Brunch…Colombian Style

Now as I am sure most of you know, as a Colombian I can be biased when it comes to our food. Although quite a lot of it does contain meat & fish, it is so varied that you can easily replace those with a heaping of grains, pulses, and veg alongside fantastic flavours. Now this dish is beloved by thousands in Colombia. It originates in the Andean part of the country and is served at almost every Colombian restaurant. Below is a photo I took of Medellín’s barrios, where you would most definitely find paisas (people from this region) eating this in the morning.

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It is essentially some leftovers and some staples of south american cuisine. Calentado, meaning reheated, is just what it says. Consisting of: arepas with butter or cheese, egg, chorizo, chicharrón, rice & beans, and sausages with a hot chocolate drink on the side. Most Colombians have rice and beans for dinner, so it is not unusual to have leftovers of those. I have decided to make mine with what I had leftover and took out the animal products. A simple rice and kidney bean combo, seasoned fried vegan mince, and pan fried sweet plantains. Absolutely delicious and sure to warm you on a cold morning!

If you want the leftover rice and beans vibe then you can definitely do it the day or two beforehand.

*to make the Arepas you need to have precooked cornmeal. P.A.N. is my favourite and is easily accessible in both the US and UK. If you are near a Las Iguanas restaurant (Manchester people check it out!), they sell it there for super cheap! But whatever kind you can find will work.

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Calentado Vegano!

Serves: 2

Time: varies

Ingredients: Rice & Beans

  • 1 cup cooked wholegrain rice (can cook it yourself or buy microwaveable rice)
  • 1 cup canned red kidney beans
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 sprigs green/spring onions, finely chopped
  • ground cumin
  • paprika
  • saffron/turmeric
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • small handful of chopped coriander/cilantro

Ingredients: Arepas

  • 1/3 cup precooked cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp softened vegan butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • oil

Ingredients: Pan fried Plantains

  • 1 plantain, peeled and into 4 pieces
  • oil

Ingredients: Mince

  • 1 cup vegan/vegetarian mince
  • oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1-2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 small onion, chopped


  1. Get the rice and beans going first as they take the longest. Get two pans out, one for the beans and one for the rice. Get both heated up. Make your rice in one, drain and set aside (or microwave according to directions). In the other pan, add some oil (I use coconut but olive oil works fine) heat it up to medium heat and get it the bottom of the pan nice and glossy. Add the garlic and let cook for about 3-4 minutes, making sure it doesn’t burn. Add in a dash (about 1 tsp) of ground cumin and cook through, about a minute. Throw in the kidney beans, then add in a pinch of paprika and saffron (or turmeric, it is just to add colour and some earthy flavours). Cook this through for about 5-10 minutes. Add in the rice and spring onions, coriander, and salt & pepper. Cook for a further 5-7 minutes. Set aside. FullSizeRender (83)
  2. Reuse one of the other pans from the rice & beans, wipe it out and pop it back on the stove. Add in some oil, and get it hot, about a medium high. Add in the garlic and onions and cook down, for about 5 minutes. Add in the mince and cook for a minute or two. Then add in the spices & seasonings. Cook until a bit crispy and set aside.FullSizeRender (82)
  3. Next step Arepas! Place the water, butter, cornmeal, and salt into a bowl and mix with your hands for about 30 seconds until it is consistency of a paste. Let mixture stand for five minutes.Knead with your hands for about 3 minutes moistening your hands with water as you work. Form 2 small balls with the dough. Place each ball between 2 plastic bags and with a flat pot cover flatten to ¼ inch. Add the butter to a nonstick pan over medium heat. Place the arepas in the pan, and cook about 3 minutes on each side, until a crust forms or they are golden brown.FullSizeRender (84)
  4. Last but not least the sweet portion of this dish and that is the ubiquitous plantain. Seen throughout Latin America & the Caribbean, this versatile relative of a banana is amazing. Simply get a pan onto the stove, crank it up to medium high heat and pop in some oil (I did coconut here). Fry the plantains in oil, turning occasionally, until a golden brown color, about 2 to 4 minutes. Turn the heat down a bit to caramelise and not burn. The longer the plantains fry the sweeter they are. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. FullSizeRender (81)

Now plate it all together, add your favourite breakfast drink (hot chocolate is actually delicious with this!) and relax and enjoy

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