50 minutes
to prep

60 minutes
to cook

6 servings

About this Recipe

Mexican pozole stew has so much to offer, and it takes readily to vegan adaptations. The contrast of big chewy hominy corn kernels, abundant beans and veggies, and a warming chile infused broth is easy to make meatless. Top it with cool and crunchy classic pozole garnishes such as shredded cabbage, radishes, and avocado. It’s the ideal one bowl meal that will drive omnivores and vegans alike wild!

Recipe and photos by: María Muñoz Contrerash


For the Chile Purée:

  • 5 guajillo chiles
  • 3 ancho chiles
  • 2 chile de árbol
  • 1/3 white onion
  • 2 small tomatoes (preferably Roma or other plum tomato) (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (or other pan coating oil)
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

For the Soup:

  • 1 (25 ounces) can hominy, drained & rinsed
  • 1 (8 ounce) package of vegan “chicken”
  • 1 (12 ounce) can pinto beans, drained & rinsed (optional)
  • 1/3 white onion
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or vegan “chicken” broth (consider low sodium broth)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or other sauteing oil)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, and minced
  • salt (to taste)

Garnish / Accoutrement:

  • 1 ½ cups green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup radishes, sliced
  • 1/3 white onion, diced
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
Lao-Style Pho

Step-by-Step Instructions

For the Chile Purée:
  1. Toast the chiles on a lightly oil coated comal or other flat pan, pressing each side, just until fragrant – about a minute. They should soften and blister a bit, but be sure to turn them as necessary to avoid burning them. If you burn them, restart with new chiles. It’s better to skip toasting than to burn the chiles.
  2. Wearing gloves, tear the chiles lengthwise and open flat to remove and discard the stems, seeds, and veins. It’s ok if you don’t get every seed removed. But the more that go into the puree the hotter it will be.
  3. In a heat proof bowl, pour boiling water over the chiles with just enough water to fully cover them. Set aside and let soak for 30 minutes.
  4. Optional: This dish is mild to medium-mild, but if you’re very sensitive to heat adding tomatoes can bring down the heat level even more. If including tomatoes, add a touch of oil to a comal on medium high to high heat and pan sear the tomatoes, using metal tongs to rotate and cook evenly. Sear about 2 minutes until they start to char.
  5. Once done soaking – reserve your soaking liquid – remove chiles and place in a blender. Add tomatoes (if using), garlic, oregano, vinegar and about a scant 1/4 cup of soaking liquid. Blend thoroughly to make a purée. Add additional soaking liquid (a tablespoon or two at a time) as needed. When done should be a smooth paste.
  6. Simmer, over medium-low heat, for 15 minutes as needed to thicken, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. (If included tomatoes, increase cook time from 15 to 20 minutes to thicken appropriately.)
For the Soup:
  1. Warm oil in a large pot. Add onion, saute for about 2 min. Add the garlic and cumin, sauteing 2–3 more minutes until onions are slightly translucent.
  2. Add veggie broth and hominy. Heat to boiling then reduce heat to a simmer, allowing to cook uncovered for 15–20 minutes.
  3. Add chile purée, vegan “chicken”, and beans (if using). Mix well and simmer, uncovered, another 15–20 minutes.
  4. Salt to taste. The broth you use will drastically change how much, if any, salt is needed. I prefer low sodium broth so I can better control how much salt goes in.
  5. Add small amount to bowl and top with cabbage, radishes, onion, oregano, and cilantro as desired. Squeeze a good sized lime wedge over your bowl and enjoy!

If you’d like it can also be topped with crispy tortillas strips, a few tortilla chips, halved tostada shells, or warm tortillas.

Substitution Note:

If you have trouble finding anything of the dried chiles in this recipe, the following are the most acceptable substitutes:

  • guajillo chiles – substitute New Mexico pepper
  • ancho chiles – substitute California pepper
  • chile de árbol – substitute cayenne or piquin
Heat / Spiciness Note:

Medium-Mild (recipe as written): soak chiles with their stems & seeds, removing (at least most of the seeds) before adding chiles to blender. The more seeds that find their way in, the hotter it will be.

Mild: Remove seeds & stems before soaking chiles, still don’t need to include tomatoes.

Very Mild: remove seeds & stems before soaking chiles. Include the tomatoes option. The tomatoes will provide more moisture so the chile paste will need to cook closer to 20 minutes to thicken appropriately.