Brazil’s favorite dish, feijoada, is pretty gnarly.
It’s originally Portuguese, and means something like “bean stew,” but that’s an incredible understatement. Along with a hearty base of beans, onions and garlic, it typically features a whole slew of pork offcuts — things like pig ears, feet, stomach and even tail. It's a black, gloopy and pungent stew that Brazilians traditionally cook on Fridays and Saturdays.
Many visitors to Rio de Janeiro for the Summer Olympic games will likely try a pot of feijoada while they’re here.
It’s winter down here. Some will find the dish a welcome, warm and tasty bellyful.
But for others, the mixture of offal and spices might be too much to bear.
We recently visited .Org Bistro to sample chef Tatiana Lund’s vegan feijoada. It’s a delicious stew with the traditional black beans, onions, garlic and spices, but instead of snouts or tails it features pumpkin and smoked tofu.
We loved it. But does the vegan version pass muster with Brazil’s carnivores?
The verdict: They thought it was delicious.
“I’m no vegetarian, but this is great,” said Heitor Aguilar, who had come to the boteco for an afternoon beer.
“I try to make everything that is traditional here in Brazil but make it in a healthy way. That’s my thing here,” Chef Lund said. Her menu also features vegan favorites like quinoa burgers, as well as some delicious Brazilian juices.
So, if you’re visiting Rio and pig gut stew isn’t your thing, you can nevertheless get a taste for a national culinary classic. And meatless feijoada may just be here to stay.
Below, watch Chef Tatiana Lund describe the vegan feijoada she cooks up every Friday and Saturday at .Org Bistro in Rio’s Barra da Tijuca neighborhood.