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Vegan Pozole

This vegan pozole is incredibly flavorful, full of fresh and wholesome ingredients, making this Mexican soup both healthy and delicious! It's also surprisingly quick to prepare so you can enjoy this soup even on busy nights!
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If anyone tells you they don’t like Mexican food, would you even believe them? It would be hard, wouldn’t it? Mexican food is a world favorite! Simple, fresh, and wholesome ingredients turned into the most delicious recipes.

I’m sure many famous recipes come to mind when we think about this amazing cuisine, but soup is not necessarily one of them, right? Well, I’m sure once you try this new recipe, it won’t be easily forgotten. It’s a spicy vegan pozole full of flavorful and fresh ingredients.

This recipe from the 30-Minute Vegan Dinners cookbook carries all those signature Mexican flavors we love like tomatoes (what would Mexican food be without those intense red and sweet tomatoes!), poblano peppers, chilies, kidney beans, cilantro and, of course, avocado. I promise you this soup has it all! The sweet, the spicy, the fresh, and the creaminess. Are you excited to try this vegan pozole yet? I know I am!

A bowl of garnished vegan pozole with cilantro and tortilla strips on the sides.

What Is Pozole?

Pozole, pronounced po-so-lay, is a Mexican soup or stew made with hominy and typically meat in a white, red or green broth, known as pozole blanco, pozole rojo and pozole verde, respectively. To make it vegan, it’s easy to substitute the meat with beans. In this vegan pozole we’re using kidney beans.

Pozole is garnished with a variety of fresh toppings including shredded cabbage or lettuce, sliced radishes, red onion, garlic, chile peppers, limes, and cilantro. You won’t want to leave out toppings, they’re what makes this dish fresh and delicious with lots of texture and flavor!

A bowl of vegan pozole. The front bowl is ungarnished and the back bowl is garnished.

What Is Hominy?

It’s quite possible you’ve never heard of hominy. Well, you can learn something new every day, right? Hominy is basically whole dried kernels of corn that have been soaked in a special alkaline solution. This soaking not only enhances the corn nutritional value but it also makes it easier to digest as the skin gets loose (this is what they do to before grinding the corn to make those yummy tortillas later!)

So how do you cook it? Well, the cooking process is very similar to beans. You soak them overnight (with a mix of water and calcium hydroxide) and then cook them for a few hours or less if you do cook them in a pressure cooker. But I’m sure you’ll be very happy to know that you really don’t have to go through this and you can jump ahead and buy the ones in a can and ready to cook with! Pheew, right?

Don’t have hominy or can’t find it anywhere? No worries! You can use 1 cup of frozen corn and 1 can of chickpeas instead! It will taste amazing!

When Is The Best Time To Enjoy Pozole?

We usually associate soup with fall and winter, with cold days and cozying up inside, right? Well, this soup is a bit different. It’s one of those soups that can be enjoyed any time of the year. Is there such a thing as a summer soup? Well, if there isn’t then this pozole could be it!

Ok, I get that in a hot summer day no one wants to be indoors cooking up a steamy hot soup, but this recipe will be worth the effort. First of all, it only takes 30 minutes so don’t stress over the idea of having to stand and stir for a long period of time. It will be quick and easy!

If you wanna skip the steaming and the deseeding of the peppers you could use some store bought ones and save yourself even more time! Wanna make it even quicker? Buy some packaged baked tortilla chips and crumble them on top instead of frying your own.

Ready? Take notes!

Key Ingredients

A top-down shot of ingredients for a vegan pozole recipe.
  • Hominy: These puffy corn kernels are the star of the show—you can’t have pozole without it! Look for canned hominy which is ready to add to the pozole without any prep. Can’t find hominy? See the notes in the recipe card at the bottom of this post for an easy swap!
  • Poblano Peppers: Mild chili peppers from Puebla, Mexico add a lot of flavor to this vegan pozole.
  • Green Chiles: Diced green chiles are easy to find canned. Milder than their red counterparts, green chiles add a subtle level of heat that provides tons of flavor in this simple soup!
  • Dried Oregano: You probably already have this hiding in your spice rack but if you want to make this soup even more authentic you can get Mexican oregano. While Italian oregano has a more minty, peppery undertone, Mexican oregano has more floral and citrus notes.
  • Kidney Beans: Pozole usually has pork but we’re making this vegan style by adding kidney beans instead. They are the perfect amount of plant-based protein to make this soup filling enough to be a meal on its own!

