Ceviche is one of our Latin staple foods and has as many variations as countries in Latin America. Have you tried a Vegan Ceviche recipe yet? You will be surprised how close the delicious flavor is to the raw fish-based one.
🤔 What is a ceviche (cebiche)?
Ceviche has its origins in Latin America. The most widely known version is Peruvian, but the reality is that Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Colombia, and other Central American countries also have long-standing versions. We all have our traditional varieties.
Ceviche is a seafood dish traditionally made of diced cubes of raw fish cooked in lime juice (or lemon juice), red onion, and fresh cilantro. It makes a great appetizer as the citrus juice, and the intense flavors are the perfect gluten-free starters for a delicious meal.
As you explore ceviche’s versions, you’ll see that the variations come from the kind of onion used, the type of fish or seafood, the addition of hot chili peppers, the use of herbs like cilantro, and even garnishing it with sweet potatoes and/or corn.
It is the perfect summer season appetizer!
So, the million dollars question: How to make a vegetable ceviche without fish?
We are making a vegan alternative that will change your look at ceviche.
This vegan recipe changes the fish component of the ceviche and replaces it with three kinds of vegetables:
- Cucumbers: Add a refreshing crunch and a light, watery texture that balances out the flavors of the ceviche.
- Radishes: Provide a crisp, peppery bite that complements the tanginess of the lime juice and adds an extra layer of texture. Psst! They are at peak season in May!
- Fresh Limes: Serve as the base of the marinade for the ceviche, providing a bright, acidic flavor that "cooks" the raw vegetables and vegan protein.
- Cilantro: Add a fresh, herbaceous note that balances the sour and savory flavors in the ceviche, adding depth.
- Zucchini: Add a soft and tender texture, which soaks up the marinade flavors while providing a mild, earthy flavor.
- Onions: Provide a sharp, spicy flavor that adds depth to the dish and helps balance the sweetness of any additional ingredients.
- Optional Sweet Potatoes: Add sweetness and a soft texture, providing a nice contrast to the crunchiness of the other ingredients.
- Toasted Corn Kernels: Add a nutty flavor and crunchy texture, which serve as a complementary topping that provides added crunch to the dish.
You need to add the must-have ingredients for this plant-based recipe: lime and onions because the vegetables will “cook” in lime juice.
We have chosen the ingredients to make it close to the most popular version (the traditional Peruvian ceviche), thus making a vegetarian Peruvian ceviche.
Finally, top it with your choice of garnishes, such as sweet potato, fresh cilantro leaves, and fried, toasted, or boiled corn kernels.
This is already a free version of ceviche, so please add or take any veggies that you consider appropriate. These three are my favorite mix; I have made it for years.
I learned how to make the basic veggie ceviche recipe while I lived in Argentina. My Panamanian Yogi friend Jermaine (also the founder of Ayurveda Lifestyle), who grew on the Coast Side in Colón, showed me how they made this veggie ceviche while not even trying to make a vegan version.
A vegan version traditionally existed in his province. I was immediately surprised by how close the veggie version was to the fish version, and at that time, I was still eating fish.
I realized that most of the flavor in ceviche came from the “cooking” method. Soaking produce in lime juice and onions.
From that moment, I included it in my kitchen as an option when craving ceviche and didn’t have access to fresh fish. Now, of course, it is my go-to version.
Prepare your veggies
Thinly slice the red onion. If you have a mandolin, use it, but it is not essential.
Rub the onion slices with ½ tablespoon salt and rinse in cold water.
In medium-sized pieces, chop and thinly slice the cucumber, radish, zucchini, and any other vegetable you choose.
Finely chop the fresh cilantro.
Juice your citrus
Juice the limes or lemons.
Place the cucumbers, radishes, zucchini, half of the chopped cilantro leaves, and hot peppers (optional) in a large mixing bowl and pour the lime juice over the ingredients.
Sprinkle with salt. To minimize the acidity of the limes, you can add a couple of ice cubes.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1-2 hours.
If garnishing with sweet potato, cut it in half and put them to boil or steam.
Taste veggies and add additional salt if needed.
We like to serve this vegan ceviche recipe on a serving plate in individual small bowls. Top the ceviche with the remaining freshly chopped cilantro.
Make sure you serve it with salted crackers, lettuce cups, tortilla chips, or nachos. You need something to scoop the goodness! 🙂
Of course, this is a re-interpretation of the popular side dish, so there are no rights or wrongs here, feel free to change and adjust. Here are a couple of suggestions we have tried and think go perfectly well when you need to change or replace ingredients you might not have handy or available in your grocery store.
This recipe uses red onions, but white or yellow onions work well.
You can use garbanzo beans or black beans instead.
You can replace zucchini with hearts of palms, a widely known option for making a vegetarian ceviche recipe, which is quite a popular version; our version includes some garbanzo beans for extra protein.
