Lots of bold New Mexico flavor in a healthy, vegetarian posole recipe! Vegetarian Pumpkin Posole features roasted fresh pumpkin, Hatch green chile, posole (hominy), and black beans in one warm and wonderful bowl of goodness! Garnish it with pepitas, avocado, lime, cilantro, and crema, and you won't miss "the meat!" I promise.
I find myself fundamentally aligned with a vegetarian position in every way but one: however selectively, I eat meat.~~ Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Vegetarian Posole Inspiration
I love vegetarian cooking! I enjoy the process of perusing fresh, seasonal ingredients, and discovering new ways to feature them. What I tend to avoid, however, is attempting to imitate a meat dish.
My cousin Jonny asked me a few weeks back to provide him with a new "cousin Tami" recipe. He had recently made the switch from vegetarian to vegan, and enjoys cooking. Avoiding dairy is difficult for this dairy-loving girl, so my task became a bit more of a challenge.
Winter squash - butternut, acorn, spaghetti, pumpkin to name a few - are available in abundance this time of year. The Natural Grocer had some beautiful sugar pumpkins. I haven't used pumpkin in savory preparations, so the thought of developing a vegan main dish using this ingredient was intriguing. I purchased a pumpkin that weighed about 4 pounds, and put on my "thinking cap."
Jonny recently re-located from New York to his native California. I know he loves Mexican and southwest flavors, so that is the direction I headed with my pumpkin. I have a freezer full of Hatch green chile, and I keep posole and both canned and dried black beans on hand as well. I decided on this Vegetarian Pumpkin Posole.
🌽 What is Posole?
Posole is both an ingredient (aka hominy), and a dish, and that makes things a little confusing. In this recipe, it is both an ingredient and a dish, like my red chile posole. As an ingredient, it is nixtamalized corn, a process that changes the taste and texture of the corn. As a dish, this one is vegetarian or vegan (omit dairy), and combines the posole/hominy with black beans, pumpkin (or other winter squash), and a flavorful broth, with green chile.
I prefer the taste and texture of frozen posole (hominy) to canned. It is less starchy, and firmer to the bite. It requires 45-60 minutes to cook frozen posole, but the extra time is worth it. You can easily find canned hominy, but dried posole will probably require a trip to a Latin foods market.
📋 Ingredients for Vegetarian Pumpkin Posole
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- posole - I prefer frozen and cooked but you can use canned as well. Be sure to rinse and drain to remove the starchy liquid.
- pumpkin - Pumpkin is typically only available for a very short time (October). This recipe is equally delicious with butternut squash or other winter squash.
- olive oil
- ground cumin
- Mexican oregano
- good vegetable stock - Good vegetable stock can make (or break) this dish. I am a fan of this vegan stock and this vegan stock. I have used both in this vegetarian posole recipe. I recommend this commercial vegan stock, and this one if you don't want to make it. If animal products are not an issue, use chicken broth.
- cooked black beans - Whether you like to cook dried beans, or used canned, you need to start with cooked beans!
- Hatch green chile - I'm a cheerleader for Hatch green chile, but not everyone can get them fresh and freeze them. Substitute frozen or canned green chile. You can also roast poblanos or Anaheims, peel, seed, and dice them!
🎃 Breaking Down Pumpkin and Other Winter Squash
The most difficult part of this recipe is breaking down the pumpkin. It is quite similar to breaking down butternut squash. In fact, you can use butternut squash in place of the pumpkin if you wish.
I slice the pumpkin in half from top to bottom through the stem. I then scooped all the seeds and fiber from its center. Next, I cut into manageable wedges - about 8. I cut off any stem and blossom end. Using a sharp vegetable peeler, I removed all the skin. Lastly, I cubed the squash in pieces about ¾" in size. Once this step is done, the rest is pretty simple!
After the pumpkin is cubed, toss with a bit of olive oil, and spread out on a sheet pan. Roast until the edges begin to brown, and pieces are tender - about 20-30 minutes.
FYI: Breaking down pumpkin is irritating. Admittedly, I don't love it. This video may help (I'll make one myself someday!).
Keep in mind you have other options. Any winter squash is a great option - butternut being the most common. Sweet potato is awesome as well!
