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Easy Vegan Mexican Mix

Easy Vegan Mexican Mix

Joyce Marner


  • ½ cup dry bulgur (for a gluten-free option, use 2 cups of cooked brown rice)

  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder or more, depending on desired spiciness

  • 1 tablespoon of parsley flakes

  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder

  • 2 tablespoon of liquid smoke

  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (1½ cups)

  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1½ cups of frozen corn, thawed

  • A 16- or 24-ounce jar of your favorite salsa


In a large, heat-proof bowl, combine the bulgur wheat, chili powder, parsley flakes and garlic powder.

Bring 1½ cups of water to a boil and add the liquid smoke and stir. Pour the smoke water onto the bulgur-and-seasoning mixture, stir and let sit until the water's been absorbed, or for approximately 10 minutes. The bulgur wheat will swell to almost 2 cups volume.

Add the garbanzo beans, corn, black beans, salsa and stir. Give it a taste to see if it needs additional seasoning, but if you like your salsa, your filling should be perfect. No cooking is necessary.

That’s all there is to it. Put a serving of your filling onto a whole wheat wrap or a corn tortilla for a gluten-free option. Dress with lettuce, black olives, chopped red pepper (oops, there’s a chop, but not much and it makes it look beautiful) and serve.

I often don’t use a wrap and just microwave a bowlful. It’s great with tortilla chips this way. If you want some cheese with this dish and you are feeling adventuresome, there are many good brands of vegan mozzarella, cheddar or pepper jack. My favorite is Earth Grown Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds, which is carried by Aldi, but the Daiya brand is available everywhere. Other favorites are Violife and So Delicious.


I’ve already had a suggestion to add cornbread batter to the top and bake it in the oven for a dinner casserole.

More from the author:

The mission of the Vegan Community of Eastern Iowa is to promote the joy and compassion of a vegan lifestyle. We have a Facebook group of over 450 strong —people who want to know about vegan cooking, resources, education and activism. During non-pandemic times, about 30 of us would meet monthly to share food and fellowship at "plantlucks." Most of us desire to be vegan for one of three reasons: personal health, environmental health and being kind to animals. Personal health is always at the top of my New Year’s resolutions, and this periodic recipe column by VCEI folks can help us all work toward feeling and being healthier in 2021.

In a New Year's Eve comic strip, Garfield wonders what the new year will bring. Jon says, “I just found a great new tofu recipe!” Garfield moans: “Bring back the old year!” I don’t think anyone wants to turn the clock back to 2020, no matter how they feel about tofu. Seriously, I love the stuff, but there’s tons of delicious recipes with nary a hint of tofu. My personal goal in cooking is to make food easy and fast — ok, healthy, too. Here’s to the start of 2021 with this easy Mexican dish.

There are times when I can zone out chopping veggies for soup while watching Netflix in the kitchen. Other times, I can’t even look at an onion much less chop it. So this is my easiest, tastiest kind of Mexican meal ever. The bulgur wheat has a nice, chewy texture that replaces the ground meat in the original recipe. It is so good that I have served it to non-vegans and they've actually requested the recipe.

This makes a lot — enough for six people — and the leftovers are freezable. There are no exotic ingredients involved. Bulgur is cracked wheat that has been cooked and then dried, so it is easy to rehydrate. Bob’s Red Mill packages it in bags in most of our grocery stores. If you want to make this dish without gluten, I suggest brown rice equal to about 2 cups cooked volume.

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