Vegan soul food might sound like the biggest paradox, right? We know classic soul food as being rich in meats, animal grease, dairy, and sometimes seafood—all of which a vegan diet restricts! But the beauty of being vegan in today’s world is that we can enjoy an authentic vegan diet in various ways, instead of just the old-fashioned “water-soy-fruity-veggie way.” So, to the soul-food lovers who want to go vegan without compromising too much, here are some ways to stay healthy while still fulfilling your soul at the same time!
MAC & “CHEESE”
Macaroni and cheese is found in nearly every soul food feast. A vegan diet excludes dairy products, so cheese is out of the question. But, there is a way to create a vegan version of mac and cheese. The secret is, though, that you’re not using real cheese, but are combining vegan foods to create the illusion of melted cheese, while mimicking the taste of cheese! To make vegan mac and cheese, you will need potatoes, soaked cashews, turmeric or carrots (for color), and yeast, just for the “cheese” sauce. The ingredients vary among recipes, but these are the most basic. Also, the ideal noodles to use will be gluten-free, white, or whole wheat noodles. To make this dish even more “veganized,” you can add vegetables on top, such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, or peas.
“CHICKEN” & WAFFLES
Is it possible to make a non-chicken substance taste a lot like chicken? Yes! With vegan “chicken” and waffles, the standard recipe for the “chicken” calls for tofu, eggs, flour, and various seasonings, such as pepper and hot sauce. Many believe chicken and waffles are a strange combination of foods, but in the Southern world, they are the perfect match. This “chicken” and waffles recipe will help you stay connected to your favorite food without the guilt.
Okra is a very popular soul food vegetable, and there is a way to fry it without animal grease. The batter involved for oven-fried okra requires non-dairy milk, cornmeal, brown rice flour, and lemon juice. It also calls for choice seasonings, such as cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. The batter is made by combining all ingredients together until it resembles pancake batter. Throw in the okra until it’s evenly coated and bake until crispy! See? No cooking oil involved!
CAULIFLOWER NASHVILLE HOT “CHICKEN”
Let’s turn cauliflower into spicy fried chicken, shall we?! Nashville hot chicken is basically fried chicken which is covered in all the hottest spices ever. It may be hard to eat for that reason, but the deliciousness is undeniable. The cool thing is that we can still enjoy Nashville hot chicken even in the vegan world. We can do this by using cauliflower. Perhaps cauliflower is used in place of chicken to mimic the color and texture of fried chicken, and because it takes on any flavor you add to it. You will need eggs, almond milk, flour, hot sauce, cornstarch, baking flour for the batter mixture, and oil for frying. Just dip the cauliflower pieces in the mixture and bake.
SWEET POTATO BISCUITS
This is one of the oldest soul food dishes in history, but still one of the tastiest! While sweet potatoes are a vegan food, biscuits may still include butter, eggs, and milk—none of which are vegan foods. So, in order to make vegan sweet potato biscuits, we will need the following: mashed sweet potatoes, soy milk (or any non-dairy milk, if allergic to soy), apple cider vinegar, baking powder, sugar, coconut oil, and…honey for drizzling!
Another popular dessert sitting at the soul food table is cobbler! Blackberry and blueberry cobbler is a recipe filled with antioxidants and vegan goodness without bootlegging the taste. Here are some of the ingredients that make it vegan: fresh blueberries and blackberries, maple syrup, tapioca flour, coconut oil, coconut sugar, non-dairy (or soy) milk, and almond flour.
Being vegan is all about modification and adaptation. You can make a vegan diet your own by turning non-vegan foods vegan! You may have naysayers forbidding you to eat “tofurkey” and “veganaise” because they may not see those as purely vegan. Just remember that foods and meals become vegan when you eliminate meat, dairy, seafood, and other animal products. You have the freedom to make it your own!