Cooking with EL CHAVO! : Vegetarian Menudo

Bienvenidos Chavos y Chavas a otra edicion de mis recetas vegetarianas! Settle down now with all your laughing and guffawing, cuz this here is indeed a plate of vegan menudo. And it’s good. No, really, its tasty and animal-less. Oh shut up with the giggling, let me get started!

I’ve seen people ridicule my vegetarian Mexican recipes, some idiot laughing at the concept of tofu in tamales, someone on facebook jokingly suggesting I turn in my “mexican card” for the sellout idea of vegetarian chorizo. If these cooking instructions are “authentic” or not is of no concern to me, cuz I just don’t give a fuck. I don’t eat animals, but I do aim to eat tasty food. No, I’m not Mexican but my Chicano tastebuds favor the flavors from the homeland down south, and I do believe these cooking instructions are worthy of your time and effort. Do with that info what you may.

For those not in the know, Menudo is a popular Mexican dish for weekend mornings, and often sought after as a cure for hangovers. It’s a hearty chile based soup with maiz (hominy) and usually some disgusting meats, like Cow Stomach, aka tripe. Mind you, even lots of meat eaters hate the flavor and extreme chewiness of tripe, and many order their Menudo “solo con maiz” so they don’t get any of the terrible tripe. Cuz really, most of the flavor is in the broth and the maiz. And I’ve come up with a fairly easy way to make your own Veggie Menudo at home!

Click here to see how its done!

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69 Responses to Cooking with EL CHAVO! : Vegetarian Menudo

  1. Beatriz says:

    I know a couple of Mexican vegetarians who’d love this recipe. Thanks for taking the time to photograph the step by step recipe. And you’re so right about the menudo…it’s all about the spicy broth and hominy.

  2. Lorena says:

    I must say, I would eat this before I would eat real menudo. How about a vegetarian recipe for lengua?

  3. Annika says:

    Oh yum. This sounds so good!

  4. johnny says:

    I love me menudo and don’t mind tripe but this looks awesome and dare I say more healthy.
    Heres hoping my ancecsters don’t turn over in there graves esp. my dad.
    Cant wait to try this

  5. urban memo says:

    I am a big fan of your vegetarian food. Keep it at! 😀

  6. antoine's shadow says:

    X-cellent recipe, but can I get mine con patas? Just kidding. your chile treatment is nicely done even with the soychips for texture w/o the skunky taste tripa brings. I like and am going to give it a try. Thanks El Chavo!

  7. apio says:

    Having had this when visiiing El Chavo, I can vouch for its deliciousness. Thanks for posting up this recipe, El Chavo.

  8. chimatli says:

    I have tried this vegan menudo and it is one of the most delicious soups I’ve ever tasted!

  9. Buddha says:

    I’m a serious carnevore. I pretty much can’t stand veggies at all. I know vegetarian eating is healthier and all but my palate just don’t agree. With that said I enjoy Chavos recipies cause he takes the old meat based favorites and comes up with a healthier way of preparing them and alot of these taste better or at least look like they taste better than the originales. I have to admit so far I’ve only tried Chavos nopales and I tried the veggie chorizo and both were good. This veggie menudo recipe looks good too I think I’ll gve it a try.
    Chavo – I have one question. When rehydrating the tofu, why not use the menudo juice itself instead of boiling water? Is it because it would be too messy when cutting into pieces or is there another reason? just wondering.

  10. EL CHAVO! says:

    That’s not a bad idea, soaking in the chile water and absorbing more flavors. And you really don’t need to presoak the the tvp slices, you can just put them in whole. But I wanted to cut them (hard to do dry) and it expands quite a bit when hydrated, so put much less if you go that route.

  11. Dona Junta says:

    This sounds really good, I am def going to make it. My roommate eats meat but does not like the menudo meat so this is perfect. And remember people drain that hominy or else it will taste bad that juice is not good.

  12. Rosa says:

    HILARIOUS!! Mis respetos, Chavo, pero NO! Anyway, I like the way you take the time and pix for your recipes. I LOVE regular menudo, thank you, and am a purist at heart (menudo without hominy; pozole WITH hominy), so I will pass on this one. I am not vegetarian, but I like vegetarian recipes. Also, I just wanted to let you know that I tried Reynaldo’s soyrizo and have had it several times since reading your post re same. The flavor IS a little…uh…OFF? Not sure. My mom didn’t like it, she prefers the regular commercial stuff that (in the words of the FABULOUS Diana Kenneday, mexican cookbook author extraordinaire) ‘turns into a horrible soup’. For my money, the BESTEST chorizo is the kind that’s made in smaller quanitites and that contains more actual meat. P.S. The soy stuff you use in your recipe rather resembles menudo, too, but I simply abhor anything soy or soy-lated. I suppose I have eaten Reynalds’s soyrizo only because the seasonings do a good job of hiding the fact it’s soy and I don’t eat meat on Fridays. Tan-tan.

