Before we get into this Vegetarian Lomo Saltado, I just have to reflect on what a glorious weekend I had lounging around at home all by myself. John was in Mexico for a bachelor party and I had just come off of a weeklong cooking job for 20 people. Basically I was floored after that job so I made it a point of being really loose with my agenda (emails and catching up on social media can ALWAYS wait until Monday) and just did whatever I felt like. I didn’t even leave the house…and I loved every minute of it. I painted my nails, which as a professional chef I never get to do, and actually read a couple of the magazines that normally sit on my coffee table untouched. I’m looking at you, February Food & Wine. I wasn’t a total blob though. Chores and laundry and some casual cooking also happened. I may or may not have made and eaten an entire batch of gluten free pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
The point of me telling you about my super low-key, boring weekend is that now it’s Monday and I feel so incredibly refreshed, both mentally and physically. My life is usually structured down to the minute and it just felt SO good to let go of adhering to a schedule for a couple of days. I don’t do it enough.
But it felt so liberating, and now I can really get back into things with a fresh mind. And I finally get to tell you about this Vegetarian Lomo Saltado which John loved so much that I think it will become a new weeknight staple in the house.
Lomo Saltado is basically the Peruvian version of a stir fry made with steak, tomatoes and red onions. It’s cooked in an incredibly simple but amazingly savory sauce made of mostly soy sauce and red wine vinegar. Translated the dish literally means ‘salted beef’ and it’s traditionally served with white rice and french fries because as every Peruvian well knows, two carbs are better than one.
I grew up eating Lomo Saltado but haven’t had it in quite some time, mostly because we really don’t consume red meat these days, but also because there are no decent Peruvian restaurants where we live. Sad. Then one day I remembered that duh, I’m a chef, and decided to create a healthier, vegetarian Lomo Saltado, and I seriously adore it even more than the original.
First of all, portobello mushroom is the obvious choice when it comes to a satisfying vegetarian replacement for beef. But I also swapped the french fries for healthier, more colorful baked sweet potato fries. I used orange and purple and I love how it really brightens up the dish!
Traditional Lomo Saltado usually uses aji amarillo, a yellow Peruvian pepper that can be difficult to track down here, so I skipped it. I also added a couple of splashes of Worcestershire sauce to mimic that beefy piquant flavor. But other than that, everything else about this vegetarian Lomo Saltado is relatively the same as the original. Serve it with Drunken Scallop Tiradito (Peruvian sashimi) as a starter and a pisco sour on the rocks for a killer Peruvian meal.
Vegetarian Lomo Saltado with Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- 2 large sweet potatoes peeled and sliced into wedges
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 2 large portobello mushrooms thickly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves finely diced
- 1 red onion thickly sliced
- 2 large tomatoes thickly sliced
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- Cooked white or brown rice for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and spread on a single layer onto a baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside.
While potatoes are roasting, heat a large pot over high heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and sauté mushrooms, garlic, onion and tomato for 3-4 minutes. Add soy sauce, vinegar, broth and Worcestershire and sauté for 1-2 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with rice and sweet potato fries and garnish with cilantro.