The holidays can be tough, especially when you’re making an effort to eat healthier. The good news is, you can actually prepare healthier versions of your favorite Noche Buena dishes to share with your family and friends. Here are three vegan versions of popular Filipino Noche Buena staples you can prepare for Christmas Eve.
Cashew Fruit Salad
Bring color to your Noche Buena table with a vegan-ized version of a favorite Filipino dessert: fruit salad!
What you’ll need:
- 5 to 6 cups of various fresh fruits (pineapple, grapes, apple, etc.)
- 1.5 cups of cashew*
- 1 ¼ cup of purified water
- Pinch of sea salt
- Juice of ¼ lemon
- 2 tbsp. sweetener (optional)
- Coconut milk (optional)
* You can opt to use roasted cashews if you’re pressed for time. If you prefer to use raw cashews, be sure to soak them first in water for six hours, drain, and rinse.
- Add the cashews, purified water, lemon juice, and a pinch of sea salt in a blender or food processor. Blend until creamy.
- Add water to thin the mixture out or add coconut milk to make it creamier. You can add your favorite sweetener if you prefer.
- Slice your fruits to bite-sized pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Pour the cashew cream mixture. Mix well.
- Transfer to a serving plate or bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Best served chilled.
Vegan Arroz Caldo
This Vegan Arroz Caldo version by Michelle’s Tiny Kitchen is cooked the same way as Chicken Arroz Caldo but with a few substitutions. Instead of using chicken and chicken broth, you’ll be using shiitake mushroom, tofu, and vegetable broth.
What you’ll need:
- 10 cups vegetable broth or water
- Vegetable boullion/cube
- 1 cup rice
- 1 onion
- ¼ cup garlic
- 1 to 2 tbsp. ginger
- Soy sauce
- Green onion
- Calamansi (optional)
- Fried garlic, chopped green onions, cooked shiitake mushrooms (optional for garnish)
- Sauté onions, garlic, and ginger in a pan. Saute until fragrant.
- Add vegetable boullion/cube and 10 cups of vegetable broth (can be homemade or store-bought).
- Season with soy sauce and adjust according to taste preference.
- Bring to a boil and add the uncooked rice.
- Cover and lower the heat. Stir often to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom. Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Serve hot. Add calamansi juice and garnish with fried garlic bits, green onions, fried tofu, and shiitake mushroom if preferred.
The Pinoy Spaghetti is a staple in the Filipino Noche Buena. It’s easy to make and everybody loves it.
What you’ll need:
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 cup yellow onion
- 1 cup celery sticks
- 1 cup carrots
- ½ cup red bell pepper
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tbsp. pickle relish
- ¼ cup sugar syrup
- 3 to 4 tbsp. soy sauce
- ¼ cup non-dairy milk
- 4 cups tomato sauce
- 12 oz. or 340 gm. of extra-firm tofu
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- ¾ lbs. or 450 gm. of spaghetti noodles
- Freeze tofu overnight or at least 4 hours. Thaw in the refrigerator and crumble using your hands. Fry in a pan over high heat and set aside.
- Put the yellow onion, celery sticks, carrots, and red bell pepper in a food processor and pulse until minced.
- Saute the garlic in the same pan used for the tofu. Fry until golden brown.
- Add the minced vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Saute for three to five minutes.
- Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, pickle relish, soy sauce, and non-dairy milk and mix well. Cover and simmer for five minutes.
- Stir often so the sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom.
- Add the fried tofu and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Simmer for five more minutes but stir often.
- Cook spaghetti noodles, according to package instructions. Transfer noodles to serving plate and pour spaghetti sauce over noodles.
What Filipino dishes would you like to see vegan-ized? Sound off in the comments below!