I’m not going to lie; I’ve always thought that being a vegan was simply out of the question for me because it would be virtually impossible for me to go on in life without stuffing my face with delicious, meat-laden African dishes. However, after checking out some of the recipes in Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Rem..., it’s clear that it is totally possible to incorporate traditional African, Caribbean, and Southern flavors into Vegan cooking, and that one day I might actually have a shot at veganism!
By Damola Durosomo, AFROPUNK Contributor
Renowned chef and health activist, Bryant Terry shows us how we can do so by sharing some of his beautifully crafted Afro-Vegan recipes. He presents delicious recipes that incorporate an assortment of wholesome and savory ingredients.
Bryant adds a vegan twist to classics like Jamaican Patties, Spice Cake (pictured left) and grits as well as other dishes with unique and vibrant flavors such as Creamy Coconut-Cashew Soup with Okra, Corn and Tomatoes and Cinnamon-Soaked Wheat Berry Salad with dried apricots, carrots, and almonds all inspired by traditional cultural cuisine.
Through sharing these eclectic recipes, Bryant examines the cultural and historical significance of these dishes. What makes this book even more awesome is the fact that each recipe is accompanied by a suggested song, which I think is totally fantastic because there is truly no better combination in this world than food and music!
You can even check out the Afro-Vegan Spotify mix here and while you’re at it, check out some of Bryant’s recipes below:
2 lb. seitan, cut into medallions
5 Tbs. arrowroot powder
1 cup plus 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 large onion, thinly sliced (2 cups)
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Mixed Mushroom Gravy
2 cups mushroom Stock
1 cup finely chopped green cabbage
2 jalapeno chiles, minced (2 Tbs.)
¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
2 Tbs. chopped parsley
1. Coat seitan pieces with arrowroot.
2. Heat ½ cup oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Fry half of seitan in oil 3 minutes per side.
3. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plate. Discard oil, wipe out skillet, and repeat with ½ cup oil and remaining seitan. Discard oil.
4. Add remaining 2 Tbs. oil and onion to hot skillet. Increase heat to high, and sauté 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, and sauté 10 minutes more. Add garlic and sauté 3 minutes. Stir in Mixed Mushroom Gravy, “Shroom Stock, and seitan. Cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Add cabbage, and cook 3 minutes. Stir in jalapeños, green onions, and parsley.
Pan-Fried Grit Cakes with Crispy Leeks, Garlic and Thyme
extra-virgin olive oil
1 large bunch of small leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups unflavored rice milk
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup stone-ground corn grits
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil with the leeks and the cayenne. Turn the heat to medium-low and sauté gently until well browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2. In a medium-sized nonstick sauté pan, combine the rice milk with the stock, cover, bring to a boil and boil for about 3 minutes. Uncover and whisk the grits into the liquid until no lumps remain.
3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes with a wooden spoon to prevent the grits from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
4. Add the leeks mixture, salt and thyme and stir well. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
5. Pour the grits into a 2-quart rectangular baking dish or a comparable mold and spread them out with a rubber spatula (the grits should be about 1/2-inch thick). Refrigerate and allow the grits to rest until firm, about 3 hours or overnight.
6. Preheat the oven to 250°F.
7. Slice the grits into 2-inch squares.
8. Line a couple large plates with paper towels. In a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is hot, pan-fry the cakes for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside (do this in several batches to avoid overcrowding the pan). Transfer the cooked cakes from the skillet to the plates to drain, and then hold them in the oven until all the cakes are cooked.
9. Serve immediately.
These flavorful recipes will definitely get you excited about vegan cooking! They are perfect for anyone trying to spice up their vegan menu or anyone trying to adopt a vegan lifestyle. Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed proves that following a vegan diet does not mean you have to skimp out on all the delightfully tasty dishes that most of us have grown up on! Be sure to check out Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed, out on April 8th.
You can pre-order it now on IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Google Books, Amazon.
More images from the book, including Summer Veg Kebabs w/ Pomegranate-Peach sauce,
Peach Millet Smoothie, Sweet Potato and Lima Bean Tagine and more: