Arepas with Vegan Veggie Filling

Recipe courtesy of Russ and Paola

Photo by: Laura Arnold

Laura Arnold

This vegan take on arepas is perfect for any meal of the day. The dough can be made and shaped in advance, making it “great for meal prep,” as Russ and Pao like to say. Here the corn cakes are prepared with a delicious vegan veggie filling that Pao created herself, but they are also good on their own or as an accompaniment for caldo con huevos (broth with eggs), another of the couple’s favorite dishes from Pao’s home country. Watch the couple make it and scroll down for the full recipe!

Russ and Paola's Vegan Arepas 03:47

Pao recreates one of her favorite dishes from growing up, but with a vegan twist.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Active Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ease of preparation: Easy


  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 cups precooked corn flour (or masarepa), such as P.A.N.
  • 1 cup shredded vegan mozzarella
  • Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 pound frozen plant-based meat
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 scallions, chopped, or 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 4 slices vegan smoked gouda
  • 1 ripe avocado, mashed
  • Himalayan sea salt


For the arepas: Add the warm water, corn flour and vegan mozzarella to a large bowl and season with salt. Mix with your hands to combine until a dough forms. Allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes.

Form the dough into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick disks (about six) using plastic wrap. Cover and set aside until ready to cook (see Cook’s Note).

Heat the coconut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the arepas and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and set aside until ready to serve.

For the filling: Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the plant-based meat and cook, stirring frequently, until warmed through and browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the turmeric and scallions and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened and the flavors are combined, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook to heat through, about 1 minute more. Season with salt. Set aside and keep warm.

In a small bowl, mash the avocado gently using a fork. Season with salt.

To serve, slice the arepas open and stuff each one with a slice of vegan gouda, then add the filling and guacamole, dividing evenly.

Cook’s Note: The arepa dough disks can be made ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature for three hours or refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days before cooking.

Note: A viewer or guest of the show, who may not be a professional cook, provided this recipe. It has not been tested for home use.

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