These vegan arepas will immediately gain a place in your heart and kitchen. Easy to make and filled with Marinated Grilled Tofu, Caramelized Onions, and Creamy Vegan Sauce.
🧐 Arepas in Latin America
Maize tortillas constitute a staple of our Latin American cuisine. You can find tortillas in different shapes, colors, and flavors, as there are more than twelve thousand types of corn.
These Vegetarian Arepas are soft on the inside, crispy on the inside, and filled with the rewarding filling of Marinated Grilled Tofu and a Creamy Pesto-Like sauce that you cannot miss. We even offer professional wine pairing recommendations at the end!
In the South (Colombia and Venezuela), people call these corn shapes Arepas. From Panama and up to Mexico, we call them tortillas. Venezuelan Arepas are the sandwiches of South America, as you can eat them with whatever filling you think makes a great combination.
We both share a love for Arepas. Joaquin tried them for the first time, thanks to his Colombian roommates back in Buenos Aires.
I am from Panama, where we have our version made out of yellow corn (called Tortillas de Maiz). Panama, Colombia, and Venezuela are neighboring countries.
Subsequently, we eat Venezuelan and Colombian arepas quite regularly.
This recipe is the Venezuelan version which works better for filling them with whatever you can think of.
The Colombian and Panamanian versions are thinner and work better to have a bite as you munch them with something else, like french fries.
🧾 Arepa ingredients
- White maize flour
See quantities and complete instructions in the recipe card.
Arepa filling ideas
We always try adding some protein, something fresh, like a tabbouleh salad, and something to round things up, something creamy, like cheese or caramelized onions.
Our favorite arepa fillings are
- Marinated Tofu and the air fryer tofu nuggets
- Creamy vegan sauce; alternatively, use a carrot greens chimichurri, or our cilantro chimichurri sauce, for an even sharper flavor.
- Caramelized Onions
- Fresh arugula
- Lemon to top
But you can think of anything you would put in a sandwich because arepas are simply white corn sandwiches.
More great arepas filling options are vegan cheddar cheese, vegan ricotta cheese, gouda cheese, grilled asparagus, roasted butternut squash, roasted vegetables, falafels, chickpea hamburgers, roasted peppers hummus, or vegan tuna salad.
Arepas are versatile, naturally vegan, and welcome every stuffing you can imagine. We have tried a myriad of combinations.
Step 1: Prepare the creamy vegan sauce, by simply mixing everything using a food processor. This sauce is similar to a vegan arugula pesto, which, by the way, also pairs beautifully with these arepas. Optionally, add some arugula and caramelized onions for an extra flavor kick.
Step 2: we suggest you have arepas with this grilled marinated tofu; find the recipe in our how to prepare tofu post.
Step 3: Mix the pre-cooked cornmeal, water, and salt in a bowl. Knead for 2 minutes and let it rest for another 5 minutes.
Divide the dough into four balls and flatten them with your hands until you get discs of about three inches. Shape the discs to resemble a flying saucer, pressing more on the edges and less on your palm’s souls.
Hint: at this time, you can make any additions to your area dough like cooked rice, herbs, or shredded vegan cheese. Check the expert tips for details.
Step 4: Cook them on a grill on medium heat for five minutes on each side.
Step 5: Optionally Caramelise some onions with the Same Tofu Marinade.
Step 6: Once you've got the Vegan Arepas Grilled and Ready, you just cut them halfway and start filling them with some arugula, grilled tofu, and creamy vegan sauce.
This combination is magnificent!
💡 Expert Tips
Cheese Kneading: Elevate your arepas by adding vegan soft crumbly cheese to the dough during the kneading process. This gives a delightful cheesy flavor throughout every bite, and the trick is to fold the dough over the cheese multiple times to evenly distribute it without overworking the dough.
Gooey Center: For a surprise cheesy core, encase a good amount of vegan cheese inside the arepa balls just before flattening them. Ensure the cheese is well-sealed within the dough to prevent it from oozing out during cooking. This results in a gloriously gooey center that oozes with every cut into the arepa.
Rice Remix: Don't toss that leftover rice! Mix yesterday's rice into your arepa dough for an interesting twist on texture. It adds a slight chewiness and is a clever way to reduce food waste. Just make sure the rice is thoroughly mashed and well-integrated to maintain the dough's structure.
Sweet Potato Arepas: Swap out some masarepa flour with mashed sweet potato or pumpkin pure for a subtly sweet, nutrient-rich twist. The sweet potato lends moisture and vibrant color, making your arepas tastier and packed with vitamins.
Herb-Infused Arepas: Mix finely chopped cilantro or parsley into the dough for an aromatic kick. The herbs will perfume the arepas with fresh, earthy notes and turn a simple dish into a fragrant delight. You can also use dry thyme or oregano.
Bean-Puree Arepas: Blend cooked black beans into a puree and incorporate it into your arepa dough for added protein and fiber. This variation is especially satisfying and pairs beautifully with a tangy slaw or salsa.
🌽 White Corn or Maize as a Nutrient
Corn is a good source of many vitamins and minerals, and it is an excellent carbohydrate option for people with gluten intolerance.
📚 More Latin American Recipes
Dive into our minimalist yet indulgent take on the cherished Latin American dessert with our 3-ingredient rice pudding, crafted to perfection using plant-based ingredients.
Explore the dual charm of Plátanos en Tentación, our sweet culinary creation that effortlessly doubles as both a dessert and a side dish.
Experience the timeless allure of Baked Green Plantains, our wholesome interpretation of the iconic Patacones or Tostones.
🥪 More vegan sandwiches
Try our vegan tuna salad with chickpeas, a classic.
Learn how to make crispy falafels wraps.
Try this Vegan Egg salad sandwich made with protein-rich tofu and cauliflower.
See how to make the most fantastic chickpea vegan burger, a great recipe for meal prepping.
Let us know if you try this recipe and the suggested area fillings! Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag a photo #ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
- 2 cups white maize flour corn meal, pre-cooked
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- Creamy Vegan Sauce
- Marinated Grilled Tofu
- 1 bunch arugula
- ½ red onion sautéed
- 1 pinch red chilly if you like to make it spicy
- Make the Marinated Grilled Tofu Recipe.
- Make the 5-Minutes Creamy Sauce for Everything in the Notes.
- Divide the dough into four balls and flatten them with your hands until you get discs of about three inches. Shape the discs, so they resemble a flying saucer, pressing more on the edges and less on your palm’s souls.
- Cook them on a grill on medium heat for five minutes on each side.
- Meanwhile cut the red onions and sauté with one teaspoon of cooking oil and optionally adding the remaining juice of the grilled tofu marinade (should have some ginger, garlic, and soy sauce).
- When the arepas are ready, cut them carefully on one side, without cutting them all the way through, and stuff the arepas with the sauce, the sautéed onions, arugula, and tofu chunks.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
Please note that some of the links here are affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I recommend all of the products listed because they are companies I have found helpful and trustworthy.