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Vegan Venezuelan Arepas

Vegan Venezuelan Arepas are easy to make, filling and absolutely delicious. Serve with spicy vegan jackfruit filling or black beans for a yummy meal.
Author: Pavani
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Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Course: Main Course, sandwich
Cuisine: South American, Venezuelan
Servings: 4 Servings

Ingredients

For Jackfruit filling:

  • 1 20 oz. Can of Jackfruit
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 Small Onion, finely chopped
  • 2~3 Garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 Medium Poblano Chili, roasted and finely chopped*
  • cup Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • ¼ cup Cilantro, chopped
  • To taste Salt & Pepper

For Black Bean Filling:

  • 2 tsp Oil
  • 1 Small Onion, finely chopped
  • 1~2 Garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 Medium Tomato, finely chopped
  • 2 cups Cooked Black beans
  • ½ tsp Ground Cumin
  • ½ tsp Chili powder
  • ½~1 cup Water
  • To taste Salt & Pepper

For Venezuelan Arepas:

  • 2 cups Venezuelan or Colombian style masa harina flour
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 2~2½ cups Warm Water, more if needed
  • As needed Oil, for cooking the arepa

Instructions

Make the Jackfruit Filling:

  • Rinse the jackfruit well, drain and shred the pieces with a fork into strands.
  • Heat 1tbsp oil in a heavy bottom pan, add the shredded jackfruit and cook till it is browned, stirring frequently. Remove onto a plate.
  • In the same pan, heat the remaining 1tbsp of oil and add onion, garlic and cook till they are lightly browned around the edges.
  • Add the roasted poblano and vegetable stock - scrape the bottom to remove the brown bits.
  • Add the browned jackfruit back into the pan along with the bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 15~20 minutes.
  • Jackfruit will be completely tender and would have absorbed all of the flavors.

Make Black Bean Filling:

  • Heat oil in a saucepan, add onion and garlic and cook till the onions turn translucent.
  • Add the tomato and cook till mushy, about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the black beans, cumin, red chili powder, salt, pepper and water. Mix well and simmer for 5~8 minutes or until nice and thick.

Make Arepas:

  • Combine precooked PAN cornmeal with salt in a large bowl.
  • Make a well in the center and add warm water to form a soft dough. Use your fingers to remove any lumps.. You want a smooth and soft pliable dough. Add more water, if the dough seems too stiff.
  • Divide the dough into 6 equal portions and roll them into balls.
  • Flatten the ball on your palm by gently patting it out. The resulting disc should be approximately 3.5"~4" wide and 1" thick.
  • Gently place the 2~3 discs on a preheated, lightly greased skillet. Cook them for about 8~10 minutes on medium high until a crust is formed. Gently flip and cook for another 8~10 minutes.
  • Transfer the arepas onto a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 12~15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until cooked through and golden on both sides.
  • Arepas are ready to be sliced and filled.

Notes

  • Make the fillings up to 2~3 days in advance. Keep them chilled in airtight containers and bring them to room temperature before serving. Warm in the microwave before filling.
  • In the Jackfruit filling - I used roasted hatch chili salsa instead of the roasted poblano. 
  • Arepas are best served hot or keep them warm by loosely wrapping in foil. Reheat them on a hot skillet or warm them briefly in a microwave.
  • Colombian Arepas are made with the same dough but they are made into a 5~6" wide disks that are ½" thick. Cook them on a preheated skillet until the crust firms up. There is no need to bake them.