  13. rolo says:

    Much respect to you and your veggie menudo, but the taste or real menudo has to come from all that lovely animal in it. Im sure your veggie menudo is good, but im sure it wont top real menudo.

  14. I always hated Menudo as a kid growing up in City Terrace.

    We would have it along with Carnitas and Nopales on Sundays after church at home…they would get most of the stuff from “Los Cinco Putos”as i use to call it 🙂

    Your Veg..version sure looks very antojable….I would try it.

    I keep telling my meat eating relatives…eating red meat like beef is closely related to illness and diseases like cancer and heart disease down the road..seriously.

    Anyways thanks for the FOOD PORN 🙂

  15. apio says:

    I didn’t mention above that I am a meat eater, but I still prefer El Chavo’s’s menudo with textured soy product to any menudo with tripe I’ve had (okay, so I don’t like tripe)

  16. Erika says:

    oh that looks delicious. I’m a vegetarian Salvadoran who misses eating menudo. When I get back from my stay in India, that’s the first thing I will make! Veggie menudo.

  17. Julio says:

    I just wanted to say I found the irony hilarious that someone who’s monicker is “Buddha” is NOT a vegetarian. Comedic gold.

    Secondly, since my becoming a vegetarian (over 10 years ago) I have had many relatives either die, or get sick because of diseases that could be very easily attributed to animal-centric diets: it is only when they get diabetes, high-cholesterol, or other health conditions when they turn to me for tips for a more healthful diet. Vegetarianism (or even meat-lite) is definitely something that our community can do well from.

    It’s a shame since most pre-Columbian foods themselves are very healthy, and the introduction of beef & pork is what has created the epidemic of diabetes (coupled with too much soda, and other highly processed-foods).

  18. Buddha says:

    Julio – Although I do respect the religion, I’m not Buddhist. The name is more because I’m bald (actually shaved) and a lil chunky and enjoy smoking the Buddha.
    As I said above , I would like to eat more veggie dishes but I just don’t like the taste of cooked veggies. I realize it’s a much healthier lifestyle. That’s why I like El Chavo’s recipes because he recommends some soy alternatives and stuff that I’m not aware of.
    Anyway here’s alittle history on Buddhism, they weren’t all vegetarians including Buddha himself. Probabley explains why he was so fat.

  19. Buddha says:


    As a type 2 diabetic, I’ve been to a few nutrition classes and it’s not so much the beef and pork that contributes to the diabetes as it is , like you mentioned, the sodas, the processed foods, white rice, pasta, breads and most of all portion control. Meats are fine in small portions, but yeah you’re right you can’t have a 12 oz steak and a 8 oz potato 3 times a week for dinner with a few beers or a 2 liter of Coke and not expect to have some health problems.

  20. Julio says:

    @Buddhist: The “fat Buddha” image is not THE Historical Buddha (or Siddhattha Gotama) BUT an image of a Buddhist monk known as Hotei. His “fatness” was seen as a symbol of wealth and good luck.

    True, not all Buddhists were/are vegetarians and Siddhattha Gotama was not a vegetarian either but did espouse a life of moderation or “The Middle Path.”

    And Buddhism, essentially, is really not a religion but a philosophic outlook.

  21. esme says:

    Buddha, like God, is a woman…or at least, i’ve seen breasts in so many of Buddha’s depictions that I’m pretty convinced

  22. Buddha says:

    So Julio, you had all that Buddha knowledge when you made your comedic gold comment?

  23. please write a cook book with all your amazing recipes

  24. Neli says:

    Never thought of making Tofu Menudo, it sounds great!!! Thanks for the recipe!!!!

  25. Gina Latina says:

    Dang…for those of us who never knew how to make the real stuff anyway.

    Thanks, this may just put me on my way to *getting* my Mexican Card.

  26. Rob Rodriguez says:

    Gracias my friend! I love “real” menudo, but its so difficult to share with my less than Mexican friends. This will be a treat for them, thanks so much for idea, it never occured to me.

