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My favorite breakfast dish of all time, by far, is chilaquiles. The best thing about them is that not everyone makes them the same. Most restaurants will have the default red chilaquiles, but even then, there are many different preparations. Some have a heavier tomato base, some have more dried chili. Then there’s places that will have multiple choices: red, green, mole negro, pipian. If you live in an area with lots of Mexican food options, I highly recommend exploring them and find your favorites. My vegan chilaquiles recipe here is a red salsa macha chilaquil topped with cilantro, shallots, and tofu cotija.
I like to think of salsa macha as the Mexican version of chili crisp. If you’re unfamiliar with salsa macha it’s a blend of dried chilies, nuts, and seeds fried and blended with oil. For the sauce on these vegan chilaquiles, I start by matching a salsa macha and then blending it with onion and a few roasted tomatoes.
The tofu ‘cotija’ recipe is a simple favorite that I learned in culinary school and have been making ever since. It calls for a high protein tofu, olive oil, and umeboshi vinegar. Umeboshi vinegar – a Japanese vinegar made from plums – may not be in your pantry yet, but it’s a great one to have around, I promise. The taste is very bright, salty, sour, and a bit fruity; here it gives the tofu a ‘cheese like’ taste. You can find it at Whole Foods, or a Japanese market if you live near one. If all else fails, you can substitute apple cider vinegar.
Now, let’s talk about chips. I have to point out the importance of using a quality chip for your vegan chilaquiles. You can never go wrong with the house-made tortilla chips sold at your local Mexican market; keep in mind that some will be saltier than others, so be sure to taste and account for that, lest it throw off the balance when married with the sauce. You can also fry your own chips with old tortillas. But please, please stay away from any bags of tortilla chips from the chip aisle. They’re fragile and always over-salted, and it’s not worth it.
More Related Recipes to Try Next:
Jicama Tostada with Avocado, Guajillo, and Hibiscus
Pipian Mole Pumpkin Enchiladas
- Set an oven rack as close as possible to your broiler and heat to the broiler’s high setting. Spread the tomatoes and onions on a sheet tray and place on the prepared rack. If this isn’t an option for you, place them in a pan on the stove over medium heat and keep turning constantly until they char, about five minutes or so on each side.
- In a frying pan, heat up 1/4 cup of the oil and pan fry the chilies and garlic in batches on a medium heat. When frying the chilies, make sure to keep an eye on them, as they tend to burn quickly if your heat is too high. Pull them as soon as the guajillios and ancho chilis turn a deep red.
- In a high-powered blender, add the chilies, the oil used to fry them, the roasted tomato and onions, the remaining oil, and the rest of the sauce ingredients. Blend on high. Start by adding a tablespoon of salt and decide from there if it needs more. (This is where to keep the salt level of your chips in mind.)
- Transfer the sauce from the blender to a sauce pot and warm up for five minutes on a medium heat. Stir frequently to prevent it from burning at the bottom of the pot.
- As the sauce is warming up, crumble the tofu in a bowl with your hands and add the salt, vinegar, oil and set aside.
- In a larger bowl add your chips, top with a ladle of sauce, and mix with tongs. Make sure to add enough sauce to coat all of the chips (about half a cup per serving).
- Plate your chilaquiles and top it off with chopped cilantro, shallots, and tofu cotija.