Advertisement

Comic: An illustrator reconnects to her roots through vegan Chilean recipes

illustration of an empanada sliced in half and a chile flag toothpick
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times )
Share
1

As first-generation American-Latinos, it can be hard to stay connected with the food of your homeland. This is especially true for Fabiola Lara, a Chilean American illustrator, podcaster and YouTuber who arrived in the U.S. at only 7 months old. Between the distance to South America and the lack of Chilean eateries in the Northeast, Lara realized that she hadn’t had traditional Chilean breads in at least a decade — also due to her veganism. We asked Lara, who is based in Philadelphia, to share her experience re-discovering her roots through vegan Chilean YouTube recipes, in illustrations.

"growing up, I always felt very disconnected from chile" map of florida and chile
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times )

"But I was able to connect with my culture through food. at the only two chilean restaurants in miami at the time, mind you."
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times )

Advertisement

"Until I went vegetarian (and eventually vegan) at 16." "I'll just eat pizza and fries, thats what americans eat!"
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times )

"Then the only thing I had to feel chilean was gone." "Omg, I really want an empanada right now!"
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times )

"so during the pandemic I decided to veganize my favorites... with the help of my "friends" on youtube."
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times )

First up" dobladitas, which are folded breads that were my favorite as a kid." "gold exterior, slightly underbaked interior."
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times )

Then Hallullas, another style of classic country bread." "dense + bouncy crumb, gold + soft exterior."
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times )

Advertisement

"and finally the iconic empanadas de pino, a chilean baked beef empanada"
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times )

"which were a huge undertaking over two days. vegan ground beef, hard-boiled eggs, diced onion, black olives..."
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times )

"Now I can eat my vegan breads and empanadas and feel like a total Chilean... no matter what my dietary restrictions."
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times )

Want to learn how to make these classic Chilean dishes? Here are three videos from creators on YouTube who Fabiola Lara swears by:

Chilean Dobladitas:
“This is my favorite recipe for dobladitas, which is a Chilean bread that’s folded twice to create four folds. These folds make for a bread with a slightly underbaked inside and golden exterior. This is a great bread for breakfast or tea time. If you’re interested in veganizing this recipe, just replace the butter with vegan butter and swap the egg wash for a 1:1 mixture of coconut oil and vegan plant milk.”

Advertisement

Chilean Hallulas:
“This is another traditional Chilean country bread that has a dense crumb and golden exterior. This style of bread is commonly eaten on its own or used in a variety of sandwiches, unlike the dobladita. For this recipe, just remember to use a vegan butter/margarine instead of a dairy margarine.”

Chilean Empanadas de Pino:
“This is the most ambitious recipe of them all to veganize, but simply use your favorite vegan ‘ground beef’ such as Beyond Meat or Impossible Burger Grounds for the base of the filling. Once you’re assembling your empanada, you can omit the hard-boiled egg or try to make one out of tofu — if you dare. Fill the empanada as instructed and once again swap out the egg wash for a 1:1 coconut oil and plant milk combination. Follow this video for a really good breakdown of the process.”

Fabiola Lara is a first-generation Chilean American illustrator, podcaster and YouTuber based in Philadelphia. “With my work, I love to document quotidian life through colorful and seemingly undone illustrations. I also host a podcast titled ‘Draws in Spanish,’ where I interview notable Latinx visual artists and designers about their cultural identity and artwork, in order to increase Latinx representation in the arts and media.”

Advertisement