February is Black History Month, so celebrate gourmand style by veganizing your favorite soul food recipes. Traditionally, soul food combines African and Native American cuisine with ingredients commonly found in the southern US to create hearty, flavorful feasts. Whether incorporating soul food dishes into fusion cooking or serving them straight up at suppertime, these satisfying meals are sure to spark culinary creativity and warm up cold winter nights.
Vegans With Soul
Cooking vegan soul food has never been easier, as a crop of chefs and restaurants have taken the guesswork out of veganizing classics, such as biscuits and gravy and barbecue ribs. Chicago-based Karyn’s On Green specializes in vegan comfort food, offering unique options including meat-free Crab Cakes and Crispy Chicken Legs. National vegan restaurant chain Soul Vegetarian has a similarly down-home menu, from to-die-for ribs to savory macaroni and cheese. If you prefer to create professional-grade dishes at home, pick up a copy of Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen or Afya Ibomu’s The Vegan Soulfood Guide to the Galaxy, which are both excellent vegan soul food cookbooks. Aside from plating up delicious plant-based soul food, Terry is passionate about sustainable agriculture and social-justice issues.
Need help compiling the perfect vegan soul food menu? No matter the meal, this comprehensive list of recipes will help get the job done! From perfect sweet and savory breakfasts to stick-to-your-ribs—barbecue meatless ribs, that is—suppers, these easy-to-follow recipes make vegan soul food a breeze.
Nothing says Southern comfort food like Biscuits and Gravy. The classic combination of light and fluffy biscuits matched with rich and savory gravy is a down-home diner standard. For an even heartier breakfast main, fry apples and meat-free Sausage with Grits. The mix of crisp apples and spicy sausage prove an addictive, flavorful morning-starter. Hash, another mainstay traditionally laden with meat and dairy, is easily made vegan by substituting in meat-free alternatives.
Busy schedules mean that midday meals often require simple prep and cooking time. To optimize time during your lunch hour, try cooking a fragrant, tangy Southern Stew the night before. Whip up savory side dishes by sautéing Collard Greens and Okra to accompany your stew. To round out your lunchtime feast, bake a batch of flaky Corn Muffins and pack one or two—or 10—to pair with your soulful stew and sides.
Soul food is not messing around when it comes to dinner. From crispy meatless Fried Chick’n to Country Fried Seitan and Barbecue Ribs, meat-free main courses dominate vegan soul food dinners. To mix up your meat-free mains, slow cook a pot of Chick’n and Dumplings—just as substantial a multi-course meal with half the work. Hearty sides include crunchy Sweet Potato Fritters, rich and tasty Macaroni and Cheese, and zesty Black Eyed Peas.
Because sweet potatoes are widely available in the South, Sweet Potato Pie has long been a popular and easy-to-make dessert. This pie is best when paired with a strong cup of coffee—just don’t blame us if you eat more than one slice. For a fruitier treat, look no further than Apple Cobbler or Peach Cobbler.