Arepas are a popular vessel for delicious street foods in many different Latin American countries. Traditionally made out of a corn flour (Harina de Maiz) this dish used to take hours upon hours to prepare, painstakingly grinding and boiling the corn meal; but after the invention in the 1950s of the first pre-cooked Harina, arepas became even more popular and attainable for the average home cook that maybe didn’t have a full day to devote to making these delicious corn-based patties.
Despite the fact that it’s made of corn, arepas look and function more like an English Muffin than a corn tortilla. Particularly popular in Venezuela, arepas are often stuffed with fillings such as veggies, cheese, or meat. Inspired by their shape and size, Chef Jeff decided to use his homemade arepas the way we’d use English Muffins- in a delicious Benedict application.
To top our stunning brunch centerpiece, Jeff went with a combination of some savory, filling vegetables that would fill even the most ravenous of carnivores. Our Black Beans were simmered with our incredible Black Bean Burger Seasoning, a blend that’s incredibly rich and earthy and was specifically created to make vegetarian burgers (or their vegetal components) just as delicious and satisfying as their meaty counterparts- but you could use whatever beans you have handy!
Instead of the infamous calorie dense hollandaise sauce which almost always guarantees a necessary post-meal nap, Jeff experimented with making a vegan cheesy sauce that forgoes the almost lethal amount of butter and egg yolks it takes to make Hollandaise. Our base was made with pureed carrots and potatoes, with olive oil being blended in to help make it a velvety and smooth consistency. The secret ingredient in this sauce was the carefully balanced combination of garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper paired with Nutritional Yeast, an ingredient that has rapidly been booming in popularity as a way to insert cheesy and creamy flavor into plant-based dishes that don’t actually contain dairy.
- 2 1/2 Cups Harina De Maiz Blanco (precooked white cornmeal)
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 2 Cups water
- 1 Cup Black beans, cooked
- 1 Tbsp Black Bean Burger Seasoning
- 8oz. Baby Portabello mushrooms, sliced
- 1 Large red onion, sliced thin and caramelized
- 4 Cups baby spinach
- 1/4 Cup Pepitas
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil, divided
- Cilantro, chopped fine *optional
- Ingredients for Cheese Sauce:
- 2 Cups potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 Cup carrots, peeled and diced
- 1/3 Cup Olive oil
- 1/2-3/4 Cup Vegetable broth or water
- 1 Tbsp Lemon juice
- 1/2 Cup Nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp Onion powder
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- In an iron skillet or saute pan over low-medium heat, add 1 Tbsp Olive oil. Place onions in pan and cook until caramelized.
- While onions are caramelizing, make cheese sauce. Steam the potatoes and carrots until fully cooked. Remove from heat and run under cold water until cooled.
- In a food processor or blender, place potatoes and carrots along with the rest of the ingredients for cheese sauce and process until smooth. Pour in bowl, cover, and set aside
- Pour 2 cups water in a large mixing bowl. Add Kosher salt and mix until dissolved. Slowly add the 2 1/2 Cups Harina De Maiz Blanco while mixing. When all the cornmeal is incorporated, form into a ball, cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Heat griddle medium-high, 375F.
- After dough has rested, divide into 10 equal size balls. Form balls into discs 1/2 inch thickness and 3 1/2 inches diameter.
- Place 1 Tbsp olive oil on griddle. Place arepas on the griddle and cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until golden. Keep warm.
- In a small pot over medium, heat beans up and add 1 Tbsp Black Bean Burger Seasoning and mix well.
- Reduce heat to medium on griddle and add mushrooms. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add spinach and cook for another minute. Remove from heat.
- Assemble benedicts. Slice 6 Arepas in half. Place on plate and layer 2 tbsp black beans, spinach-mushroom mixture, caramelized onion and top with 2 Tbsp cheese sauce. Sprinkle on pepitas and garnish with fresh cilantro if desired.