  27. Kim says:

    Sorry you get alot of crap for your mexican recipes but I have mad respect for what you do. Being a mexican vegetarian isnt hard at all, especailly if all your family eats is meat and rags on you for not being a "true mexican". But thanks for this recipes ive seen a lot of watered down versions of veggie menudo but this is the best! Hope to check out more of your great recipes

  28. Pearmama says:

    I haven’t eaten menudo in years, cuz of that nasty tripe. Hell to the nah. I do eat posole, pero I make it with the swine. *gasp* Thankfully I only eat it once or twice a year. The recipe looks yum but I can’t get past that TVP stuff. What is the texture like? I’m all for just eating it just with the hominy, which is basically what I do when I eat my posole. The first day we eat it, seems like all the kids get the meat. On day #2, we have hominy soup. Which is how I like it anyway! I don’t use the Mexican hominy, I prefer the white hominy because the kernal seems bigger. I wonder what Malcom X would say about that preference. Sorry about the random Malcolm X comment, I’m just reading his autobiography and its funny how certain things keep coming up. 🙂

    Keep up the yummy recipes!

  29. Christina says:

    While I absolutely love “real” menudo (it’s probably one of my favorite top 3 dishes ever, and btw I’m Cuban-American and married to a Mexican-American who doesn’t really like menudo, but prefers pozole), I have to say your vegetarian version looks pretty tasty, and I am seriously tempted to try it. Keep up the great recipes!!

  30. henry peck says:

    got directed here by a friend and i’m going to give it a whirl and invite them over…great pic..makes it look tempting. thanks from a vegetarian who loves mexican food and is always fearful of the lard.

  31. Kim says:

    The picture of this Vegetarian Menudo looks just as tasty as the Tranditional Menudo.. Yes I have wanted a non tripe recipe, so I will try this one.

  32. DeeDee says:

    Such a Gorgeous Soup! I will replace the textured protein with seitan. Those Peppers will be a challenge to handle, but I’ll break out the gloves and open the windows. You laugh, I’m not kidding. Although, I am acquiring a taste for more robust peppers. Thank you for your superior and excellent instructions. I’m vegan and confident I can veganize any recipe you are willing to share. Ciao Rosemary

  33. LizBean says:

    Mmmm…. My fave dish next to enchiladas 😀

    My mom makes it with the chunky ground soy meat though.

    She makes HUGE pots of it and brings it to church potluck. Yes, it ALL gets eaten up 🙂

  34. vavaval says:

    I like idea of this, I’m not a vegetarian, but menudo "meat" if that’s what you can call it, is gross. since I was a kid I only ate the broth and the hominy. With all the toppings of course! I grew up in Whittier, but currently live in Kentucky. I miss the food so I’ve decided to write a cookbook, and your blog is a great source of inspiration for me. (There’s not much mexican influence around here, besides the gardners) Thanks.

  35. edalva says:

    Nice site chavo,
    Down here in Laredo, TX there is a place called La India which serves
    ‘menoodle" its menudo with wide egg noodles insted of tripe. pretty awesome.

  36. Lisa says:

    Thank you sooooo much for this recipe! I am going to make it this weekend! The only two things I truly miss since I became a vegetarian are menudo and tamales. I found great veggies tamales at Whole Foods, but never thought about a veggie menudo alternative. Can’t wait to try it! I grew up on menudo.

  37. LizzyPoo says:

    It just hit me that veggie menudo/posole strikes people as super weird…. My mom’s been a vegetarian for thirty years so I grew up on this stuff without the meat. Just the kernels, spices, and all the side fixins that go on top. I’m so used to it I forgot how people think its absurd not to have meat in it…like what’s the point? I told my bf’s mom how we eat it and her family laughed in my face…. 🙁 Like something is wrong with us :/ Like menudo is okay being only stomach but not only kernels….I think it’s fine either way 🙂

  38. Gina Latina says:

    To you Tamale Veggies… My fave tamale is vegetarian…rajas con queso.

    Rajas are pretty easy to prep after you’ve done it once (very carefully!). Just roast, peel, slice …and they’re superhealth food. If you don’t like the heat though, you may be able to do the milder peppers (anaheim?). The pasilla always makes my mouth water for rajas though, whenever I see it in the store.

  39. Karen Salcido says:

    You are awesome!! I stumbled on this site looking for Vegan Pozole. I am making this as I write. I am a El Monte Chicana, white girl, but love the food my friends all had at their homes. I can’t wait for it to be done. Will give you my thoughts. Of coarse, it will not be like my mother in laws, but I try to Veganize everything and it all comes out pretty darn good.

