Jambalaya, Mac ’n’ Cheese, BBQ, and More: 19 Healthy Southern Vegan Recipes

By Megan Edwards,

With its aromatic seasonings and finger-licking sauces, Southern cuisine is world-renowned for its ability to transform the most common ingredients into something truly special. While meat, dairy, and oil often feature heavily in Southern cooking, we’ve given whole-food, plant-based makeovers to some of the most recognizable dishes to preserve traditional flavors while putting plants at the center of your plate. From cornbread to Creole jambalaya and gooey mac ’n’ cheese, these healthy vegan Southern recipes will make you want to dance in the street like it’s Mardi Gras.

Jackfruit Vegan Jambalaya in a large pot with a spoon to the side - Hearty vegan fall stew

Jackfruit Jambalaya

One of our most beloved recipes across all cuisine styles, this rich jambalaya recipe uses jackfruit to replicate the meaty texture you would typically get from pork and shrimp. Kidney beans and brown rice add satisfying heft, while punchy Creole seasoning puts the South in your mouth. Garnish each serving with chopped parsley for a hunger-busting meal that will warm you up from the inside out.
Vegan Southern Green Beans in a white casserole dish

Vegan Southern Green Beans

Southern cuisine is all about comfort food, and we think more people would enjoy eating their veggies if they tasted like this. Tender green beans get an upgrade when they’re simmered in a smoky, spicy veggie broth and topped with tangy red onions and a generous crack of black pepper. Place a big platter of these beans on the table at your next family gathering when you need an irresistible side dish that will leave guests licking their plates.
Vegan Cornbread in a white square dish with parchment paper underneath

Classic Vegan Cornbread

No vegan Southern feast is complete without a piping hot skillet of cornbread. This fluffy plant-based version is studded with red bell pepper and whole corn kernels to add bursts of juicy sweetness to each bite. Applesauce and maple syrup replace the standard cane sugar, which makes this recipe healthier than most traditional versions, without sacrificing flavor. Slather each slice with homemade corn butter, and dig in!
Tempeh BBQ Sandwiches with Pineapple Slaw on a white plate

Tempeh BBQ Sandwiches with Pineapple Slaw

Bring the bayou into your backyard at your next plant-based BBQ with these delicious sandos. Equal parts saucy, meaty, crunchy, and refreshing, this recipe features gooey, smoky tempeh, mushrooms, and wheat berries, which get stacked onto whole wheat buns and topped with a pineapple and purple cabbage slaw. Trust us when we say the contrast between the BBQ mixture and the fruity slaw is a match made in cookout heaven.
vegan mac and cheese

Stove-Top Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

In the South, it seems as if everyone’s grandma has the all-time best mac ’n’ cheese recipe. While it may not be a family tradition passed from one generation to the next, our vegan mac n’ cheese will soon become the most requested dish at all your big gatherings. A velvety puree of potatoes, carrots, onion, and cashews replaces the dairy, while nutritional yeast, garlic, and turmeric punch up the flavors. You’ll be fixing for a second helping before you’ve even finished the first!
Two vegan banana pudding parfaits in glass jars, showing layers of pudding and vanilla oats

Southern-Style Banana Pudding Parfaits

Dig into these divine pudding parfaits when you’re craving a sweet treat that’s packed full of good-for-you ingredients. Luscious layers of banana pudding are stacked with whole banana rounds and crunchy vanilla-infused oats in clear glasses to create a dessert that tastes as lovely as it looks. One happy reader writes, “This is the first time I’ve been able to enjoy banana pudding since becoming WFPB. Thank you so much for creating a fabulous recipe!”
Jambalaya-Style Collard Wraps in a white dish next to a metal fork

Jambalaya-Style Collard Wraps

Collard greens are essential eating in the South, and we love using the sturdy greens in place of tortillas for Cajun-inspired wraps. Red beans and rice take center stage for the jambalaya filling, which is infused with spicy seasonings and dotted with fresh veggies. Simply place a hearty spoonful of the filling into each leaf, roll it up, and keep it in the fridge for an easy grab-and-go lunch.
Air-Fried Green Tomatoes on a white plate with dipping sauce

Air-Fried Green Tomatoes

Fix up a plate of these crunchy air-fried snacks when tomato season is in full swing and watch how quickly they disappear. Each juicy slice is coated in seasoned bread crumbs and cooked to golden brown perfection sans oil. Our homemade vegan dill ranch dip is the perfect complement to the savory flavors and delivers a cooling, creamy texture to balance out the crispy tomatoes.
Cheesy Vegan Pimiento Mac in a white bowl

Vegan Pimiento Cheesy Mac

This elevated mac ’n’ cheese recipe will be the belle of the ball at your next potluck. Classic elbow noodles are doused in a creamy chickpea-based sauce that’s infused with the savory notes of mustard powder and nutritional yeast, but the exciting twist comes in the form of sweet pimiento peppers, which add a delicious depth of flavor and a lovely pop of color. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, and enjoy this pretty pasta when you’re in need of a noodle-forward dish.
Healthy Vegan Bananas Foster with aquafaba whipped cream in a white casserole dish

