Being A Black Vegetarian

When I first gave up meat, the conversation I had with my great grandmother on Thanksgiving didn’t go entirely well.

She said to me excited, “Chelsea, I cooked the collard greens with turkey neck.” I had been on and off with red meat and pork since I was a kid so it was a very sweet sentiment for my grandmother to change her way of cooking for me.

I responded, “Oh, thanks Grannie. But I don’t eat meat anymore.”

My grandmother did a quick gasp and told me, “Well, I don’t know why in the shit you came here. Up there with them white folks.”

She continued to mumble some stuff about white people and vegetarians while stirring the pot of greens. Even though she was kidding, she was right. I was missing out on so much at Thanksgiving. I was missing out on pretty much everything except for the mac n’ cheese and pecan pie. (Now that I’m trying more of a vegan diet, I can’t even have that.) But being a vegetarian isn’t only for white people. It’s for everybody. Kale… collards… we practically invented that shit.

But it’s very hard to convince my great grandmother of this when she’s been eating her way for nearly a century, which is why we have to educate young people on the benefits of adopting a more plant based diet: 1) It’s more sustainable. The amount of water that goes into producing a pound of beef is ridiculous. 2) In many ways, it can be more affordable. The cauliflower “chicken” recipe I’m going to show you costs approximately $10 to make, and 3) it’s healthier. The animals you eat are drugged up to the max.

Although you can’t deny that soul food isn’t good, we can most certainly agree its not good for us. We don’t have to live on a slave diet anymore. We can eat better. We can live better.

I did a variation of the Spicy Fried “Chicken” Cauliflower from Jenné Clairborne’s site You can find it here for the full list of ingredients and instructions. I absolutely love her site. Fried chicken is the only thing I miss since I’ve become a vegetarian, and I was craving it today. I’m so glad that I came across her blog!


Sweet Potatoes and Collard Greens:

  1. Brown Sugar
  2. Black Pepper

Fried “Chicken” Cauliflower:

  1. Almond Milk
  2. Dijon Mustard
  3. Nutritional Yeast
  4. Corn Starch
  5. Cayenne Pepper
  6. Creole Seasoning
  7. Black Pepper
  8. Sea Salt

*Tip: Make sure you don’t heat your oil too hot and always watch your “chicken”. It will burn. 


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