Good for the Soul and Diet: Southern Cooking Goes Meatless this Monday

January 21st, 2013

Soul food fests, cook-offs and luncheons will be taking place across the country this week in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But as the new PBS documentary, Soul Food reveals, this traditional diet of fried foods and processed meats can have an impact on our health. Thankfully, there are many delicious ways to celebrate the culture and unique flavors of the South while enjoying a healthy, Meatless Monday meal.

Schools, hospitals and restaurants throughout the southern states have already discovered how easy it can be to start the week with healthier versions of America’s favorite comfort foods. The Pig, a renowned BBQ restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC is one of dozens of eateries across the region that have official Meatless Monday offerings. Dishes like Country Fried Tofu, Smoked Sweet Potatoes and Shiitake Po-Boys ensure that patrons enjoy a tasty sampling of southern fare without the saturated fat. Texas Health’s network of two dozen hospitals has removed deep fryers from the kitchen and started hanging Meatless Monday posters in their cafeterias each week. And schools like Tulane University, the University of Alabama and Duke University now share the benefits of Meatless Monday meals with students on campus.

Add a bit of soul to your Meatless Monday this week! Whether you’re looking to lighten up a family favorite or just want to try something new, there are plenty of meatless options out there that embrace the soul food tradition. Learn more about the roots of southern cuisine with an interview and recipe selection from Chef Bryant Terry, author of Vegan Soul Food, or check out 25 great meal ideas from the Vegetarian Times. Thinking about whipping up some comfort food this week? Try our featured recipe for Roasted Okra Creole!