These Boston-Based Chefs Prove Vegan Doesn’t Mean Boring


coco verde

It wasn’t until her daughter was transitioning to solid foods that Cecilia Flores and her fiance Ivannoe Rodriguez started experimenting with vegan food. Now, what started with just a few recipes has transformed into a full-swing food and catering business. 

CoverWallet sat down with Cecilia Flores of Coco Verde to learn more about their business and the delicious food they’re creating in the Boston area.

How did Coco Verde begin?

My fiance Ivannoe and I started Coco Verde a few months ago. I have a 16-month old daughter, and as we were transitioning her to solid foods, we started thinking about our own meals. I began eating more vegan meals, and we started incorporating more plant-based foods into our diet.

Ivannoe and I are both Dominican, and we felt great about the food decisions we were making, but we were really missing the flavors. He’s a trained chef, and we started playing around with the recipes, which is really when this all began. I’d share pictures of what we were eating on my Instagram, and people would comment and ask for the recipes.

We like that we are showing people that vegan food can still be delicious. The American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association have both endorsed vegan diets, and heart disease and diabetes are both big issues in the Latino community for a variety of reasons. We are trying to bring awareness to that by creating healthy food options that are culturally relevant.

What kind of catering do you do?

One of the first things we started doing was pre-cooked, prepared meals. We have had a really busy first few months, providing kids meals for a local organization and also doing big events and fundraisers for community groups. Since we provide vegan meals, the business has also been doing well for health-based events hosted by local communities and organizations.

What are some of the favorite dishes?

One of my favorites is ninos envueltos. This is traditionally made with ground beef, wrapped in cabbage, and then slow cooked in tomatoes. Rather than beef, we use lentils and it is a huge hit. People honestly have a really hard time seeing the difference.

Another really popular one is ropa vieja, which is a Cuban-style dish traditionally served with shredded beef. We substitute the meat with shredded mushrooms, and they are delicious. We make these little switches that aren’t obvious because it is all about good seasoning.

arroz verde and tofu

How did you find CoverWallet?

When we moved into our commercial kitchen, we were required to have insurance. I had bought other types of insurance before but never business insurance. I did some Googling and found CoverWallet. I wanted to be able to look at prices, understand the coverage, and I didn’t want to have to go to multiple websites, which is why it was a great fit for us.

We needed a specific addition to the insurance, and we needed to make sure transportation was covered. I received a quote online and was able to call in and speak with an agent. I spoke with Marvin, and he was great. He was nice, knowledgeable, patient, and gave us good advice. (Thanks, Marvin!).

What has your experience with CoverWallet been like?

CoverWallet has been great. We had heard the horror stories of people not having the right coverage, and we definitely didn’t want that. We’ve also been able to go online and request the certificates of insurance for the events that we do right on the website. It’s all been easy and straightforward, and I like that I can call and speak with someone whenever I have questions.

To learn more about Cecilia and Ivannoe and their delicious recipes, head to www.cocoverde.com. You can also follow along on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.