  40. Lunita says:

    Thank you for posting this! I made a vegetarian menudo recipe this weekend, but yours looks like it has a lot more flavor, so I will try it next time. Although I am a vegetarian now, I used to eat meat as a child but ALWAYS hated the tripas–so much so that I would put it in a little bowl and give it to one of my parents to eat. And for all the people who say you can’t replicate menudo without meat: I’ve had both and in my opinion, it’s just as good without meat as with the meat. My brother-in-law and madrina make awesome vegetarian meudo and pozole.

  41. ricachon says:

    Dear chanfles, NO Mames!!! That dish is more of a “Pozole” recipe!!! Especially with those toppings…I like the idea but it sucks balls….might as well just boil water and add a bottle of Tapatio hot sauce….GUACALAAA!!! Menudo is MENUDO!…it is what it Is…LEFT-OVER COW PARTS THAT OUR ANCESTORS WHERE LEFT WITH AT THE END OF THE DAY…they made a delicious “delicacy” that when its done wrong it taste like what it is…like Shit…but if it gets the care and time MENUDO can be one of the most delightful pleasures in life…I LIKE UR VIEW OF CULTURE COOKING….BUT YOUR RECEPI IS MORE OF A VEGETARIAN POZOLE THAN THAT OF A “menudo”…plz advise…

  42. EL CHAVO! says:

    The difference between menudo and pozole varies by region. This is how I know menudo, with the red chile base. And no, our ancestors didn’t have left over cow parts, that’s an old world import. Besides, the point of this recipe is to provide a non-animal version, adding cow to it would defeat the purpose! 😉

  43. Rosa V says:

    Hi chanfles,

    I was so surprised to see that you live in my area! I live in South El Monte myself but I love my menudo just the way it is but I will definately share your recipe with my friends who are vegetarians. Keep up the good work!

  44. E. S. Carroll says:

    We are Jewish, not vegetarians, but keep a kosher kitchen and pretty much limit our use of meat to Sabbath and holidays–primarily because we enjoy ice cream after our veggie or dairy meals! This sounds delicious and uses foods that are easy to get in kosher versions. Your advice that this dish is forgiving re adjustment to taste and available ingredients also lets us control the sodium content for health. This was my first encounter with your site, and I look forward to exploring it for more yummy ideas. Thank you for publishing.

  45. Maribel says:

    Is that vegetable bouilion that you used? You didn’t specify.
    I’m Chicana and transitioning into becoming a vegetarian so Im glad I came across your site.
    Thanks for the “recipe” lol.

  46. Atma Khalsa says:

    My mom used to make this for us at home when I was a kid, I loved it tripe and all. I love the idea of the fresh chilies because of the flavor they give – so authentic. I have a recipe on my website called Menudo Vegan Style, it’s okay, but I can’t wait to try your recipe. I have a feeling it is going to be much better! Here the recipe I came with for vegan menudo – BYW I’m not a vegan, I’m lacto, but since it was vegan I called it that.

  47. jennifer says:

    hey thanks for showing this i was looking for a recipe of menudo with mushrooms i tasted a while back but this is good enough
    about you comment of your friends saying your not “mexican” enough, well that statement is completely false on all levels
    i learned about this from a lady who dedicates her career on teaching the chicanos that becoming vegetarian / vegan is actually going back to our roots– to the nahuas (aztecs)
    they did not have pork/chicken/cow so what you are doing is going beyond your roots back to the indio side of your blood
    meat is a resource in mexico that is not guaranteed on the dinner table everyday, there are dishes that do not require meat (taquitos de papa, chiles rellenos, caldo de FRIJOLES, lentejas, gorditas, and so on) so tell your friends to learn about their mexican roots because you are the one abiding by your culture !!!!
    thanks for the recipe by the way

  48. Tony says:

    This is great. I added a tbls of cocoa powder and toasted sunflower seeds blended. I did not know cabbage was a must with menudo. I used napa and it was delicious. Sometimes it is scary eating the real thing. This recope kicks it’s butt

  49. Misho says:

    Thanks for posting this great recipe and turning me on to that great vegetarian supply store on Valley. Me and my wife have been vegetarians a little over a year and I was sure missing menudo. The soy is better than the tripe being that it absorbs the chile and spices better. It’s also just as fun to chew. My Bulgarian wife has a traditional dish made from tripe called “shkimbe chorba” that we are going to try next with the soy. I followed your recipe except I used New Mexico red chiles which are my favorite. We washed the menudo down with a couple of Hecho en Mexico Pepsis. total bliss. thanks.

  50. Oak~raider says:

    how many Boullion cubes did you use in your demo?

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