How to Make Vegan Soul Food

This delicious platter of black-eyed pea fritters, collard greens and mac and cheese proves that Southern food can be veganized.

Photo by Alaina Webber

I used to believe that one of the things that could never be “veganized” in any way that feels fulfilling was Southern food. The land of barbecue, chicken-fried steak, fried chicken and waffles. Seemed impossible. But when I discovered Bryant Terry and his book, Vegan Soul Food, I became a believer. It can be done!

And last week at my turn guest-cheffing Bar Marco’s No Menu Monday, I offered up a Southern plate that’s completely and unapologetically vegan. Yes, even the mac and cheese. Sacrilege, I know. But I heard one kid (not mine) exclaim that it was the best mac and cheese he’d ever had. Little did he know it had carrots in it.

The deep fried black-eyed pea fritters, while not completely righteous, pack a ton of protein and fiber in every satisfying, crunchy bite. I served the fritters with a bayou marinara that added the perfect tang and spice. And the stewy, saucy collard greens – topped with my friend Barb Kline’s amazing pickled tomatoes — just put the plate over the edge of utter gratification.

So without further adieu, here are the recipes from last week’s No Menu Monday!

  Black-eyed Pea Fritters with Bayou Marinara

Yield: Makes 25 croquettes; serves 5-6


  • 2 cups black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • 2 tsp creole seasoning mix
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 T cornmeal
  • Oil for deep frying


1.   Drain the beans and transfer to a food processor.
2.   Add the salt, tamari, seasoning, thyme.
3.   Blend into fine mince – mixture will be slightly wet but hold together.
4.   Using a tablespoon, scoop out and form rough quenelle or ball shaped croquettes by hand.
5.   Heat oil to 350 degrees.
6.   Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Place on paper towel to drain.
7.   Place on plat and serve hot.

Head on over to The Brazen Kitchen for the Bayou Marinara recipe.

  Southern-Style Collard Greens

Yield: Serves 5-6


  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T butter or Earth Balance Soy Free
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 pound collard greens, chiffonade
  • 2-3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (if using canned organic fire-roasted is great)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Umeboshi vinegar or pickled tomatoes (optional)


1.   In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil and butter.
2.   Sauté the onions until softened.
3.   Add the red pepper flakes and garlic, cook another minute.
4.   Add collard greens and mix well.
5.   Add the vegetable stock, cover and bring to a simmer.
6.   Cook until greens are tender, about 40 minutes.
7.   Add tomatoes, mix well and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
8.   Top with pepper flakes and sprinkle umeboshi vinegar or top with pickled tomatoes before serving.

Head to The Brazen Kitchen for the Mackin Cheese recipe.

Categories: Brazen Kitchen