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. 

Editor’s note: the links in this post are Amazon affiliate links, which isn’t nearly as skeezy as it sounds. Here’s why we use them and how they work.

Vegan Southern Cookbooks

Vegan Soul Kitchen and Afro-Vegan

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.

Cookin’ Crunk: Eating Vegan in the Dirty South

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. 

Good Time Eatin’ in Cajun Country: Cajun Vegetarian Cooking

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!

Hot Damn and Hell Yeah: Recipes for Hungry Banditos

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

The Ethnic Vegetarian

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.

The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook 

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!

The Grit Cookbook

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.


Heather Mount

Heather went vegan in 2016 after watching the Netflix documentary Vegucated. They and their partner, Daniel, live in North Knoxville and enjoy hiking, biking, and exploring local restaurants. Heather is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. Heather is the Associate Creative Director at the Good Food Institute, a non-profit think tank working to make the global food system better for the planet, people, and animals. Heather contributes to Knox Vegan by managing the website, with their photography, and by sharing updates on our social feeds.
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