- Prepare the pumpkin - Preheat the oven. Break down and cube the pumpkin (winter squash or sweet potato). ½" to ¾" cubes are about right!
- Roast the pumpkin - Roast the pumpkin until barely tender when pierced with a fork, and some edges are browned. Do not overcook!
- Start the posole - Sauté the aromatics - onion, garlic, and ground cumin - in a bit of oil until fragrant. Add the vegetable broth and Mexican oregano. Bring to a simmer.
- Finish the posole - Add the roasted pumpkin, black beans, posole/hominy, and Hatch (or other) green chile. Simmer about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.
- To serve - Break down and cube the pumpkin (winter squash or sweet potato). Roast the pumpkin until tender and some edges are browned.
Start by placing your frozen posole in a stock pot or dutch oven, and cover with water to 2" above the level of the posole. Add a tablespoon of salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to keep the posole at a simmer while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
If you're a fan of the Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker), you will save time. I find 30 minutes in the pressure cooker gets it to al dente perfection, and you can do this while you prep the pumpkin or other winter squash!
Alternatively, you can find dried posole and use much the same process as with frozen posole, though the cooking time is longer. Follow directions on the package.
You can make this recipe with canned black beans and hominy, and substitute commercially cubed butternut squash for the pumpkin.
Up to 5 days in the refrigerator and up to 3 months in the freezer.
Use good stock. I make vegetable broth, and it is loaded with flavor. You can find many good quality commercially prepared vegetable stocks as well. My Instant Pot Umami Vegetable Broth is a great option!
If you decide to use canned hominy, please rinse it thoroughly before using to remove the excess starch!
On a Side Note... (Rabbit Chasing)
Are you curious about my opening quote? I am a literature buff, and Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors. She and I share our food philosophy.
When she wrote Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, she and her family had moved from the Tucson area to the family farm in the Appalachians. They relied on the farm and neighboring community for all of their food. She tells the story with grace and humor, and explains well the ecological importance of eating locally, and knowing where your food comes from. Her philosophy is my philosophy.
I do enjoy meat, but I identify with the vegetarian lifestyle. One key to feeling satisfied with a vegetarian variation of a classic dish is to try to dissociate the classic, meat-based version of the dish from the vegetarian dish... look at it in a new way.
My young adult kids were skeptical, given the fact that traditional New Mexican pork-laden posole is a favorite dish. I suggested they try to enjoy the flavors rather than focusing on the "missing" meat. Guess what? They all really liked it!
Have you considered reducing your carbon footprint by incorporating occasional vegetarian meals into your diet? If you haven't, this Vegetarian Pumpkin Posole might convince you!
Have you tried pumpkin in savory applications, or is it reserved for sweets? Or, is breaking down a fresh pumpkin way too much trouble? I'd love to hear your thoughts on fresh pumpkins!
Vegetarian Pumpkin Posole
- 5 cups frozen posole - such as Bueno
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 1 small pumpkin - stem, skin, seeds, and fiber removed and then cubed*
- 2 tablespoons olive oil - divided use
- 1 medium onion - chopped
- 1 tsp. minced garlic - about 3 cloves
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tbsp. Mexican oregano
- 8 cups good vegetable stock
- 4 cups black beans**
- 1 cup Hatch green chile - diced***
- salt and pepper to taste
- roasted and salted pepitas
- avocados - sliced
- cilantro - coarsely chopped
- white or green onion - chopped
- lime wedges
- crema**** - optional
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees (350 on convection roast)
- Add posole to a large soup pot or dutch oven. Cover with water to 2" above the posole. Add salt, place pot on high heat until it boils. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer on low heat until posole is al dente (barely tender) - about 45-50 minutes. Drain, and set aside.
- While posole cooks, prepare squash. See the post for additional information. Cubes may range from ½-1" in size. Toss with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread out on a baking sheet. Roast until edges begin to brown and squash is tender but not soft. Set aside.
- In soup pot or dutch oven (the one used to boil posole is fine provided it is now empty and dry), add remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is transparent. Add ground cumin and Mexican oregano. Stir another minute or so until fragrant.
- Add vegetable stock to the pot, followed by posole, pumpkin (or other squash), black beans, and green chile. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover. Simmer 15 minutes to allow flavors to combine.
- Ladle posole into large soup bowls. Garnish as desired. Enjoy!
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.