black Bean Potato Pupusas from Jasmine Briones are totally vegan, gluten-free and oil-free! Oh yeah, and they’re as good as any pupusa you can find on a street cart.

15. Roasted Cilantro Poblano Empanadas

Roasted Cilantro Poblano Empanadas

Source: Grilled Cilantro Poblano Empanadas

These Roasted Cilantro Poblano Empanadas from Stephanie McKinnie are full of savory goodness! Poblano adds the most delicious flavor of roasted pepper and the combination of poblano, cilantro and melt-in-the-mouth vegan cheese can’t be beat. The coleslaw turns a beautiful bright pink and adds the much-needed crunchy and fresh quality to the mix. The beauty of empanadas is that they are easy to reheat, which makes them ideal when you’re on the go.

Learn how to cook plant-based meals at home!

lentil fritters

For those of you who want to eat more plant-based, we strongly recommend that you download the Food Monster app, with over 15,000 delicious recipes. It’s the greatest resource for herbal recipes to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals, and get healthy! And, while you’re at it, we encourage you to educate yourself on the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet as well.

Here are some great resources to get you started:

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