Registered Dietitian Luisa Sabogal, joins the Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month celebration by sharing better-for-you, plant-based updates to traditional Latin American breakfast, lunch and dessert dishes. Some Latinos and Latinas tend to consume high saturated fat foods and forget about the risk of common health conditions in the community, like high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.

According to a 2015 study conducted by the American Heart Association, 49.3 percent of Hispanics had high cholesterol levels and were not aware, while those who were aware, only 29.5 percent received treatment. The researchers also revealed that high cholesterol was more common among men than women, 44 percent versus 40.5 percent. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also informed in 2019 that Hispanic/Latino Americans are more likely to have type 2 diabetes (17%) than non-Hispanic whites (8%).

Based on the data, Sabogal wants to use her knowledge to create a healthier world; Therefore, she shared with Latin Times three plant-based recipes using products from Califia Farms. 

3 Plant-Based Traditional Latin American Foods 

  • Black Bean Tacos – Black beans make a hearty, plant-based taco filling. You can make your cashew sour cream (using cashews that have been soaked overnight blended with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, and garlic) for a creamy topping.

Black Bean Tacos Black beans make a hearty, plant-based taco filling. Courtesy

Ingredients

¼ C white onion, chopped

1 C beans, drained

½ tsp Califia Plant Butter with Avocado Oil

1/8 tsp ground cumin

1 Tbsp cilantro

½ lemon juice, medium-size lemon

Directions:

1. In a medium pan over low heat, warm the butter. Add chopped onions and cumin.  Cook and mix well until onions are well cooked-translucent in color.

2. Add the garlic and continue to stir. After 1 minute, add drained beans, stir and cook for 5-10 minutes covered. Use a potato masher or the back of a fork to mash beans to desired consistency. 

3. Turn off the heat, add 1 tbsp chopped cilantro and fresh lemon juice, and stir to mix well. 

RD Tip: Instead of “frying” beans, cook beans with Califia Farms Plant-Based Butter with Avocado Oil and mash with a fork. Using plant-based butter is a great way to reduce the intake of saturated fat and cholesterol while still adding flavor.

  • Calentado (rice and beans) with hogao (sautéed tomato, onion, and garlic stew) – a Colombian, Puerto Rican, and Costa Rican breakfast or lunch that is typically made with chorizo. You can make it vegetarian with a mix of tomatoes, onions, and garlic.

Calentado Calentado is a Colombian, Puerto Rican, and Costa Rican breakfast or lunch that is typically made with chorizo. Courtesy

Ingredients:

For hogao

1 C fresh tomatoes, chopped

½ C scallions, chopped

1 small garlic clove, pressed

¼ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp Califia Farms Plant Butter with Avocado Oil

Salt to taste

For calentado

½ brown rice, cooked

1 C beans, cooked

Directions:

Make tomato stew by heating butter in a pan and add the tomatoes, scallions, garlic, and ground cumin. Mix well and cook for 10 minutes covered.

Add salt and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring until the sauce has thickened. Remove sauce from heat.

Add cooked beans and rice to a separate pan, mix well and warm them up.

Serve cooked beans and rice on a plate, and accompany with tomato mixture, oven-baked plantains, and avocado slices for a balanced, tasty, and nutritious meal.

RD Tip: Swapping out meat for veggies makes this a heart-healthy meal because it reduces saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium intake, and increases fiber intake. 

  • Arroz con Leche (rice pudding) – a popular Latin American dessert traditionally made with condensed milk. Replace condensed milk with creamy, dairy-free oat milk.

Arroz con Leche Popular Latin American dessert traditionally made with condensed milk. Courtesy

Ingredients:

• ½ C short grain rice

• 2  cinnamon sticks

• 2 C Califia Oatmilk 

• 1 Tbsp coconut sugar

• Optional: ground cinnamon and raisins

Directions:

1. In a pot, combine oat milk, cinnamon sticks, and rice. Bring milk to a simmer and simmer slowly for ~10 minutes. 

2. Remove cinnamon sticks, add coconut sugar and simmer for ~10 minutes, and stir often to prevent the rice from sticking to the pot

3. Remove from the heat, add the raisins and extra cinnamon, and let it cool. It will thicken as it cools.

RD Tip: Choose unsweetened oat milk, like Califia Farms Oatmilk, for a dessert with less saturated fat and sugar and no cholesterol.