Eddie Garza’s New Mexican Food Cookbook Adds a Vegan Twist to Classic Dishes
For Eddie Garza, the kitchen has always been his happy place. Growing up, he spent countless hours making Mexican cuisine with his grandmother. “I’ve been cooking as long as I can remember,” he says.
And though the years of culinary experience gave him a great love and appreciation for food, it also led to an unhealthy lifestyle. He was overweight as a child and hit 300-plus pounds as an adult music teacher.
All of that changed, however, when he met a fellow teacher who inspired him to make more conscious choices — for his own health, for the environment, and for animals too. Eventually, he decided to get into the culinary world and began working at a famous vegan eatery: the Spiral Diner in Dallas and Fort Worth.
From there, he launched a career as a plant-based chef and TV personality. Now he’s the senior manager of Food & Nutrition for the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), as well as a cookbook author. His latest book, ¡Salud! Vegan Mexican Cookbook, offers an array of Mexican favorites, all 100 percent veganized. It will hit shelves (and Amazon) this Thursday, December 15.
So who’s the target audience for the new book? “I think I see it as anybody who loves Mexican food, which, honestly, that’s the whole world,” he laughs.
Veganizing Mexican food really isn’t a stretch, Garza explains. Originally, the region’s cuisine was primarily plant-based — until outside influences were introduced, that is. Cheese, for example, was brought over by Belgian immigrants, and meat was rare until the Spanish arrived.
Garza’s concoctions incorporate both old-school meals (many of which were originally vegan) and revamped versions of more modern favorites. The book offers 150 recipes, including spicy eggplant barbacoa tacos; classic chile relleno; chicken-style enchiladas with green mole sauce; and horchata Mexicana. “I wanted to show we can still go back to our plant-based roots and enjoy all the flavors we love, from Mesoamerican to modern Mexican,” he explains.