Appetizers Holiday Recipes

Puerto Rican Vegan Bacalaitos – Bacalaitos Veganos

Vegan Bacalaitos

These Puerto Rican Vegan Bacalaitos are crispy, fluffy, fish-free fritters that are great for any occasion. 

Bacalaitos are a staple in our Puerto Rican street food culture. You can find them everywhere around the island, especially at food stands, carnivals, and even at your church’s cafeteria. My grandmothers used to make them all the time. I never liked cod-fish, so I used to take it out of my fritter while eating them. These are regularly made using codfish, in Spanish “bacalao”.  Here’s my vegan version of these delicious cod-fish fritters.

This is my favorite fritter, even though I don’t make it often. How can you make a vegan version of bacalaitos? Well, the flavors of these fritters come from the marinade. As long as you marinate your protein substitute you will have an amazing crispy and fluffy fritter.

For the fish flavor, I shredded part of a nori sheet to the batter. This part is optional but I totally recommend it. You can also use jackfruit as an alternative, but I’m not a big fan of jackfruit so I decided to try hearts of palms instead. It worked for me and I loved the results.

What are Hearts of Palms?

They are tender, white cylinders with a mild flavor that’s similar to artichokes. Hearts of palm are harvested from the inner core of some types of palm trees. They are a great source of fiber, with lots of vitamins and minerals. They are a great addition to any recipe. Hearts of palm are commonly used to replace fish in vegan recipes.

Simple ingredients

How to Use Hearts of Palms in this Recipe?

I veganized my grandmother’s recipe. I found her favorite recipe book with some handwritten recipes and notes. I marinated the hearts of palms using the same seasonings for the codfish. All you have to do is:

  • Drain the hearts of palms and empty the can inside a medium bowl.
  • Chop hearts of palms using your hands.
  • Add seasonings and shredded nori sheets, set aside, and let it rest for one hour.

Tips for Frying these Vegan Bacalaitos:

  • Use sunflower oil for a healthier version.
  • Preheat stove to medium-high heat.
  • For better results use a deep fryer or a large saucepan.
  • Be careful when frying these bacalaitos.
  • Have a large plate lined up with paper towels ready. You will need it to transfer the fritters to drain the excess oil.

If you give this recipe a try, let me know what you think! Leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to take a picture and share it on my Facebook page or tag it #thehungrydragonfly on Instagram! I love seeing your creations!

Make these amazing Puerto Rican recipes during your holidays:

Asopao de Gandules con Bolitas de Platanos Vegano

Sorullitos de Maiz Veganos-Puerto Rican Corn Fritters Vegan

Black Bean Empanada Puerto Rican Style

Puerto Rican Tostones  – Fried Plantains





Hey there! Welcome to The Hungry Dragonfly! I’m Mariela, the writer, photographer and recipe developer behind The Hungry Dragonfly!

I share vegetarian and vegan recipes that are simple to follow and require friendly ingredients that are easy to find. Because life is about having a balance. I create healthy recipes and also some comforting dishes, as well. What else can you find here on my blog? I share seasonal baking recipes and tips, lifestyle ideas, pet friendly road trips and coffee shops.

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  1. We love heart of palm, and don’t like cod fish, so this sounds like a great version of a bacalaitos! I just love learning about your traditional Puerto Rican foods, Mariela! It is so much fun and always a wonderful learning experience! Thank you!!!💕

    1. Thank you so much! So happy that you like it! I love heart of palms, it’s so versatile. Glad you like them!

  2. Gladys says:

    Love it! Mine came out gooey/uncooked in the middle, not sure why. I’ll try again and make them thinner. The taste was on point though!! Thanks!

    1. Hello! Thank you so much for trying my recipe. I’m so sorry to hear that. What temperature did you heat the oil?

  3. Lee says:

    Wow these look awesome! Definitely not a dish I’m familiar with. Fritters are just plain fun, and I love the hearts of palm addition.

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