Buoyed by the success of its vegan Cuban bread launch in September 2019, Vicky recently began serving a vegan pastelito. Long a local institution, the bakery that started in 1972 with one lone store in Hialeah now has 16 locations throughout South Florida.
The "carne" filling in the vegan pastelito is made from textured vegetable protein (TVP), which has a similar texture to ground beef when cooked. A high-fiber, high-protein soy product, TVP is made from defatted soy flour that has been cooked under pressure and then dried. (Tofu is basically the unprocessed version of TVP and equally versatile.)
“We are proud to make plant-based options more accessible to all our customers. Our goal is to offer an alternative that meets our standards and that customers will also love," says Pedro Cao, managing partner and master baker at Vicky Bakery. “We are also adding more vegan options in the future that anyone can enjoy.”
For years, Happy Vegan Bakers in Hialeah has satisfied vegans' pastelito needs. But Vicky Bakery is the first mainstream bakery to broach the category.
Miami has seen a recent trend of "veganizing" Cuban staples.
In 2019, the venerable Sergio's restaurant chain launched a plant-based "frita," which is now a permanent fixture on its menu. And just last year, Vegan Cuban Cuisine opened its doors in Kendall, offering traditional Cuban entrées made with plant-based ingredients.
While Miamians love their carne, the city is fast becoming one of the best destinations in America for vegans. A 2019 study by the U.K.-based travel company Hayes & Jarvis singled out Miami as the top vegan hot spot in the nation, beating out veg-friendly cities like Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon.
It doesn't cost much to take the vegan pastelito challenge at Vicky; the treats are priced at just $1.50 apiece. (Not all locations carry vegan Cuban bread daily, so call before you go if you want to pick up both.)
For hours and locations, visit vickybakery.com.