Recipes

35+ Vegan African Recipes From All Over The Continent

By Lora O’Brien

African food is impossible to define. The continent is so, so rich with hundreds – if not thousands – of different cultures and is bursting with a wide variety of veggies, fruits and spices. Centuries of trade and the blight of colonialism have brought influences to the cuisine here, and today, globalisation plays some role in food trends too. But one thing that all Africans could probably agree on is that meat normally plays a pretty big role in the meals of just about each country in Africa.

But that is changing. As the world wakes up to the benefits of a plant based diet, there are more and more African chefs, bloggers, Instagrammers and foodies sharing vegan African recipes that are revised versions of their favourite dishes.

That’s not to say there aren’t a whole lot of drool worthy vegan delights from Africa – some of my favourites include the salsa-like salad called kachumbari from Kenya; sweetly spicy tagines from North Africa, and the tangy crepes that are used to scoop up different stews from East Africa.

However, unlike Japanese or Italian food, African cuisine hasn’t yet really become ‘a thing’ in the Western world, so you may have to search for some of the ingredients to make these recipes below. You’ll need spices like Ethiopian berbere, North African harissa and maybe some Dukkha – all of which you can easily buy online. Other ingredients like fresh okra, collard greens, plantains and cassava flour may be found in specialised grocery stores in bigger cities, but if you can’t find them, don’t sweat it – kale and Swiss chard can sub in for most greens, and cassava flour (also called yucca or manioc) can usually be replaced with arrowroot or tapioca flour.

1. West African Mango Overnight Oats

What better way to start the day than with a slightly sweet but thoroughly nutritious bowl of fruity oats? They’re soaked in vegan milk to make them creamy and soft, before being topped with a creamy mango sauce and garnished with some crunchy almonds.

Get the recipe here.

2. Vegan Cornbread

Forget your morning bowl of porridge, why not indulge in a little  cornbread? Traditionally titled mealie in Africa, this recipe is a cross between a bread and a cake, with a little sweetness. Cut off a few slices in the morning and top them with a little vegan butter for a super yummy treat anytime of the day.

Get the recipe here.

3. Nutmeg Plantain Pancakes

This is a pretty unique recipe that fuses the flavours of Sierra Leone with…Morocco! The Moroccan touch is from the light spongy semolina pancakes, called  beghrir,  which are apparently very popular breakfast food in that country. The batter for these pancakes creates hundreds of holes, which are ideal for soaking up the toppings of nutmeg and plantains from Sierra Leone.

Get the recipe here.

4. East African Breakfast Wraps

The omelette in this recipe has been given a vegan makeover using tofu which has been blended up with chickpea flour, spices and are then laced with lots of veggie goodness. The end result is a soft and light omelette, and zero eggs were used! Impressed? Wait until you taste it. The omelette is then wrapped in a chapati, but you could use tortilla wraps if that’s all you’ve got on hand.

Get the recipe here.

5. Misr Wat (Ethiopian Spiced Red Lentils)

This recipe is hot, it’s filling and most importantly it’s super simple to throw together. This is a red lentil stew that is simmered with tomatoes and then flavoured with berbere chili. Add a dollop of vegan yogurt or sour cream to cool the palette against the spice, and tuck in!

Get the recipe here.

6. Ethiopian Collard Greens

This Ethiopian recipe, traditionally known as  Ye’abasha Gomen, is a dish of braised greens and kale that has been seasoned with aromatic flavours such as cardamon and coriander, and will go well with a lentil stew (like the one above). It’s also a really great way to pack more greens into your diet in a fun and delicious way.

Get the recipe here.

7. Chermoula-Spiced Karantita & Pomegranate Salad

Karantita is a cross between a pancake and a flatbread, and is made using chickpea flour, olive oil and water. It’s really simple to make, and makes a great mid-week dish. Pair it with a fresh and crunchy pomegranate salad and the infusion of textures will truly blow your mind – and tastebuds.

Get the recipe here.

8. Curry Chickpeas Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

You can’t really go wrong with a stuffed potato, am I right? It always hits the spot, and this curried chickpea topping is going to really bring this dish to life. The chickpeas are simmered in an aromatic curry and coconut sauce and then topped onto the baked potatoes.

Get the recipe here.

9. Atakilt Wat (Ethiopian Spiced Cabbage, Carrot & Potatoes)

This dish is a popular side dish for any Ethiopian meal. Made from cabbage, carrots and potatoes that have been spiced with fragrant berbere seasoning, it’s packed with flavour. Serve this alongside some simmered lentils and Ethiopian flatbread for a quick and totally satisfying dinner.

Get the recipe here.

