The fundamentals of cooking vegan soul food
Soul food, a cuisine associated with African Americans in the southern United States, includes black-eyed peas, collard or mustard greens, cornbread and mac and cheese, to name a few. All can be easily made vegan, with maybe the exception of smoked meat in greens.
“For the soul food, I literally use all the exact spices that [my grandmother, mother and aunts] would use to season their food,” Pernell said.
To achieve the same flavor as meat, smoke hickory wood chips in water on the stovetop and then use that pot to cook the peas and greens, Pernell suggested. You can also pour in a bit of liquid smoke, which is sold in the condiments section in many stores.
For indulgent mac and cheese, reserve some of the pasta water. For the creamy, cheesy texture and flavor for a 1-pound box of pasta, Pernell recommended using 1 cup of pasta water; 2 cups of plain, unsweetened almond or soy milk; 1 cup of nondairy cheese; and the same seasonings (such as salt, pepper, granulated garlic and onion, and paprika).
For melt-in-your-mouth cornbread, use a traditional recipe with a few swaps: the flax mixture or aquafaba for eggs; soy, almond or oat milk for milk and vegan butter for regular butter.