Vegetarian Posole

I can remember my parents making posole for us in Texas when I was in high school. I conducted a very scientifically sound study which revealed that very few people in Colorado (or Boulder, at least) know what hominy and/or posole is. This was rather surprising, considering that Colorado is part of the Southwest, or so I hear. Coloradoans! This one is for you. If you’ve never had hominy, this is a great way to try it. I love the chewy starchiness of the large corn-like kernels, and they pair perfectly with a spicy broth and cool cilantro. My parents always put pork in the posole, so I attempted to recreate that texture element with seitan, which Aaron actually believed was meat upon first inspection. That was certainly not my intention, yet still amusing. I have to thank Heidi from 101 cookbooks for inspiring this recipe – I looked through a bunch of different posole recipes online to get a feel for how to put this soup together, and her recipe sounded the most authentic and flavorful. I think the red sauce in particular is a great way to add depth to the broth.


  • one 8 oz package seitan strips (use tempeh if you want to make this gluten-free)
  • two 30 oz cans hominy/posole
  • 2.5 quarts vegetable broth
  • 2 whole dried new mexico chiles
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • cilantro
  • crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese (substitute with avocado for vegan version)

red sauce:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T minced onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 oz or 1/4 cup new mexico chili powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 T masa harina (or regular flour)
  • juice from half a lime, or one small lime


Start by making the soup, because it will need to cook for a while. In a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large soup pot, cook the chopped onion and crushed garlic over medium heat. After a minute or two, add the oregano, cumin, and the whole dried chiles (stems removed). Heat until the onion is cooked through. Drain and rinse the canned hominy, then add to the pot. Add the vegetable broth and raise the temperature to medium-high. Cover and heat until boiling. Once the soup boils, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about an hour, until the hominy starts to ‘blossom.’

While the soup is cooking, get the sauce going. In a small saucepan, heat 2 T olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced onion and garlic, oregano and cumin, and cook until onion is cooked thoroughly. Add the masa harina and cook for a minute or two. In a separate bowl, whisk together the 1 cup of water and the new mexico chili powder. Add this mixture to the saucepan, and stir well. Bring to a gentle simmer and let simmer while the soup is cooking, stirring frequently. After the sauce thickens, add the lime juice. Also add a teaspoon or two of salt, to taste.

Heat 2 T olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Tear up seitan strips into small pieces, then place into the frying pan. For flavor, sprinkle the strips with salt, pepper, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and cumin. Sautee the strips until they get a little crispy and well browned, as shown.

When the hominy is almost done cooking in the soup, add in the cooked seitan. Then, stir in about 1/2 cup of the red sauce mixture into the soup. Add enough to suit your taste. You may want to add another squeeze of lime juice into the soup pot. Before serving, take out the whole chiles – they will be rehydrated, but you may not feel like eating them. You will also end up with extra red sauce left over – I’ve found that it’s delicious on everything from nachos to eggs. When the soup is ready, serve sprinkled with some crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese, fresh cilantro, and tortilla chips.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. That looks good. I would eat it.


    1. You should have Carlos make it for you. It does seem relatively Caitlin-friendly – no weird vegetables!


  2. Maggie says:

    I just found this recipe! My husband said ” how about posole for dinner” and our usual bean and hominy version is getting old. This will be perfect! It sounds so tasty and all I need is the dry chili. Thank you and I’ll let you know how it goes. Bye from Vista ca ; )


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