10. Spiced Cauliflower and Almond Soup

This elegant Moroccan soup sounds luxurious but is pretty easy to make! There are only around 5 easy-to-find ingredients, and it’s bound to impress any dinner guests. Serve it up before a tagine for a hearty, plant based meal.

Get the recipe here.

11. Callaloo Soup

This dish originated in West Africa, and was brought to the Caribbean in the 17th century, where it’s still a firm favourite. Callaloo soup may vary from place to place, but there’s really no right or wrong way to make it. The key ingredient is either callaloo of dasheen leaves. Although this soup would traditionally have meat in it, this vegan version focuses on veggies to bulk it out. Oh, and if you have no idea what callaloo is or where to find it, try kale or Swiss Chard instead.

Get the recipe here.

12. Vegan Jollof Rice

Jollof rice is a classic West African dish, and I can see why! Filled up with tomatoes, onion and an array of spices, the jollof rice makes a side dish that is jam packed with flavour and is a dish that will bring a lease of life to any meal you decide to make. In fact, it’s so delicious, no one would blame you for eating this as a main itself!

Get the recipe here.

13. Akara-Nigerian Black-Eyed Pea Fritters

These tempting Nigerian black-eyed pea fritters are a popular treat you’ll often find street vendors selling, served alongside a local chilli sauce named Red Kosayi. They’re crispy on the outside, and once you bite inside you’ll find they’re soft and subtly spiced.

Get the recipe here.

14. Roast Jerk Plantains

These roasted jerk plantains may just take over your love of fries! They’re healthier as they’re baked and not fried, and they’re sweet, a little spicy, with a slightly exotic vibe to them. They’re topped with slices of onion and bell pepper, and whether you choose to have these as a vegan meal or a side, they’re super addictive!

Get the recipe here.

15. Coconut & Turmeric Roast Potatoes

If you’ve not really dabbled with coconut flour until now, you need to become acquainted with it, as it’s the real star of the show in this recipe. It gives these roast potatoes the most delicious coating, whilst the turmeric adds a golden hue and a kick of antioxidants. These potatoes are crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside; true perfection.

Get the recipe here.

16. Chilli-Garlic Tofu Noodle Bowls with Crispy Okra

This may be a slightly Asian flavoured recipe, but it features a seriously African veggie: okra. Originally from Africa, okra is a edible green seed pod, and has been crisped up in this dish to add a gorgeous crunch. All you need to do is slice them into thin strips, toss them into a little cornflour and then plunge them into hot oil and dry for around 2-3 minutes. Once they’re crispy and golden, they’re ready to add to a dish, and they go superbly in this tofu bowl.

Get the recipe here.

17. Ratatouille (Nigerian Interpretation)

Ratatouille may be a dish that originated in France but this recipe has some serious Nigerian infusions! The end result? A wonderful vegan dish nicely coated in a rich tomato sauce. It’s warm, it’s filling and it’s damn delicious!

Get the recipe here.

18. Sweet Potato, Kale and Peanut Stew

This recipe just makes me drool, because it’s got three of my favourite ingredients in it…and because the weather is cooling down, so I’m planning to make some this week. Can. Not. Wait!

Get the recipe here.

 

19. Suya Spiced Vegetable Kebabs

Suya is a popular street food found in Nigeria, and is similar to that of a shish kebab. Chunks of meat are skewered and spiced before being grilled over charcoal. Kebabs are pretty easy to make vegan friendly; simply throw out the meat and replace them with chunky veggies such as red onion, bell peppers and mushrooms but chunks of potato would also work so well with these kebabs.

Get the recipe here.

20. Roast Veggie Moroccan Tagine

This recipe has all the components to make a wonderful meal; roasted veggies, rich tomato sauce with a spicy harissa gravy – yum! This will bring a little African love right to your very own dinner table. And who doesn’t love cooking a good tagine? Serve with or without some couscous.

Get the recipe here.

21. Vegan Chicken and Dumplings

It’s a favourite throughout many countries on the continent, but who would have thought you could make chicken and dumplings vegan? It’s all down to some nice, hearty seitan! (not great for the gluten intolerant, mind you).

Get the recipe here.

22. The Notorious Gatsby – Veganised!

A Gatsby is a much loved, very sloppy South African sandwich. It’s traditionally a foot-long and stuffed with all kinds of fillings such as onions, cheese and meat of choice, and then sliced into four portions. Well, the Gatsby has been made vegan friendly in this recipe, and has all kinds of tastes and textures, from the gherkins and soy mince to the delicious caramelised onions and the vital Gatsby ingredient: spicy fries!

Get the recipe here.

