Given the many cultural and culinary influences on the Philippines throughout history, Filipino cuisine is eclectic and can be difficult to succinctly describe. Traditional dishes range from meat- and seafood-heavy entrées reminiscent of Spanish cuisine to more fruit and vegetable centered options featuring the fresh produce available on the Philippines’ tropical islands.
As a second-generation Filipino American — and a vegan — I’ve been revisiting some of the dishes I grew up with and exploring some new recipes too. The exciting challenge has been taking foods traditionally made with meat, dairy, and eggs and creating delicious vegan versions that stay true to their original flavors. Here are my top four favorite Filipino recipes – veganized.
Pancit: When I think of Filipino food, I immediately think of Pancit. It is the classic Filipino noodle dish. Often featuring chicken and sometimes pork or sausage, these proteins were easy to swap out with vegan versions. Key elements of Pancit are the salty and sour flavors common in Filipino cuisine – in this case from soy sauce and fresh lemon – and also the use of Filipino “Excellent” brand noodles. Get this recipe for Pancit.
Picadillo (pictured above): Picadillo is a dish commonly found in Latin America as well as in the Philippines. The Filipino version traditionally includes ground beef, tomato, and potatoes and is served over rice. In this vegan version, we substituted Tofurky’s ground Chorizo and my family didn’t even know the difference! Get this recipe for Picadillo.
Adobo: Adobo is another staple Filipino dish – typically made with chicken cooked in a vinegar-based sauce. As with many Filipino dishes, Adobo is commonly served over steamed rice. My recipe simply switches the chicken out for a vegan version. Get this recipe for Adobo.
Bibingka: This rich cake gets its texture by using fine rice flour and coconut milk in the batter. Normally calling for eggs and butter, I switched these ingredients with vegan substitutes. I also added a little turmeric to maintain the traditional “eggy” color of Bibingka (pictured here on the right). Impress your friends by dishing out some traditional Filipino dessert. Get this recipe for Bibingka.