Soul food brings the best of Southern cooking to the kitchen with bold flavors and yummy staples.
However, with so much traditional soul food being meat-based, vegan alternatives to popular dishes are needed.
That’s what you’ll get today. Try your hand at these easy vegan soul food recipes and get soulful!
Gumbo is a must-have addition to any soul food lover’s meal plan, but most gumbos use sausage and seafood as primary ingredients.
Try this vegan-friendly version if you’re craving gumbo. It uses tofurky sausage as an optional protein. Load the rest with vegetables, herbs, and spices for a flavorful dish.
2. Sweet Potato Biscuits
Buttery biscuits are perfect sides for gumbo, soup, and casseroles.
These sweet potato biscuits from Make It Dairy Free are as soft and flaky as traditional buttermilk biscuits.
They have a hint of sweetness, too, thanks to the addition of brown sugar. Pair them with a drizzle of vegan cinnamon butter to satisfy your craving.
3. Fried Green Tomato Sandwich
Fried green tomatoes are Southern cuisine’s staples.
Although fans usually enjoy them on their own, they’re also excellent additions to a savory sandwich.
This recipe stacks homemade fried green tomatoes on bread with basil and vegan mayo. Get creative with your choice additions, like avocado or vegan bacon.
4. Grits and Greens
Ask any soul food fanatic what tops their list of favorite dishes, and some form of grits will probably be there.
This recipe combines sauteed greens with smooth, creamy, flavorful grits for a super-savory dish.
Top the grits as you see fit. Scallions, tomatoes, or vegan salsa are tasty options.
5. Red Velvet Cupcakes
When you want a soul-food-style sweet treat, grab one of these red velvet cupcakes from Jessica in the Kitchen.
Made with soy milk, cocoa powder, and vegan butter, and vegan cream cheese, these delectable cupcakes are sure to become a hit.
They store for up to three days in the refrigerator, or you can freeze them for up to three months.
6. Air-Fried Okra
As a classic dish that’s hearty, crunchy, and satisfying, fried okra is traditionally made in a deep fryer.
However, this recipe shows you how to cook yours in an air fryer for a healthier version. A little Cajun seasoning kicks the heat up to just the right level.
7. Dirty Rice
Dirty rice incorporates Creole flavors with fresh, sauteed veggies, brown rice, and meat.
You’ll swap the meat for a vegan burger, chopped up, and stirred throughout the rice mixture in this recipe.
The final result is a tasty dish that’s perfect as an entree side or as a meal by itself.
8. Cajun Red Beans and Rice
Another sought-after meal in the world of soul food is red beans and rice.
Try this recipe from Emilie Eats, which brings tons of flavor from garlic, hot sauce, parsley, and paprika. Optionally, add a little liquid smoke for a bold, smoldering taste.
9. Mushroom and Okra Po’Boy
The po’boy sandwich has its roots in New Orleans culture, a hot spot for American soul food.
This take on the classic sandwich uses fried okra and mushrooms as its “meat,” topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and homemade remoulade sauce.
10. Skillet Nachos
Typical Southern nacho dishes layer nacho chips with ground beef, Cajun seasonings, sausage, beans, and more.
For a vegan-friendly alternative, try this cheesy, loaded nacho dish, complete with spicy jalapenos, kale, green enchilada sauce, and homemade vegan queso.
This recipe is incredibly versatile. Add all your favorite nacho toppings to make it your own.
11. Cauliflower Curry
Although curry stems from South Asian culture, it’s become favored in soul food dishes, too.
There are several ways to tweak curry to your liking, such as adding hot sauce or Creole spices to your blend.
This cauliflower curry recipe incorporates cumin, turmeric, paprika, and coriander, bringing bold flavors to cauliflower cooked in a habanero-coconut milk sauce.
12. Black Bean Burgers
Sweet Potato Soul offers this vegan black bean burger recipe instead of a traditional beef, pork, or sausage patty.
Tajín Clasico adds a tasty kick to the burgers, while a homemade Tajín vinaigrette lends just the right amount of acidity to balance the burger.
Make your favorite guacamole recipe to top things off.
13. Mac and Cheese
Most soul food entrees can pair well with a comforting macaroni and cheese, but this vegan dish can also stand out on its own.
The recipe calls for carrots, potatoes, cashews, butter, and garlic to create a thick and creamy cheese-like sauce that’s also tasty and satisfying.
Vegan Huggs also recommends adding miso paste, dijon mustard, or apple cider vinegar for a little extra sauce flavor.
14. Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta
Unlike many sun-dried tomato pasta dishes that use cream as a base for its sauce, this vegan recipe uses a little vegetable broth to moisten things up.