Healthy Vegan Bananas Foster

While our version of bananas foster skips the butter and rum, it’s still packed with finger-licking flavors that will leave you drooling for more. Sliced bananas are brushed in cinnamon- and vanilla-infused maple syrup before going under the broiler to create a crispy, caramelized layer that’s a treat to eat. Served with Aquafaba Whipped Cream, this healthy twist on a Southern classic is easy and oh-so satisfying.
jackfruit barbecue sandwiches

Jackfruit Barbecue Sandwiches with Broccoli Slaw

No vegan Southern recipe collection would be complete without a saucy BBQ sandwich. Meaty jackfruit mimics the texture of pulled pork and absorbs the homemade smoky-sweet sauce like a pro. Each spectacular sandwich features a whole wheat burger bun, a hefty pile of jackfruit filling, and a crunchy broccoli slaw that’s brightened up with a squeeze of zesty lime juice. Even the biggest carnivores won’t be able to resist the tantalizing flavors and satisfying heft of these superstar sandos.
New Year's Day Soup

New Year’s Day Soup with Black-Eyed Peas

A staple ingredient in the South, black-eyed peas are said to bring good luck if you eat them on New Year’s Day. We believe this recipe is so delicious that you’ll feel lucky any time of year when you enjoy a bowl of this slurpable soup! The classic peas are joined by collard greens, zucchini, and carrots to create a bountiful veggie medley that’s seasoned with aromatic Italian herbs and spicy red pepper to ensure your Southern vegan meal is bursting with flavor.
1 rise sweet potato dinner rolls for wordpress

Single-Rise Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls

You should never show up to a dinner party empty-handed, and these eye-catching rolls are the perfect offering to turn a normal meal into a fine dining experience. Mashed sweet potato brings earthy sweetness to each tender roll while applesauce and a touch of plant-based milk keep the texture nice and fluffy. Enjoy as a complement to salads, veggie chili, or hearty stews.
Delicata Stuffed Squash with Creole Quinoa Stuffing for wordpress

Delicata Squash with Creole Quinoa Stuffing

These show-stopping stuffed squashes are packed full of finger-licking flavor that will please kids and adults alike. Quinoa, white beans, and chopped veggies are taken from simple to scrumptious with the addition of Creole seasoning and a tangy tomato sauce topper. Bake each edible squash cup in the oven until fork-tender and sprinkle with cheesy nutritional yeast for a satisfying, self-contained meal.
Spicy Collard Slaw in a ceramic bowl on a gray countertop

Spicy Collard Slaw

Take one bite of this tropical slaw and you’ll feel like you’re dancing in a second line street parade. Crisp collard greens are julienned and tossed with a spicy orange dressing, crunchy bell pepper, tangy red onion, and juicy orange segments to create an explosion of texture and flavor. Feel free to switch up the fruit you use: Mangoes or pineapple would be an excellent addition to this colorful collard recipe.
Vegan Sweet Potato Pie in a white pie tin with a slice topped with whipped cream sitting next to it on a saucer

Vegan Sweet Potato Pie

If you have a sweet tooth, this Southern vegan recipe is bound to satisfy your hankering for a tantalizing treat. A creamy sweet potato filling is infused with the warming flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and poured into a homemade crust of oats and sunflower seed butter. Topping each slice with Aquafaba Whipped Cream and an extra dash of cinnamon makes this five-star pie extra decadent and perfect for serving up when company comes calling.
grits and greens with kale

Grits and Greens

Not a fan of grits? Scoop up a spoonful of this wholesome recipe and you’ll be converted by a single bite. Perfect for breakfast or lunch, the creamy, garlicky grits are topped with a savory medley of cooked kale, beans, tomatoes, and bell pepper. Smoky, spicy seasonings dial up the Southern flavors and a squeeze of lemon allows all fresh ingredients to shine. One happy reader says this recipe is “excellent and simple!”
Barbecue Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with onion and cucumbers on a white countertop

Barbecue Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Smoky Jackfruit

Whether you need tasty tailgate grub or a main dish for a backyard cookout, these stuffed sweet potatoes are loaded with hunger-busting ingredients that celebrate the flavors of Southern BBQ. Meaty jackfruit and hearty lentils are slathered in a smoky, tangy sauce that pairs perfectly with the natural sweetness of the tubers. Quick-pickled red onions and diced cucumber add refreshing contrast to all the earthy elements of this fan-favorite recipe, ensuring it will become a regular in your recipe rotation.
Vegetable pot pie

Vegetable Potpie

Potpies are the pinnacle of comfort food, and this veggie-packed pie will both soothe your spirit and satisfy your belly. Mushrooms add a rich umami flavor to the creamy gravy that binds the veggie medley together while a homemade whole wheat crust creates a deliciously crispy lid. Be sure to cut decorative slits in the top of the pie to create an impressive meal that will remind you of your grandma’s home-cooking, minus the unhealthy ingredients.

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About the Author

Headshot of Megan Edwards

About the Author

Megan Edwards

Megan Edwards is a staff writer and content producer for Forks Over Knives. She is also a certified RYT-500 yoga teacher who is passionate about cultivating holistic wellness through plant-based eating, mindful movement, and meditation. With a background in journalism and marketing, she supports both the online presence and quarterly print magazine for Forks Over Knives.
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