The 5 Vegan Southern Cookbooks You Should Own
Surprisingly (to me at least), there aren't that many fully vegan Southern cookbooks out there. Sure, there are plenty of blogs and local resources to support the badass community of Southern vegans, but the cookbook landscape is bleak. That said, people like Bryant Terry stand out as shining examples of how rich Southern—and vegan—food culture can be.
I'm sure this list will grow over time, but for now, here are the 3 vegan southern cookbooks you should buy right now along with a few great Southern vegetarian cookbooks that you'll want to check out as well.
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Vegan Southern Cookbooks
My love for Bryant Terry knows no bounds, and Vegan Soul Kitchen is a masterpiece of reinterpretation. It's the most effortlessly modern Southern cookbook I've ever come across, vegan or otherwise. His recipe for citrus collards with raisins, found in Vegan Soul Kitchen, is one of my all-time favorite dishes, and he has a whole section on using watermelon (!). In case my recommendation alone isn't enough, note that the blurb on the cover is from ALICE WATERS. His cookbook Afro-Vegan also includes a number of farm-fresh Southern recipes alongside African and Caribbean ones.
This cookbook from vegan blogger Bianca Phillips includes the kind of foods that go directly to your hips: Ro*Tel dip, country-fried tempeh steak, chocolate bourbon pecan pie, and the like. It doesn't have the refinement and fresh farm-to-table feel of Bryant Terry, but it does have fried tofu chicken wafflewiches with maple-mustard sauce. So, it's worth it.
Okay, so it says vegetarian, but all the recipes in this 1995 classic are egg- and dairy-free. If it weren't for the recipes including honey, it would be 100% vegan, so I'm giving it an only-slightly-honorary place on the list. Inside you'll find serious cajun classics like filé gumbo, etouffée, red beans and rice, boulettes, jambalaya, and blackened tofu. Ça c'est beaucoup bon, y'all!
If your favorite Southern food pulls in a slightly Tex-Mex direction, you may want to check out this cookbook. I don't have a copy yet, but since the 10th anniversary expanded edition is now available, I'm guessing it's worth a try!
Vegetarian Southern Cookbooks
Like Afro-Vegan, this wonderful cookbook from Angela Shelf Medearis is broader than just Southern food, and is better for it. She includes Southern, Creole and Cajun, African-American and Native American vegetarian recipes alongside African and Caribbean recipes, most of which can easily be adapted to be vegan. I've returned to it time and time again, and I highly suggest it.
This, too, is a reinterpretation of traditional Southern cooking more than a strict "veganization" of the classics. You'll have to ignore the pimento cheese and other dairy-driven recipes, but there should be plenty to make this cookbook it worthwhile for vegan cooks!
Though not everything in this one is super-Southern, it's a good source of soon-to-be staples like the Grit-Style Tofu, lemon-tahini dressing, onion-dijon soup, and the tofu bacon and avocado sandwich. Moreover, the vegan recipes are marked throughout, which makes things much easier.