The Mayan culture was not a vegetarian culture, but it was an agricultural society that grew due to its well planned and developed agricultural farming techniques. In contemporary Mayan society there are some indigenous recipes that are vegetarian and in most cases vegan that can provide you with a sense of this ancient civilization.
Chaya – Mayan greens that are packed with nutrition
Chaya is like spinach, it is a large green leaf that goes like a bush and has been used for centuries as a staple in Mayan cooking. It can be cooked like spinach or used in juices or tacos as a compliment. Its medicinal qualities are what have made this a popular food that being that it helps the digestive system. It is one of those Wonder foods that should be experienced while on vacation in Tulum.
We have two favorite ways to eat Chaya. The first is pan fried with garlic and bit of chile and olive oil as a side vegetable or used as a filling for tacos! The second is blended in a juice. The most popular chaya juice we know is a combination of chaya, lime, orange and pineapple blended with a bit of honey and ice. This is a great start to any morning!
Ha’Si-Kil Pac – Mayan dip for veggies or sandwiches
We obtained this recipe from a local Mayan family and love it! We have yet to find it in a restaurant but the flavors are great. This Mayan recipe is a dip like a hummus and we like to dip in with fresh veggies, lettuce leaves or corn tortillas.
Chop 4 tomatoes, on small chile, one onion and a bit of cilantro. Put into a bowl or you can put this into a food processor. It is a preference of chunky verses smooth so you make the decision. Add ½ lb of pumpkin seed paste (put your pumpkin seeds in a food processor and blend until a paste) juice of one sour orange (you can use a sweet orange if you prefer) and ½ tsp of salt. Mix or blend all ingredients and you have a great dip for sandwiches, fresh veggies or lettuce leaf tacos!
Most of the best Mayan recipes are meat based recipes. The slow cooking process of meats with spices, sour orange and chiles makes Mayan food very flavorful. But vegetarians or vegans can also enjoy the flavors of the Mayan culture with these recipes being a great start.
Favorite Mayan Recipe from the Riviera Maya
Do you have a favorite Mayan recipe or food that is vegetarian? Share with us all as we love to discover more Mayan options for the kitchen. Post the recipe on your Facebook page so everyone can share!