Catupiry com (Veggie) Frango

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When I volunteer at SEEDS, there is never a shortage of witty and hilarious soundbites. This last time, a certain youth we’ll call ‘Quincy’ declared, “this is like the fanciest lunch we’ve ever had.” I let the youth (and adult coordinators) scrape the last of the catupiry and frango out of the baking dish. And then I let ’em have it.

“That wasn’t real meat.”

My comment sparked the usual rounds of “wait, wait, wait, that wasn’t meat!?!??!?!?!??!!!!” Which always cracks me up. Because they know that I don’t eat meat and are surprised every time. It always brings a smile to my face because coming from a meat eater to a vegetarian, it’s one of the highest compliments you can pay to the chef!

Catupiry is only the most amazing cheese on the planet. Ok, I wouldn’t go exactly that far, but it is REALLY tasty. So mild, delicious, creamy, and unique, that I drove to DC to get it because I couldn’t find it in the Triangle. Ok, well, I didn’t exactly drive to DC just to get the cheese. I was in DC and found a Brazilian grocery store and picked up the cheese. 🙂 And this dish… well, it’s embarrassingly easy, but deceptively divine. You can make it with chicken (veggie or real) or shrimp, and I actually bet it would be great with just veggies. I’ve heard folks say that you can substitute cream cheese for caturpiry, but it’s different, so if possible, I would use the real thing. In honor of my favorite country in the world … and in the spirit of Quincy’s rather hilarious monologue about being tricked into eating fake meat… I bring you, Caturpiry com Veggie Frango (Veggie Chicken with Catupiry).

Catupiry com (Veggie) Frango (Printable Recipe)


2 packages Morningstar vegan chik’n strips
1 medium onion–diced
2 cloves garlic–minced
1 container catupiri/catupiry (~ 8oz.)
16 oz. can hearts of palm–sliced
4 Roma tomatoes
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup unflavored, unsweetened milk (I used almond)
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 bunch fresh parsley or cilantro–chopped
cheese to sprinkle on top (Manchego or Parmesan)
olive oil


*Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread catupiri/catupiry along bottom and sides of a 9 in. x 13 in. baking dish.

*Saute chik’n 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in frying pan. Set aside. Chop tomatoes into large chunks and puree/blend until smooth, set aside. Chop onions, saute in 2 tablespoons olive oil, cook until soft, add garlic, cook approx. 5 minutes. Add pureed tomatoes. Simmer on medium low for 10 minutes. Add chik’n in shreds to pan. Cook 5 minutes. Combine vegetable broth and milk, dissolve cornstarch, add liquid to pan. Add hearts of palm. Combine. Adjust for salt and pepper.

*Add to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with a small bit of cheese (a couple of ounces). Bake 15-20 minutes until cheese on top is bubbly. Serve with steamed rice and salad.

Written by

Tiffany M. Griffin is the woman behind Como Water, Washington DC’s premiere veg-centric cuisine consulting company. Through cooking classes, demonstrations, catering, and consultations, Como Water gives people the opportunity to learn how to prepare veg-centric cuisine that boasts maximum flavor, with minimal effort. Tiffany is quickly becoming a go-to expert on the future of veg-centric cuisine, and is a regular contributor to Como Water, the blog, as well as to vegetarian and vegan sites across the Internet. For over a decade, this self-taught, entrepreneurial expert has developed a set of tried and true techniques for making simple, delicious, and sometimes decadent veg-centric dishes. Featured on the Steve Harvey Show and other leading media outlets, Tiffany was born and raised in Springfield, MA. She then earned Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Communications from Boston College and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Washington DC, where she has worked in the US Senate and at a federal agency on issues around health, food, nutrition, and international food aid/development, and of course, as the owner of Como Water. Tiffany gets culinary inspiration from the food she grew up eating, and from her travels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge on veg-centric cuisine with others and to help others live by her mantra—love life, live long, and eat veg-centric cuisine!


  1. Oh wow this looks like a wonderful comforting dish 🙂 My whole family will love it 🙂

  2. Another great and unique creation! I’ve never heard of this cheese, but now I’m intrigued and will have to look for it. Thanks for sharing :o)

  3. Wow. Must look out catupiri since it sounds fabulous. Love how you made the announcement and must have been a great moment! Bon weekend.

  4. I’ve never heard of this cheese, and I am the official cheese-head!! I’m going to have to hunt down a Latin American food store and get me some! I hear the quinoa’s always cheaper in those stores too. Maybe we can swap my goat’s ricotta for your catupiry!!

    • Definitely try a Brazilian grocery store, rather than just a more global Latin American store… 🙂

  5. wow! That looks delicious! Love the comments by the kids– too cute!

  6. Tiff, that sounds incredible! Catupiry…yummylicious!

  7. they really look like meat! Looks delicious .. i will have to look for these and give a try !

  8. Looks so good….love the spices:)

  9. Ok Girl you almost had me fooled. I looked at the picture and was sure the dish had meat in it. Gold star for you for creativity, culinary skills and educating us!

  10. This looks so good and something my family would love 🙂 thanks for sharing!

  11. I have never tasted catupiry! Sounds divine! Your dish looks so silky and inviting! Thanks for yet another great recipe Tiffany! 🙂

  12. It definitely looks like meat 🙂

  13. I’ve never heard of this cheese either, It gives another layer of flavor to your Veggie dish, and I love the artichoke hearts and cilantro garnish. Thanks for the info.

  14. Um, wow does that look good! I’d never heard of this glorious cheese before. I can see how easy it would be to make the trek to buy it — it looks so rich and yum. Thanks for sharing such an interesting dish, Tiff!

  15. Dear Tiff: I love this meal and really seems easy. The only difficulty I will have to find out how is comercialized this cheese in Spain, or to find a substitute.
    Tomorrow I was planning chicken for lunch!

  16. I was not familiar with Catupiry, but now I will have to try it. A wonderfully hearty dish!

  17. I’ll be on the lookout for this cheese, too…always learning something from you, Tiffany 🙂

  18. Thanks for the comments folks!

  19. The dish sounds absolutely smashing and I am going to make it over the Christmas hols (if I can find the Catupiry cheese in one of our supermarkets). Thank you for sharing.