Make it all in one pan for a fuss-free, easy-to-clean-up meal.
Consider sprinkling your favorite Creole or Cajun seasoning on the pasta before enjoying, or add vegan sausage for some extra protein.
15. Baked Beans
What’s soul food without a side of baked beans?
There’s no need to soak and cook time-consuming dry beans for this recipe. Instead, it calls for canned beans to save time, so you’ll just need to make the tasty sauce that goes with it.
You’ll need ingredients like molasses, brown sugar, vegan Worcestershire sauce, and some hot sauce if you prefer a kick to your baked beans.
The dish bakes for about an hour, giving you time to prepare whatever other goodies you’re cooking with it.
16. Bread Pudding
This vegan bread pudding recipe will have your soul-food-loving heart skipping a beat.
Rather than eggs, you can use ground chia or flaxseeds or some mashed banana, all of which give this pudding just the right consistency.
Top it off with the homemade maple bourbon glaze to create a sweet dessert that everyone will keep wanting the recipe for.
17. White Bean Potato Soup
There are not many foods as comforting as a bowl of soup, and this white bean potato soup is likely to end up high on your list of favorites.
Unlike traditional bean and potato soups, this one incorporates lemon for a little extra zing in the broth. Combined with herby flavors of dill and thyme, this soup is one you’ll keep coming back to any time you want that warm and cozy feeling.
18. Jollof Rice
Jollof rice is a West African dish especially popular in Nigerian culture and has made its way into the Southern United States. The New Orleans area is well-known for serving the flavorful, spicy dish.
The Canadian African created this version of jollof rice using brown rice, veggie stock, tomato paste, and lots of aromatics, including ginger, rosemary, thyme, and garlic.
Be sure not to add too much water to avoid making your rice too mushy.
19. Chickpea Scramble
Chickpeas are impressively versatile. They can be blended into hummus, added to soups, or roasted to add crunch to fajita bowls and other dishes.
This chickpea scramble calls for just a few ingredients and about 15 minutes of your time to create a quick and simple side dish that’s also perfect for adding to salads.
Bonus: Canned chickpeas are 100% acceptable for this recipe.
20. Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potatoes are among the most common vegetables to find in Southern cooking, and they’ve become somewhat synonymous with soul food.
A good, old-fashioned sweet potato casserole is easy to make vegan, like this one from Sweet Tea + Thyme.
It includes instructions for a crunchy streusel topping made with brown sugar, old-fashioned oats, and pecans, which balances out the creamy filling.
21. Pot Pie
Pot pie is one of those dishes that can make you feel at home no matter where you eat it.
Try this recipe that swaps the usual chicken for chickpeas and uses a vegan pie crust brushed with vegan butter to achieve the crispiness you expect from this comforting soul food.
22. “Fish” Fry
Fried fish is just about as popular as fried chicken in soul food culture.
This vegan fish fry uses marinated tofu “fish” wedges to mimic the texture of fried fish. After marinating, bread the tofu wedges with a beer batter that uses equal parts light ale and dark brown lager.
23. Butter Beans
Give yourself some time to create this butter beans recipe from Grandbaby Cakes, as you’ll need several hours to soak dry lima beans.
It’ll be worth it when you taste the finished product, which is creamy, buttery, and smoky, all rolled into one go-to comfort side dish.
24. Buffalo Chicken Dip
Buffalo chicken dip is an excellent addition to a family get-together, and this vegan-friendly alternative ensures that you include all guests.
Use your favorite kind of chicken bite substitute as a chicken alternative. Then, make the sauce using cashews, yeast, buffalo sauce, and a few other ingredients you already have in your pantry.
Serve the dip with tortilla or pita chips.
25. “Shrimp” and Grits
Shrimp and grits go hand-in-hand in Southern soul food culture.
This recipe explains how to use vegan shrimp to recreate this popular dish. It gets loads of flavor from vegan pepper jack cheese, bacon, garlic, lemon, and other tasty ingredients.
26. Maple Cashew Butter
Cashew butter offers a twist on peanut butter, giving you something a little different to add to toast or snack on with celery sticks.
This maple cashew butter from All the Healthy Things requires just five ingredients: cashews, maple syrup, vanilla extract, sea salt, and coconut oil.
Store it in small containers in the refrigerator, and pull one out as needed for a snack or lunch.
27. Collard Greens
Collard greens are a side you’ll frequently find on Southern menus, but there are many different ways to prepare them.
This recipe gives them a little spice with crushed red pepper and hot sauce, but you can easily adjust these ingredients to meet your desired heat level.
28. Nashville Hot Cauliflower “Chicken”
Head to any Southern soul food restaurant, and Nashville hot chicken will probably be on the menu. So, make your own vegan style!
