Vegan Soul Food: Fried Chicken from Mushrooms—and More!

In celebration of Black history all year round, Ri Turner shows us how to make four vegan soul food recipes.

In celebration of Black history all year round, Ri Turner shows us how to make vegan soul food.

Soul food originally came from African American culture. It focuses on creating an experience through food. In this video, Ri walks us through making four different vegan soul food recipes. These include cornbread, collard greens, red beans and rice, and fried oyster mushrooms.

This vegan soul food meal features plant-based fried chicken, cornbread,
This vegan soul food meal features plant-based fried chicken, cornbread, red beans and rice, and collard greens. | Ri Turner/LIVEKINDLY

Vegan Fried Chicken


  • 2 cups sunflower oil, for frying
  • 2 cups spelt flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder, divided
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder, divided
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 of teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 cups mushrooms, shiitake or oyster, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic and herb seasoning


  1. Add oil to a large, deep pan on medium heat until the pan is fully coated.
  2. While the pan is heating, add 1 cup of spelt flour to a large bowl along with 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, salt, pepper, and 1 cup water. Mix this together thoroughly. This will be your wet batter. 
  3. Next, prepare the dry batter in a separate bowl by  adding remaining 1 cup spelt flour, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika. Mix dry ingredients well. 
  4. Add mushrooms to the wet batter, making sure that the mushrooms are all evenly coated. 
  5. Once the mushrooms are evenly coated, add them to the dry batter, tossing vigorously to ensure that each mushroom is (once again) evenly coated. 
  6. Add the mushrooms to the heated pan. Let the mushrooms cook for 5 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown. 
  7. Once finished, add to a plate that has a paper towel or kitchen towel placed on top to catch any excess grease.
  8. Season with garlic and herb seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. 



  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal 
  • 1 cup spelt flour (alternative:gluten free flour or all purpose flour)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt 
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce 
  • 6 tablespoons of earth balance vegan butter, melted
  • 1 1/8 cups of oatly oat milk 


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square or round pan with parchment paper, or lightly coat it with oil to prevent sticking.
  2. Add cornmeal, flour, coconut sugar, salt, and baking powder to a large bowl and whisk together. 
  3. Next, add the apple sauce, vegan butter, and plant milk. 
  4. Stir everything together until it is all well combined. Then, pour cornbread mixture into the pan prepared in step 1. 
  5. Bake on top or middle rack for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. 

Red Beans and Rice


  • 1 cup dry small red beans
  • 6 cloves of garlic 
  • 1/2 onion 
  • 3 celery ribs
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 stem of fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon of ground rosemary 
  • 1 stem of fresh sage leaf
  • 1 stem of fresh thyme leaf
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 veggie bouillon cube

For serving::

  • Cooked rice


  1. Soak beans overnight. This is not necessary when using an Instant Pot or pressure cooker.
  2. If using Instant Pot, pour beans in and add water until about 2 inches above beans.
  3. Set Instant Pot to pressure cook for 25 minutes, or cook for 2-3 hours in a standard pot. Cooking time will vary depending on the age of the beans; while opinions on salting cooking beans vary, it is recommended here to tenderize them.
  4. While the beans are cooking, chop up the garlic, onion, celery, and bell pepper. 
  5. Once beans are finished cooking, add the chopped veggies to the Instant Pot along with oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, smoked paprika, coconut sugar, black pepper, veggie bouillon cube and salt. Give it a good stir. Add more water if needed.
  6. On the instant pot, select the cancel option. Then press pressure cook again, but for 20 minutes this time. Once the beans are finished, allow them to naturally release for 20-30 minutes. 
  7. Once they’ve naturally released, drain them of excess liquid if you need. Add more spices, to taste, and give it a good stir once more. 
  8. Serve with cooked rice.

Collard Greens


  • 1 tablespoon  oil, grapeseed, or sunflower
  • 1/2 onion 
  • 1 medium tomato 
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups of collard greens, chopped
  • 1 32 ounce-can vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic salt


  1. Heat oil in a saucepan on medium to high heat 
  2. While the oil is heating, finely chop the onions, tomato, and garlic.
  3. Add the diced onions, tomatoes, and garlic to the pan. 
  4. While this is cooking, add your collard greens to the pan.
  5. After allowing them to wilt for about 3 minutes, add the vegetable broth, smoked paprika, onion powder, and garlic salt and mix well.
  6. Allow everything to come to a boil. 
  7. Cover with a lid, then allow it to simmer for about an hour stirring occasionally. This will vary depending on how mature your greens are.
  8. Once greens are tender, add more seasoning to taste, if necessary.

Note: Kidney beans are an acceptable alternative to small red beans, which is what this vegan soul food dish traditionally features. Although they look similar, kidney beans are larger and are generally more widely available.

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