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Vegetarian Posole

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Vegetarian Posole

Vegetarian Posole
New Media Publishing / Photography: Flat Art / Stylist: Abigail Donnelly
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total prep
Posole is typically made with pork and chicken, here is a hearty, satisfying alternative, full of vegetables, soft beans and chewy hominy. The secret is a good, flavorful broth, which gets its distinctive taste from lime juice, salsa verde (you can buy small cans of this green salsa in the Mexican food section of any supermarket), and a tied bundle of cilantro stems (use cooking twine or, in a pinch, unflavored unwaxed dental floss). Taste the broth as you go along. At first, it will seem acidic from the salsa and lime, but once the corn, hominy and beans are added, the flavor with smooth out. Little pieces of corn-on-the-cob in each bowl give this soup a festive look, and the cob adds its own unique taste. Use a big knife, a lot of leverage, and caution to cut up the cobs. The finished soup is enhanced by a variety of garnishes: crumbled cheese, cilantro leaves, fresh crunchy cabbage and, best of all, pumpkin seeds that are roasted, then finished with salt and lime.


  • 1 heaping tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1/3 teaspoon dried oregano, or 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 pasilla chile, seeded, deveined and minced, optional
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 3 tablespoons green salsa
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves separated, stems tied tightly
  • 1 large can hominy, about 29 ounces, yellow or white or a mixture
  • 2 ears corn on the cob, cut into 1 1/2-inch sections
  • 2 zucchini squash, cut in 1-inch rounds
  • 1 medium potato, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pimenton or ground chipotle chile, optional, to taste
  • cotija or feta cheese
  • Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with Lime (*see recipe below)
  • 1/4 head cabbage, shredded
  • cilantro leaves


  • * Pumpkin Seeds with Lime

    In a dry frying pan, toast cumin seeds over medium heat until they are more golden-brown than green. Grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to a powder.
  • In a soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions, oregano, and pasilla chile and stir until onions and chile are soft and beginning to brown. Add one heaping teaspoon of ground cumin and stir, cooking for a few moments.
  • Add vegetable stock to onion mixture, then lime juice, green salsa, and cilantro stems. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, while you cut vegetables, about ten minutes. Taste and add more cumin, if desired.
  • Add hominy, corn on the cob pieces, zucchini and potato to pot and simmer. When potatoes are almost soft, add pinto beans.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and cumin. To add smokiness without much heat, add sweet smoked Spanish pimenton. For smokiness with more heat, add a dash--not to much--of dried chipotle chile and/or rooster sauce.
  • Prepare garnishes: small communal bowls of crumbled cotija or feta cheese, roasted pumpkin seeds (see recipe below), shredded cabbage, and cilantro leaves.
  • Serve soup in large bowls.