Delicious Vegan Peruvian Causa: How to Make this Refreshing Cold Potato Dish

If you've been to a Peruvian restaurant then you've seen this on a menu, this popular potato based recipe is commonly served cold and as an appetizer or entree.

What is Peruvian Causa Made Of?

Causa is a traditional Peruvian dish that is best described as a refreshing potato casserole. The name might originate from Quechua (the second most widely spoken language in Peru), meaning life. It is normally made of yellow potato (it's a specific type of potato but yukon gold potatoes work fine), bright ají amarillo (spicy yellow pepper), refreshing lime, red onion, mayo, avocado, and olives if you have them (black or kalamata).

Vegan Peruvian Causa FAQ

  • Is Peruvian causa typically served hot or cold?
    • Causa is typically served cold
  • What are the traditional flavors and ingredients used in Peruvian causa?
    • Traditionally causa is flavored with ají amarillo, lime, and mayonnaise. The filling is most commonly chicken or tuna (when not vegan)
  • Are there variations of Peruvian causa?
    • There are many variations of this recipe, every home will make it their own way, there are also variations using different mayo, you can change this up by blending it with olives (ideally purple)
  • Can Peruvian causa be made ahead of time?
    • Yes, in fact this taste better if made a day ahead
  • What are some common accompaniments or side dishes to serve with Peruvian causa?
    • A common accompaniment is canchitas (the best "popcorn" you will try), or Peruvian Salsa Criolla

How to Cook the Potatoes.

To avoid having the potatoes absorbing too much water, cook them whole with the skin. This allows them to absorb the lime flavor much better, however, feel free to cook them like you normally would if you were making mashed potatoes. It will still be delicious.

The Filling.

There are many ways to prepare causa and that includes of variety of fillings, some say that there are as many varieties of causa as there are homes in Lima and that sounds right. Although, the most common fillings are chicken or tuna. We're mimicking tuna by using a mix of garbanzo beans and heart of palm.

Assembling Causa Rellena (Stuffed Causa)

  1. Prepare the Potatoes: Start by boiling potatoes until they are soft and easily mashable. Peel and mash them while they are still warm. Season the mashed potatoes with salt, pepper, and lime juice for flavor.
  2. Prepare the Filling: Choose your desired filling. Traditional fillings include a layer of avocado slices, a layer of aji amarillo (Peruvian yellow chili pepper) mashed with mayonnaise, and a layer of a protein such as shredded chicken, tuna, or like ours use garbanzos and heart of palm.

How to Assemble Causa, Pionono Style.

Assembling causa pionono style adds a unique twist to the traditional Peruvian dish. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Prepare the Pionono:
    • Instead of layering the mashed potatoes in a dish, you'll spread them on parchment paper or plastic wrap. Spread it thinly and shape into a rectangle.
  2. Add the Filling:
    • Arrange your filling over the layer of mashed potatoes. Make sure to distribute them evenly across the surface.
  3. Roll Up:
    • Carefully roll up the mashed potatoes with the filling inside, similar to rolling a sushi roll or kimbap. Use the parchment paper or plastic wrap underneath to help you roll it tightly.
  4. Chill and Slice:
    • Wrap the rolled-up causa pionono tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least an hour to firm up.
    • Once chilled, unwrap the causa pionono and slice it into rounds, similar to slicing a sushi roll.
  5. Serve and Enjoy:
    • Arrange the slices on a serving platter and garnish with additional toppings.
    • Serve the causa pionono slices cold as an elegant and unique appetizer or light meal. Enjoy the fusion of flavors and textures in this creative take on a classic Peruvian dish!

How to Assemble Causa in a Casserole Dish.

To assemble Peruvian causa in a casserole (more traditional), follow these steps after preparing the filling and potato

  1. Layering: Spread a layer of potato where you still have an equal amount left for another layer, add the filling, and then layer with the remaining potato. Garnish with additional toppings such as mayonnaise, sliced olives, cherry tomatoes, or parsley.
  2. Chill: Seal the causa container with a layer of plastic wrap and set it in the refrigerator to cool for at least an hour, this will allow the flavors to develop throughout the dish.
  3. Serve: Once chilled, carefully remove the plastic wrap and cut it into slices or squares (more common) for serving.
  4. Enjoy: Serve the causa cold as a refreshing appetizer or light meal. Pair it with a side of salad or some Peruvian salsa criolla for added freshness and flavor.

Vegan Peruvian Causa

A cold and refreshing potato dish made from mashed potatoes, Peruvian yellow pepper, lime and a plant based protein with mayo filling.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Cooling and Assembly20 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Cuisine: Peruvian
Keyword: Vegan Causa, Vegan Peruvian Recipe
Servings: 6


  • 3 lbs Yellow potato about 10 medium size potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 1 - 2 tablespoon Aji paste Peruvian yellow pepper
  • 1 - 2 Limes
  • Salt to taste

The Filling

  • 1 can of chickpeas Optional: Save the chickpea water to make your own mayonnaise for this recipe
  • 1 can Heart of Palms
  • ¼ cup Vegan Mayo
  • 2 Avocados
  • ½ cup Chopped Onion
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Topping (Pico de Gallo)

  • 1 Tomato
  • ¼ cup Chopped Parsley
  • ½ Diced Onion
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Boil the potatoes in water with salt until you can easily pierce them with a fork.
  • Remove and peel them under cold water.
  • Mash them in a bowl and add the aji, lime juice, oil, salt and pepper.

Causa in a Deep Dish

  • Divide into 2 portions. Fill the bottom of a dish with one portion of the potatoes.
  • For the vegan tuna filling, chop and mash the heart or palms and chickpeas.
  • Mix 4 tablespoons of vegan mayonnaise, chopped onions, salt and pepper. Add this to the second layer of your dish.
  • Place sliced avocados on top of the vegan tuna filling, and top it with the remainder of the potatoes.
  • Add a thin layer of vegan mayonnaise on top (optional), and garnish with the Pico de Gallo or parsley and olives.

Causa rolled (Pionono)

  • Follow the picture instructions above.

Pico de Gallo

  • Toss together the diced tomato, onion, parsley, salt and pepper.
besitos, J & R

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