Vegans can swap the chicken with cauliflower to make tasty nuggets with the same flavors you expect from this spicy dish.
Add the nuggets to bread, use them as salad toppers, or enjoy them on their own with a few pickle slices.
29. Shepherd’s Pie
There is no one way to make a soul food shepherd’s pie, and this vegan recipe proves it.
This shepherd’s pie recipe calls for beans rather than chicken or beef, plus mushrooms, carrots, celery, peas, onions, and parsnips to create the base.
You can also add a little reduced wine to give it a bright, acidic flavor.
Pair chili, soup, and your other favorite soul food dishes with sweet and indulgent cornbread.
Mix cornmeal with flax egg, almond milk, applesauce, and a few other ingredients to make this cornbread, which turns out fluffy and full of flavor.
31. Hush Puppies
If you’re not a big fan of cornbread, try hush puppies instead. They also feature cornmeal, but they have crisp outsides, fluffy centers, and a slightly different flavor that might be more your cup of tea.
These bite-sized treats use egg replacer and soy milk to cater to a vegan diet.
32. Deviled “Eggs”
Don’t skip eating deviled eggs — a go-to soul food appetizer — because you’re vegan.
Try this recipe, which turns potatoes into “eggs” to give you a similar texture and flavor as traditional deviled eggs.
Top with dried dill for a tangy kick.
33. Biscuits and Gravy
Good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, biscuits and gravy is a predominant meal in the South.
You’ll use vegan sausage to make the creamy sausage gravy that tops vegan biscuits, for which you can also find the recipe on Cozy Peach Kitchen.
34. Air Fried “Chicken”
It’s nearly impossible to think of soul food and not think of fried chicken.
This recipe from Thank You Berry Much teaches you how to make a buttermilk breading to cover vegan seitan chicken to mimic this Southern staple dish.
The “chicken” pieces take just about 20 minutes to cook in an air fryer.
35. Breakfast Sausage Patties
These sausage patties make excellent additions to breakfast sandwiches or as a side dish to a breakfast scramble or egg alternatives.
You’ll use textured vegetable protein, ground chia, maple syrup, and a few other key ingredients to create these “sausage” patties, with flavorful spices paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder.
Although stuffing is a favorite side dish for many families’ holiday spreads, it’s not uncommon to find on the dinner table more frequently in Southern homes.
Several herbs and spices blend with onions, mushrooms, veggie broth, and vegan butter to make this recipe using day-old bread.
Try it alongside some of the other main entrees on this list, such as shepherd’s pie, air-fried chicken, or black bean burgers.
37. Sweet Corn Salsa
This sweet corn salsa offers just the right balance between savory, sweet, and spicy.
Sweet corn, Roma tomatoes, and fresh jalapeno are a few of the ingredients you’ll need to make this crisp, fresh, and tasty side dish.
38. Mashed Potatoes
This healthy, vegan version of mashed potatoes swaps regular butter and milk or cream with vegan butter and plant-based milk.
The final result is just as creamy and delicious as the original. Top with a few chives and a little extra butter for some added flavor.
39. Spaghetti Bolognese
Although traditionally an Italian dish, spaghetti bolognese has also found its way into soul food kitchens.
Use this recipe from Love & Lemons to make a full-of-flavor vegan bolognese. Then, get creative with some of your top soul food flavors, such as adding a little cayenne pepper or chili powder to the mix.
40. Fried Rice
This corned beef fried rice recipe incorporates Southern flavors for a tasty entree.
We suggest making a large batch of this fried rice to freeze in portioned bags. Then, pull out a portion and cook it in the slow cooker for several hours to have an easy dinner ready to go.
41. Corn Casserole
Corn casserole is like cornbread meets creamed corn. It’s creamy but with a crunchy crust.
This recipe uses vegetarian Jiffy mix, vegan butter, and dairy-free yogurt to adhere to a vegan diet. Still, its final flavors will give you all the feels of comfort food.
42. Coconut Cake
Coconut cake is an ideal way to top off a Southern soul food dinner.
Make this yummy coconut cake in just under an hour using vegan-friendly ingredients, such as egg replacer, vegan butter, and coconut milk.
43. Black-Eyed Peas
Pressure cooker meals are always convenient to have on hand for quick dinners.
Try this black-eyed pea pressure cooker recipe to have with other soul food entrees, such as grits and greens or Nashville hot cauliflower chicken.
Easy Vegan Soul Food Recipes, Final Thoughts
Visiting a soul food restaurant can be a great way to introduce your palate to new soul foods.
However, when you want to try soul food in your own home — and with vegan-friendly options — you can try some of these easy vegan soul food recipes instead.