We’re sharing some of the best vegan soul food recipes from our favorite food bloggers. Here’s how to get your soul food fix without the meat and dairy!
In the United States, Black food and soul food are closely intertwined. While there’s also a lot of overlap with Southern food, soul food is a unique cuisine in its own right, and it’s full of comfort food favorites like sweet cornbread, smoky collards, and tender candied yams. These vegan soul food recipes take classic Black recipes and make them without dairy, meat, and eggs.
Before we talk about the recipes, though, let’s dig into the history of soul food a little bit more!
What Is Soul Food?
Soul food is a type of cuisine prepared and eaten by Black folks in the United States. This type of cooking originated in the South during slavery, but in the 20th century, it spread throughout the country via the Great Migration.
Enslaved persons had to make meals with leftovers, offal, and “undesirable” cuts of meat, along with vegetables they grew themselves, and this history still shapes soul food today. It’s why many of the vegetables used in soul food are traditionally grown in the South, and why ham hocks, chitlins, and neckbones are found in many soul food dishes.
Today, soul food is synonymous with the kind of down-home cooking many of us know from our mamas, grandmas, and great-grandmas.
Why Is It Called Soul Food?
Although soul food has existed for hundreds of years, it wasn’t actually called soul food until the mid-1960s. Around this time, the word “soul” was commonly used to describe Black culture in the United States, so soul food was the name given to this traditional style of Black cooking.
Examples of Popular Dishes
Cornmeal, pork, beans, and greens are some of the most popular soul food ingredients. Here are some soul food dishes you’re probably familiar with:
- Fried chicken
- Black-eyed peas
- Collard greens
- Hoppin’ John
- Candied yams
- Sweet potato pie
Unfortunately for us vegans, even a lot of the vegetable side dishes in soul food are cooked with ham, bacon, butter, or lard, so it can be difficult to get your soul food fix unless you’re cooking them at home. That’s where these vegan soul food recipes come in!
How Do I Make Soul Food Vegan?
There are so many ways you can enjoy soul food vegan. First, remember that vegetables are a key player in soul food, so you’ve already got a healthy place to start! Beans, greens, and sweet potatoes are all star ingredients in soul food.
When it comes to the meat and dairy, you have a lot of options, too. Use tofu or other meat substitutes, swap the butter for a vegan version, and use creamy coconut milk in place of heavy cream.
Oh, and try the recipes below!
Best Vegan Soul Food Recipes
For a plant-based soul food fix, try some of these recipes from our favorite food bloggers!
Homemade BBQ Sauce
This smoky BBQ sauce is finger-lickin' good on your favorite plant-based meat substitute!
Vegan Sweet Potato Pie
This sweet, creamy pie is the perfect soul food dessert. Here's how it make it without eggs and dairy!
Vegan Skillet Cornbread
Cornbread baked in a skillet gets perfectly crispy on the edges. Amazing for pairing with a big bowl of greens!
Southern Vegan Collard Greens
Collard greens are cooked until they're tender, silky, and practically melt in your mouth!
Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits
These buttermilk biscuits are flaky, buttery, and delicious for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!
Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese
Yes, it's possible to make mac and cheese without cheese and milk! You'll love this creamy baked macaroni recipe.
Vegan Hot Chicken Biscuits
Spicy vegan chicken is nestled between two halves of flaky biscuits for a delicious soul food meal!
Southern Black-Eyed Peas
Beans are a great plant-based source of protein, and they're especially tasty cooked soul food style!
BBQ Spice Rub (AKA Magic Dust)
A sprinkle of this magic dust makes just about anything taste incredible!
The Best Vegan Pecan Pie
Crunchy nuts and gooey, caramel-infused filling make this vegan pecan pie a show-stopping dessert.
Vegan Fried Chicken
Yes, you can make delicious fried chicken—without chicken! This is a recipe you'll make again and again.
Instant Pot Collard Greens
No time to simmer collards on the stovetop? Instant Pot to the rescue!
Classic squares of sweet cornbread for serving alongside all your favorite soul food recipes.
Vegan Pot Pie
If you're looking for a hearty, satisfying plant-based dinner, you'll love these pot pies!
Vegan Red Beans and Rice
Rice and beans are a classic soul food pairing that everyone loves!
Vegan Baked Candied Yams
Tender, melt-in-your-mouth yams are the quintessential soul food side. This is a must-make recipe!
BBQ Tofu (Southern Style)
Layered into a vegan meal bowl with mashed potatoes, collards, and cornbread, this BBQ tofu is a comfort food winner!
Vegan Pumpkin Pie
No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without pumpkin pie, and this vegan version is sure to please all your guests!
Sweet Potato Salad
Whether you serve it for a picnic or a meal prep lunch, you'll love this flavorful sweet potato salad recipe!
Traditional Jambalaya is packed with flavor, and so is this hearty vegan version!