Global Westernization and the normalization of the Standard American Diet, laden with processed sugars, trans fats, and animal-derived cholesterol has left many cultures around the world with higher rates of obesity and diet related diseases than ever before. The scientifically proven benefits of a vegan diet are seemingly endless - including lower risks of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, increased energy levels, healthy digestion, and bone health.
African cuisine is among some of the easiest food around the world to veganize due to the fresh produce, hearty grains, and fragrant spices that make up many traditional dishes. Soups, stews, and other dishes with animal products left out or swapped with plant based alternatives can stand up to traditional dishes without sacrificing taste. Here are vegan dishes from various countries in Africa:
Maafe, or African peanut stew, is common throughout West and Central Africa, originating from the Mandinka and Bambara people of Mali. This traditional dish can include meat or seafood, vegetables, and is always based on a savory sauce made from peanut butter and tomatoes. This dish was created by Wendy and Jess of Food Heaven Made Easy, both Registered Dietitians with Master’s degrees in nutrition as well as certified diabetes educators.
Jollof rice is one of the most common dishes in Western Africa, consumed throughout various countries in the region such as Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Gambia, and Senegal. Though the recipe differs from one region to another, it traditionally consists of rice, tomatoes and/tomato paste, onion, spices, chili peppers, vegetables, and animal proteins like meat or fish. Taking an East African spin, this dish was created by Kaluhi Adagala of Kaluhi’s Kitchen. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Adagala uses her blog to promote dishes with a heavy Kenyan influence.
Yetsom Beyaynetu is a vegetarian Ethiopian platter consisting of various bean and vegetable based dishes served with Injera, a spongy sourdough flatbread made from Teff flour. Ethiopians eat exclusively with their hands, using Injera to scoop up the various stews and curries served atop it. Though Ethiopian food is meat heavy, Ethiopia being one of the largest livestock producing nations in the world, vegetable and bean dishes are commonly eaten as well. This recipe was created by Martine of Petit World Citizen, whose runs a blog for people interested in learning through cultural exploration.
Bobotie is a popular South African dish consisting of spiced minced meat with an egg based custard baked on top. Bobotie recipes spread throughout Africa by South African settlers, found today in Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. This recipe was created by Freda Muyambo of The Spruce. Freda is a London based African cuisine enthusiast on a mission to promote the greatness of African food and dispel any negative perceptions of this cuisine.
Puff Puff is a well known West African fried dough ball snack of Nigerian origin, commonly sold in various street food shacks and stalls. Puff Puff is also known in Ghana as Bofrot, in Congo as Mikate, and in Liberia as Kala. This recipe was created by Bintu, who cooks both traditional and fusion African recipes that she learned from her grandmother.
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