Topping Suggestions

When it comes to pozole, it’s all about the toppings! You don’t need to have all of these but the more options the better!

  • Fresh cilantro—It’s the perfect herb to pair with vegan pozole!
  • Avocados—Sliced or dice, avocados add a lovely creaminess to this soup.
  • Radish and shredded cabbage—Both add a fresh crunchy texture. Include at least one as a topping option!
  • Corn tortillas—You can toast and slice into strips or use tortilla chips.
  • Limes—Don’t leave these out of the toppings, limes add that fresh, citrus flavor to balance out the heat.

How To Make This Vegan Pozole

Here’s a quick step-by-step tutorial to show the process of making this vegan pozole. It may seem like a lot of steps but it’s really just adding everything to one pot and letting it simmer. You can also find these steps in the printable recipe card below.

Peppers in various stages of being chopped on a wooden cutting board.

1. Start by removing the stem and seeds from the peppers and cut into 1-inch pieces.

A prep shot of vegan pozole in a white bowl.

2. Heat the oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat and add the onions and peppers.

A prep shot of vegan pozole in a white bowl.
Vegan pozole in a white bowl in the prep stage with a bay leaf on top.

3. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, flour, and chili powder and stir well to combine.

Add the cumin, oregano, bay leaf, cayenne, and salt and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.

A bowl of vegan pozole being prepped in a white bowl with a bay leaf on top.

4. Add the tomato paste, chiles, and 1 cup of broth to the pot to dissolve the tomato paste. Stir well to combine. Then add the kidney beans, hominy, and remaining broth. Reduce the heat to medium and bring the soup to a rolling boil for 10 minutes or so, or until the peppers have softened. Taste then add another pinch of salt and cayenne, if desired.

A ladle of vegan pozole being held over a white bowl.

5. While it’s simmering, prep your toppings. Chop the cilantro and avocados. Slice the radishes and cabbage. Cut the tortillas into thin strips. Toast the tortilla strips in a small oiled pan over medium-high heat until crispy and golden brown.

A corn tortilla in a white skillet.

6. When the vegan pozole is ready, remove the bay leaf and serve with avocado, cilantro, radish, cabbage, tortillas strips, and a squeeze of fresh lime. 

How to Store

Leftover pozole is best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Store toppings separately.

For longer storage, allow to cool to room temperature, then place in a freezer-safe container, with a little space left at the top for expansion. Freeze for up to three months.

To reheat, allow vegan pozole to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat by stovetop or microwave. For stovetop, heat over medium-low until heated through. For microwave, use a microwave safe bowl, cover with a paper towel and reheat for 2-3 minutes until heated through, stirring every 30-60 seconds.

Serving Suggestions

This vegan pozole is great on its own but can but served alongside many dishes to make it a hearty meal!

Serve it with a side of this Vegan Mexican Rice or these easy Vegan Crock Pot Refried Beans. Don’t have a slow cooker? Try this Instant Pot Refried Beans version.

If you’re feeling extra hungry, serve it with these Vegan Cheese Quesadillas, Vegan Mollete with Chickpea Chorizo, or some Jackfruit “Pulled Pork” Tostadas.

More Vegan Mexican Favorites

Spicy Mexican Pozole (Vegan Pozole)

Author: Megan Sadd
5 from 10 votes
The next time you’re sick and need a warm, comforting soup, give this quick pozole recipe a try! It’s a spicy Mexican soup made with hominy—delightfully plump, chewy corn kernels that have a mild nutty flavor. Hominy is sold in most grocery stores, but if you aren’t able to find it see Fresh Tips! below.
A bowl of vegan pozole with avocado, a lime wedge, radishes, and tortilla strips.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, avocado oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, or rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • teaspoon ground cumin
  • teaspoon dried oregano, Mexican if you can find it
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne, optional, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 4-ounce can green chiles
  • 1 15-ounce can red kidney beans
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, vegan chicken broth if possible
  • 1 25-ounce can hominy

For Serving

  • handful of cilantro
  • 2 avocados
  • 2-3 radishes
  • Purple cabbage
  • 2-3 corn tortillas
  • 2 limes

