Biscuits and gravy. Fried Green Tomatoes. Pot Pie. Pecan Pie. Growing up in Alabama, I grew up on a diet of fried everything and dairy anything. The South loves their comfort food. Entire get-togethers can be centered around a meal, and for us Southerners, food is a way of life.
I always love the feeling a warm delicious, home cooked meal makes me feel, and Southern Comfort Food is no exception. A good, Southern meal can harken back to long talks on the back porch under a brilliant starlit sky. It may seem hard to make these classic foods if you are trying to go dairy-free or eat more plant-based foods – but I’m here to tell you that with a little creativity, it can, in fact, be done.
There is nothing better than waking up to golden, flakey, buttermilk biscuits to pair with small pats of melting butter or your favorite jam. Biscuits can be a part of any meal and compliment a variety of dishes from Tofu Scramble with Spinach to Roasted Rosemary String Beans to Country “Meatloaf” With Gravy. Biscuits are easy and can be made using plant-based milks instead of dairy milk and non-dairy butter instead of butter. If you’re in a pinch, you can even purchase Bisquick for an easy, fast, but still delicious biscuit recipe!
2. Fried Green Tomatoes
Not only a fantastic film, Fried Green Tomatoes are also a delicious dish can be served as a delightful side or as the star of a blissful sandwich. Fried green tomatoes are a staple of any true southerner’s diet. They can be prepared a variety of ways – using flour and cornmeal or breadcrumbs and spices. Pair them with a delicious sandwich and use some Creamy Low-Fat Vegan Mayo or create a healthier and not-so-fried take with these tasty Oven-Baked Green Tomatoes. I personally like using breadcrumbs with a mixture of paprika, salt, and pepper. It makes them smokey, spicy, and sinful. Non-vegan versions often call for egg, but it is not essential. I have used a flax egg mixture with a tiny bit of milk added and coated the sliced green tomatoes in that before dipping them in the breadcrumb mixture.
3. Pot Pie
Pot pies are often associated with those inexpensive boxed pies found in the frozen foods section of a grocery store. If that is the only pot pie your taste buds have known, then stop what you’re doing and go make this pot pie. This Tofu Pot Pie Casserole is an easy, fast, and delicious way to have the familiar Southern taste veganized. Don’t be afraid of the tofu inside, either! You could easily convince a meat lover to try this pot pie casserole and fall in love. Non-dairy milk makes it creamy, and a variety of common veggies make this simple and satisfying! It’s crucial to bake the dough and crust correctly as you don’t want it chewy or burnt! The crust, after all, is what makes the dish.
4. Pecan Pie
This list would not be complete without some sort of dessert, and I battled between including banana pudding or pecan pie, and this recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pie won me over. Southern life revolves around meals, food, and good conversation. What a better way to end a meal than with this decadent dessert? This one contains simple ingredients and is easy to prepare. There is no better end to a meal and gathering than slicing up one of these pies, sipping on some coffee, and talking long into the evening.
Call up your closest friends and family and prepare a meal together. Spend the time creating dishes like the ones above, and spread the love through good food and good conversation.
Lead image source: Curry Gravy Vegetable Pot Pie