How to Make Vegan Halo Halo

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“Hold on, you’re Filipino, though. How can you be vegan?” 

Photography by  Mika Locklear . Food styling by  Paula   Farmahini . Set design by  Magdalena Antuña .

Photography by Mika Locklear. Food styling by Paula Farmahini. Set design by Magdalena Antuña.

... a colleague asks me, after I tell them about my recent journey into vegetarianism and veganism. In high school, I was vegetarian — for three months one summer. I hadn’t thought about going back until some time last year. I started out slowly, cutting out red meats and then incorporating more legumes and vegetables into my diet. I must admit, it’s been a bit of a struggle since I’ve started the transition, especially since I was raised in a culture that focuses on a meat-based diet. I grew up with lechon — a whole roasted pig — at every single celebration, with a plethora of accompanying chicken and beef dishes.

My biggest fear with this new foray has been losing my cultural identity. At first, I felt that if I didn’t eat meat, especially when it came to Filipino food, that I’d lose a part of myself. The longer I’ve been on this road, though, the more I’ve realized that there are plenty of options within Filipino food — and the culture — to not only keep your identity, but there are also options to find alternatives to some of my favorite dishes growing up. It’s been so fun to play around with these recipes I’ve known since I was younger and rework them to fit my new lifestyle. 


Shaved ice dessert



5-6 Tbsp Halo-halo sweet fruit mix
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2  cup shaved ice
3 Tbsp toasted rice flakes/crisps
1 slice of Ube Halaya

Ube Halaya

1 lb frozen grated ube (purple yam), thawed
1 cup turbinado (brown) sugar
1 can (14.5 oz) coconut milk
1/4 stick vegan butter

A note about Halo-Halo sweet fruit mix: It’s easier and less expensive to buy the sweet fruit mix (usually consists of jackfruit, red beans, white beans, and coconut jelly) rather than trying to buy each of these ingredients individually. 


For the Halo-Halo

1. Add 3 Tbsp of the sweet fruit mix to a glass. 

2. Add 1/2 -1 cup of shaved ice on top of the sweet fruit mix, to layer. 

3. Add 3 more Tbsp of sweet fruit mix. 

4. Add remainder of shaved ice on top. 

5. Pour the coconut milk into the glass. 

6. Top with rice crisps/flakes. 

7. Top with Ube Halaya. 

For the Ube Halaya

1. Heat a medium-large sized pot, add butter and melt. 

2. Add coconut milk and bring to a boil. 

3. Add sugar, stirring well. 

4. Lower the heat, add ube in, and mix well. 

5. Stir occasionally, until the ube becomes thick, about 15-20 mins. 

6. Put into a mold/container (preferably glass) and let cool. 

7. Refrigerate for 2 hours, then serve. 


Looking for more resources for transitioning to a vegan diet? We're loving Vegan Easy's 30 day menu planner