Instructions

  • Stem and seed the peppers and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces.
  • Put the oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and peppers to the pot. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, flour, and chili powder. Stir well to combine and then add the cumin, oregano, bay leaf, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Open the tomato paste and chiles. Drain and rinse the kidney beans. Add the tomato paste, chiles, and 1 cup (240 ml) of broth to the pot to dissolve the tomato paste. Drain the hominy.
  • Stir well and then add the kidney beans, hominy, and remaining broth. Reduce the heat to medium and bring the soup to a rolling boil for 10 minutes or so, or until the peppers have softened. Taste then add another pinch of salt and cayenne, if desired.
  • Chop the cilantro and avocados. Slice the radishes and cabbage. Cut the tortillas into thin strips. Remove the bay leaf.
  • Toast the tortilla strips in a small oiled pan over medium-high heat until crispy and golden brown. Serve the pozole with avocado, cilantro, radish, cabbage, tortillas strips, and a squeeze of fresh lime. 

Notes

FRESH TIPS!
  • This soup is on the spicy side! Omit the cayenne if you prefer mild spice.
  • If you don’t want to make your own tortillas strips, which I highly recommend, you can also break up a few tortilla chips.
  • Swap 1 cup of frozen corn and 1 can of chickpeas for hominy if needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 621kcal | Carbohydrates: 88g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Sodium: 1560mg | Potassium: 1488mg | Fiber: 27g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 2008IU | Vitamin C: 86mg | Calcium: 146mg | Iron: 8mg
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword corn, hominy, Mexican soup, pozole, vegan pozole

The “30-Minute Vegan Meals” Cookbook!

This book is such a great addition to your vegan cookbook shelf! Full of delicious and quick (obviously! 30 minutes or less!) recipes that are golden for those weekdays when you don’t have time to think about what to make and even less time to prepare it. Still, the recipes have fun twists and use super fun ingredients so you won’t be bored with another simple recipe of vegan mac & cheese!

Megan Saad, the author, is a passionate chef and photographer behind the resourceful blog “Carrots & Flowers” which also has a great facebook page full of dynamic recipe videos aiming to inspire those who feel overwhelmed by cooking vegan meals from scratch.

Megan has made it her mission to help others transition into the plant-based lifestyle with ease and success. Go grab your copy of her book “30-minute vegan meals” here!

Vegan pozole recipe reprinted with permission from 30-Minute Vegan Dinners by Megan Sadd, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019. Article written by Beatriz Buono-Core and edited by Rachel Lessenden. Photos by Amanda McGillicuddy for World of Vegan, all rights reserved.

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Recipe Rating




11 comments
  1. 5 stars
    I love all the fresh flavors in this pozole! Very nice recipe – thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    You’re so right, who wouldn’t love Mexican food? It’s one of my favourites. I’ve not heard of hominy before and I love finding out about new ingredients, so thank you for that. Also love these kinds of hearty beany soups. Just need to track down some hominy now.

  3. 5 stars
    So incredibly soothing and tasty all in one! Loved it!

  4. 5 stars
    I’m a huge fan of pozole and love love love this vegan pozole recipe so I can now make it at home!

  5. I have never tried this before but it definitely looks delicious

  6. Beatriz Buono-Core says:

    5 stars
    For a Mexican food lover like me, this Pozole soup is an absolute dream! It’s been a part of my soup menu for a while now and we all love it!

  7. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner and it was amazing!

  8. 5 stars
    What an exciting recipe! I’ve never heard of this type of soup before and, being a soup lover, I couldn’t wait to try it. I love the rich, tomato-y flavor, the spices are perfect and I’m a huge fan of kidney beans. Overall, such a unique and delicious soup. My first time trying hominy, too. I think I like it 😀

  9. 5 stars
    Pozole is one of my favorites!! I always order it at my local Mexican restaurant—they have an amazing vegan pozole but I’m glad now I can also make my own!

  10. 5 stars
    This looks SO appetizing! I definitely did not know what hominy was until now! Can’t wait to add it to my usual ingredient list!

  11. 5 stars
    Pozole is one of those recipes that always seemed slightly intimidating but this recipe makes it seem so easy! I love hominy so I’ll have to put this in my soup rotation :-).