Culture Tuesday is a weekly column in which Best of Vegan Editor Samantha Onyemenam explores different cultures’ cuisines across the globe through a plant-based and vegan lens. Before you start exploring vegan Native American recipes, you might want to click here to read her original column about Native American cuisine.
Culture Tuesday – 10 Vegan Native American Recipes You Need To Try
This is a complementary piece to the article on Native American cuisine. In this piece, you will be introduced to 10 vegan Native American recipes. These recipes are great for appetizers, breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner meals. They are all rather easy-to-follow recipes making them great additions to your cooking repertoire.
In this recipe, Alana teaches how to make the perfect doughs for tortilla, fry bread, and biscuits in a way that’s easy to remember and follow.
Traditionally, these recipes are eyeballed by experienced home cooks without measurements being taken. Therefore those new to making these breads and pastries have to go through a lot of trial and error to discover the right combination of ingredients to make these breads and pastries to desired textures, consistency, and flavor.
Blue corn mush is a beloved and popular Native American breakfast food. It is made through a heated combination of roasted blue cornmeal, juniper ash, and water and sometimes topped off with locally sourced and/or indigenous fruits and seeds.
It is flavorsome, fragrant, nutritious, and filling.
Unlike western cakes which are sweet, contain a rising agent, and are mostly baked in a pan set in a hot oven, Apache Sunflower Cakes are savory, do not contain a leavening agent, and they have fewer ingredients than the average cake, and they are fried. Therefore, the resulting dish is denser with a more pronounced flavor.
In this recipe, Chef Otaktay combines four ingredients- sunflower seeds, salt, water, and flour, and fries them till firm and perfectly golden to make a delicious sunflower cake.
The name of this bread was not misspelled. Banaha bread is a Choctaw-Chickasaw dumpling-esque boiled bread made from a cornmeal dough. The dough is made through a combination of cornmeal, baking soda, salt, and hot water. This dough is wrapped in corn shucks, which can be described as a natural foil paper (tin foil/aluminum foil), and cooked in boiling water until the cornmeal mixture becomes firm and holds its shape well.
Blueberry and peach salsa is a fresh sweet, savory, and spicy condiment made through a combination of blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, spring onions (green onions/scallions), lime juice, salt, pepper, minced garlic, and herbs. It is often served with blue corn tortilla chips as a snack or appetizer.
Wojapi is a sweet berry condiment. It is made from chokeberries (can be substituted with blueberries) which are cooked in simmering water until they disintegrate. The broken-down berries are combined with a natural sweetener and a thickener (such as cornstarch or arrowroot) to create a soft jam-like consistency and a condiment that can be served on bread, drizzled over desserts or other dishes, including savory ones, which it can give a complementary and contrasting flavor to.
Three Sisters Stew is one of the most popular Native American dishes. It is made from the three sisters – squash, corn, and beans – plants grown together as they nourish and support each other while providing great nutrition to those who consume them.
The stew is made by simmering the three sisters, onions, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, barley, and black pepper in water over a long period of time to make a filling, hearty, nutritious, and delicious meal.
Although this is a salad, it can also be eaten as a complete meal. It is sweet, savory, spicy, and fragrant through a balanced mixture of blueberries, maple syrup, sweetcorn, lime juice, cucumbers, jalapeño peppers, purple onions, and wild rice. The ingredients are left to marinate together prior to being served in desired quantities as a side dish or main meal.
Kanuchi or kanunchi, is the Cherokee name for hickory nuts. It is also the name given to the flavorsome light sauce made from these nuts.
The process of making the dish, kanuchi, starts with the handling of the hickory nuts. They are pounded in a kanona (a mortar and pestle made from a hardwood tree trunk) until their natural oils are released and the nuts become softer and can clump together to form balls. These balls are crumbled into water as it boils to impart flavor, oil, and thickening properties into it. Undissolved bits of it are strained out and the water is left to continue boiling until it thickens to a creamy consistency. The resulting sauce is seasoned with maple syrup and salt then ladled over starchy foods such as sweet potatoes and wild rice to give them more flavor.
Cherokee bean bread is made through a combination of cornmeal, baking soda, salt, and cooked pinto beans (with some of the hot cooking water). While hot, the combination is kneaded into a dough and cooked in boiling water until it becomes firm.