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Vegan at Hugo’s Tacos, Woodland Hills

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Hugos logo

Hugo’s Tacos is a small restaurant chain that recently opened a location walking distance from our home.  I hadn’t realized the many vegan options that they offered until my husband stopped by one night to pick up something for himself and excitedly called me, asking if I would like to try anything.

The chain’s three locations are in Atwater Village, Studio City, and Woodland Hills.

Their menu and website are both clearly marked for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free preferences.  Almost everything is vegan or can be made vegan, and when you order something with soyrizo, they make sure to ask if you want vegan cheese.

Hugo's Woodland Hills

From the Hugo’s Facebook page

The way their menu works is that diners may choose from tacos, burritos, bowls, tostadas, nachos, quesadillas, tortas, and green tamales, and then choose one of their 7 fillings.  There are 5 meat fillings and 2 vegan ones.  Vegans can choose from soy chorizo, a spicy soy “meat” grilled with diced potatoes and zucchini or mixed veggies and herbs, a mixture of zucchini, squash, cauliflower, corn, potatoes, and onion.  They also have salads which can be topped with any of their fillings or taquitos (either chicken or soy chorizo filling) with served with white beans, lettuce, guacamole, Pico de Gallo, tomatillo and jalapeno salsa with cheese (which you can order to be vegan).

I tried quite a few of their offerings, you know, for the sake of reporting it to you.

Let me start with my two favorites so far.

Hugo's Tacos - Vegan Nachos | A Vegan in Progress

Hugo’s Nachos

Their vegan nachos are delicious.  They came a bit burned around the edges, but not enough to take away from the meal at all.

The vegan cheese was tasty and the white beans were a nice alternative to black beans.

I should mention that Hugo’s has a selection of 7 salsas, only one of which is not vegan.  I tried all six of them and my favorites were the Pico de Gallo and the tomatillo and jalapeno.

I will definitely order this time and time again.

Hugo's Tacos - Vegan Burrito | A Vegan in Progress

Hugo’s Burrito

For this burrito, I ordered the mixed veggies and herbs filling.  It also has Spanish rice, salsa, and white beans.  I will definitely order this again.  It’s a fun alternative to Chipotle’s burrito, being that it tastes a little more authentic and sinful.

Hugo's Tacos - Green Tamales | A Vegan in Progress

Hugo’s Green Tamales

The green tamales come with such plentiful veggie and salsa toppings that you can’t even see the tamales at first glance.  They were tasty and I definitely liked the veggies and salsa, but I’m not very fond of sweet corn tamales, so I think that’s what made this dish third out of the five that I have tried.

Hugo's Tacos - Green Tamales | A Vegan in ProgressLast, on a whim, I tried their vegan quesadilla, cheese only.

Hugo's Tacos - Vegan Quesadilla | A Vegan in Progress

Hugo’s Vegan Quesadilla

Vegan cheese is kind of temperamental and doesn’t always melt like regular cheese does.  In the case of my quesadilla, the cheese was hardly melted, but was at least warm.  Salsa helped.  It wasn’t horrible, but I probably won’t order it again because there are better choices.

Not pictured is their soy chorizo taquitos.  They aren’t very pretty and are a little dry, but that could be because I was ordering pretty late.  The guacamole added some needed moisture.

My main complaint about Hugo’s is that their food tends to be a bit bland.  Their tomatillo and jalapeno salsa saves the day, though, and adds spice and flavor to everything.  Their restaurants are great places for dual dining.

Vegan Recipe – Chorizo and Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole

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This recipe of the week comes from The Vegan Slow Cooker: Simply Set It and Go with 150 Recipes for Intensely Flavorful, Fuss-Free Fare Everyone (Vegan or Not!) Will Devour, which I have been slowly working my way through.  I have been meaning to post it for the last week, but I went back and forth about whether or not I should post a photo.  The recipe makes a great mid-week meal, but it is by no means an impressive one that you should make for company.  Simply said, it comes out looking sloppy.  I am not even posting photos of it because I don’t want to discourage anyone from trying it.  It was a really tasty meal and made for great leftovers, so give it a try.

I really liked the soy chorizo, which reminded me of a spicy ground meat.  Also worth noting, we used two sweet potatoes instead of the one listed in the recipe.  I had never cooked with sweet potatoes before.  I know, I was in a serious rut before becoming vegan!  Anyway, I didn’t know that there were many types of sweet potatoes (including purple ones!), so I accidentally bought “dry-fleshed” sweet potatoes.  The dry-fleshed sweet potatoes are white on the inside, firmer, and less sweet.  I thought the recipe worked well with this type of potato, but I’m sure it would be very good with a sweeter, orange “moist-fleshed” potato, although you may only want to use one due to the sweetness.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium-size sweet potato, thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 cups enchilada sauce
  • 1 package (11 oz) corn tortillas
  • ½ package (12 oz) soy chorizo
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

** You can use crumbled tofu in place of the chorizo if you want a gluten-free version.  Use beans instead to make it a soy-free dish.

THE NIGHT BEFORE:
Store the sliced sweet potato in an airtight container in the fridge. (You could also just slice it in the morning as your first step.)

IN THE MORNING:
1.  Oil the crock of your slow cooker (or use a liner) and pour one-fourth of the sauce over the bottom.
2.  Cover the sauce with a single layer of tortillas and top with one-third of the chorizo, one-third of the sweet potatoes, and one-third of the black beans.  Top with another one-fourth of the sauce.
3.  Repeat the layering (starting with the tortillas) two more times, cover with a final layer of corn tortillas, and spread the remaining sauce on top.
4.  Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, or on high for 2 to 3 hours.  If your slow cooker runs hot, pour on a little extra sauce to keep it from drying out.

At first bite we thought that the dish was very dry.  We each topped our servings with some salsa (Eric preferred tomatillo and I used traditional) and the dish became really tasty and spicy.  The next day I took leftovers to work and tossed a pinch of Daiya pepperjack cheese on top about 30 seconds before the end of the microwave cycle.  I enjoyed the extra cheesy-ness, but it was great without it as well.