You can choose orange bell pepper if you are not into spicy food.
You can go for avocado if you want something silky, soft, and delicious. Mexican ceviche is almost always served with avocado. And who doesn't love avocado? We all know it goes great with lime juice and onion, as in a perfect traditional guacamole recipe.
If you can't find cilantro, don't worry. Many people don't appreciate it anyway, but if you live in Central America or Colombia, you might discover Culantro, also known as cimarron, replacing cilantro in this recipe. Otherwise, some chopped parsley can be a good addition, although the flavor profile is not close.
Cauliflower also makes a great addition to any vegan ceviche; it pairs well and tastes delicious.
🥢 How to serve
We like serving our ceviche with crackers, baked tortilla chips, patacones, or little flour baskets.
Although fried tortilla chips are more popular, we find baked chips work much better.
You can use lettuce cups; simply rip some small-sized lettuce leaves, which will be great and make everything less messy while eating.
Store your leftover ceviche using an airtight container or plastic wrap, and consume it within two days.
This vegan ceviche recipe is not freezer-friendly! The texture of the veggies would be affected.
🇵🇪 More about ceviche
Ceviche in Latin America
As you can imagine, having so many variables, you can have many different results. For example, in Latin America, we share many of our heritage foods, so it is widespread to see this phenomenon in many staple dishes such as tamales, arepas, tostones (patacones), etc.
Each culture adds its touch based on the produce cultivated and local fish. And usually, nobody fights over the dishes’ origins. So, any discussion on that topic would be controversial and useless.
There is a close cousin to ceviche: the Tiradito.
Ceviche and tiradito
What is the difference? It is about the same as everything described above, seafood cuts cooked in lime. The only difference is how the main ingredients are cut and the use of onions.
Tiraditos were born not long ago, and the origins are debated between the Japanese immigrants and their technique to cut fish and the Genovese immigrants and their carpaccio slicing method.
Tiradito is a finely sliced fish cut and cooked with lime with no onions.
So, why am I introducing you to Tiraditos anyway?
Because our Vegan Ceviche is a mix of the ceviche and the Tiradito techniques, using lime as the common ground.
We take both the slicing style from the Tiraditos, the onions from the ceviche, and the lime-cooked method. Voilà!
Leche de Tigre (tiger’s milk)
The leftover juice of the ceviche is known as Leche de Tigre (Tiger’s Milk). It is usually served in a small glass and is believed to cure a hangover and have aphrodisiac effects (hence its name).
This drink is sometimes served in restaurants and the ceviche and taken with pisco or a beer.
It is called Leche de Tigre; when consumed as an aphrodisiac, this drink is supposed to unleash the inner tiger of a man in bed.
I suppose it is because it traditionally comes from seafood (which supposedly enhances libido). But, of course, it is not the case in this vegetarian ceviche recipe. So we drink it anyway as it is equally delicious and packed with one of the most potent antioxidants, Vitamin C.
Leche de Tigre usually has the color of lime juice. Here you see a pinkish color coming from the dyeing of radishes.
Indulge in our delectable Spicy Koren Cucumber Salad and the marinated mushroom salad, a quick and flavorful delight that will leave you craving more. Prepare it in minutes and experience the burst of fresh, irresistible flavors. Don't let this delicious opportunity pass you by!
📚 More Latinamerican Vegetarian recipes
If you love zucchini dishes, give this Lebanese-style stuffed zucchini a try; you will love them. We also use them to make lemony zucchini risotto and yellow Thai curry; they are perfect because they can absorb tons of flavor.
⭐ If you try this recipe, let us know! 💬 Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag us @ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Vegan Ceviche Recipe - Peruvian Style
- 5 red radishes small, thinly sliced
- 1 white onion thinly sliced (julienne)
- 15 limes juiced
- 1 cucumber peeled and sliced
- 1 zucchini thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 Chili spicy, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Thinly slice the onions (white and/or red). If you have a mandolin, this is an excellent time to use it, but it is not essential.
- Rub the onion slices with ½ tablespoon of salt and rinse in cold water.
- Juice the limes.
- Thinly slice the radishes ,cucumber ,and zucchini.
- Place the cucumbers, radishes, and zucchini, half of the chopped cilantro leaves, and hot peppers (optional) in a glass bowl and pour the lime juice over the ingredients. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt. To minimize the acidity of the limes, you can add a couple of ice cubes.
- Cover and refrigerate for about 1-2 hours.
- If garnishing with sweet potato, cut it in half put them to boil, or steam.
- Taste any veggies and add additional salt if needed.
- Top with the remaining freshly chopped cilantro.
- Serve immediately with your choice of sides and garnishes.
🌡️ Food safety
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with a high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
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