A national leader for creating southern soul food with seasonal, farm-fresh ingredients, Bryant Terry uses farm fresh ingredients while honoring the cultural heritage of the African diaspora, encouraging individuals and families to buy whole foods to improve their physical and spiritual health. In the words of Alice Waters, “Bryant Terry knows that good food should be an everyday right and not a privilege.”
Terry is the author of two previously published cookbooks: The Inspired Vegan and Vegan Soul Kitchen. In his new cookbook, Afro-Vegan, he gives American southern soul food a fresh remix, with cultural influences from Africa and the Caribbean and a vegan spin. Terry introduces new flavors and provides musical soundtracks, inspiring books, and films connected to each recipe. Along the way, he traces the history of traditional southern recipes while providing relevant cultural information.
His recipe for smashed potatoes, peas, and corn with chile-garlic oil (provided below this story) is inspired by the flavors of a Kenyan recipe for irio, a seasoned puree of white potatoes, green peas, and corn that is occasionally mixed with greens. The other inspiration comes from Latin American’s tostones—sliced green plantains that are fried, smashed flat, and fried again until they’re crispy. Terry deconstructs both dishes to create a refreshing and spicy smashed potato recipe that serves as a side dish or snack.
The ingredients used in Afro-Vegan’s recipes work with family budgets, and you can find them in most grocery stores’ produce sections. (But they taste better when brought fresh from farmers’ stands or markets, if you have access to those.) They can easily serve as side dishes to a family barbecue or a holiday menu. I enjoyed Terry’s smashed potatoes with seared cumin duck (see recipe below).