23. Vegan African Peanut Stew with Eggplant & Okra

Peanut soup is a staple in African cuisine, and this stew is like tucking into a warming bowl of peanut butter, with added veggies and harissa spice. The colour alone is stunning; but thanks to the peanut butter it’s wonderfully creamy and hearty at the same time. You’ll want to dunk a chunk of bread to mop up all that glorious sauce!

Get the recipe here.

24. Baked Stuffed Plantains with Black Beans

Plantain, a member of the banana family, is incredibly popular in African cuisine, and they’re not only full of minerals and nutrients, but they’re great for your health, too. The plantains are baked and then stuffed with a black bean mixture. The blend of sweet plantain and savory beans works together wonderfully!

Get the recipe here.

25. Yam & ‘Egg’

This dish is incredibly popular in many Nigerian households. In fact, this dish is pretty iconic! The yams are topped with a delicious scramble, which is super easy to make vegan friendly with the help of tofu and a little turmeric to give it that authentic yellow hue. I mean, c’mon, this looks scarily like real eggs, right?!

Get the recipe here.

26. Vegan Bobotie

Bobotie (ba-boh-tea) is the national dish of South Africa; comfort food at its finest. A mixture of curried meat and fruit is topped with an egg-based topping.  This version switches out the meat and used mushrooms for that meaty texture, and has a creamy, egg-free vegan sauce topping it all off.

Get the recipe here.

27. Sauced Tofu & Plantain

The inspiration behind this recipe came from  gizdodo, which is a combination of plantain and *ugh* gizzards, that is simmered in a rich, tomato sauce. Well, this is a vegan friendly recipe, so the meat is switched out for extra firm tofu which is great as it’s easy to season, and in this recipe is soaks up all of that delicious flavour from the tomato sauce, yum!

Get the recipe here.

28. South African Bunny Chow with Chickpeas

Bunny chow, often just called bunny in South Africa, is a popular fast food option. A loaf of bread is hollowed out and then filled with curry. The mini ciabatta rolls work as a makeshift bowl and mop up all of that delicious curry sauce – it’s all just finger lickin’ good!

Get the recipe here.

29. Raw Veggie Stew With Cauliflower Couscous

Not only is this stew recipe vegan, it’s also raw, making it super healthy! The veggies may not be cooked, but there’s no lack of North African spice in this tasty and filling dish.

Get the recipe here.

30. Ethiopian Black Eyed Peas with Coconut Milk

This high protein dish is pretty easy to make, and comes with a seriously fragrant habanero–don’t leave it out if you think it may burn your mouth, though! This one’s not too hot because it’s seeded, and it adds a fruity, tropical flavor

Get the recipe here.

31. Zambian Ifishashi and Nshima

Nshima is an essential element of traditional  Zambian  and other southern African cuisines. It’s basically a dough made with maize flour, and is commonly also referred to as Fufu. It can be consumed slightly sweet with milk in the form of a porridge, for breakfast. For other meals, like these green veggie fritters topped with peanuts, it is served as an accompaniment, and is eaten with the fingers. Ready to try something totally different?

Get the recipe here.

32. Ethiopian Injera

Injera is a sourdough crepe that’s commonly eaten in not only Ethiopia, but Yemen and Somalia, too. It’s served like a plate, dotted with dollops of stews, spiced lentils and salad. A big platter is served to all sitting at the table, and then you take your own little rolled up injera in your hand and scoop whichever veggie dish you want up with it. It’s a lovely way to share a meal with friends, and the variety of foods and flavours offered up on these crepes means this dish is pretty much vegan heaven!

Get the recipe here.

33. Vegan Foul Medames

This dish is popular not only in North East Africa, but around Arabia, too. It’s basically just a recipe for some of the tastiest fava beans you’ll ever have. The only way I would make it better? Always use FRESH tomatoes, not tinned, as the video recipe suggests.

Get the recipe here.

34. Egg-free (Vegan) Koeksisters

Koeksisters are a popular South African doughnut that is coated in a sweet and sticky syrup. They’re deep-fried, they’re crispy on the outside and deliciously doughy on the inside and they’re basically delicious. What’s more, they’re egg-free and totally vegan!

Get the recipe here.

35. Orange, Fig & Baobab Cheesecake

With baobab grown in Africa, it’s only fitting that we use it in a recipe, and what better way than with cheesecake? Baobab is high in vitamin C and antioxidants, so this is a dessert that is really healing. The cheesecake itself is incredibly creamy and that baobab superfood goes so well against the citrus of the orange and sweet, juicy figs.

Get the recipe here.

36. Puff Puff (fried dough balls)

Another deep fried dish – not the healthiest, I admit, but the ingredients are pretty easy to find, and these babies also go down a treat when dunked into a steaming coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Often called mendazi, this is a pretty popular treat in several African nations.

Get the recipe here.

Main image: Whats4eats



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