Southern Comfort Bowl

By Jackie Sobon | February 24, 2016
When I think of comfort food, I think of Southern cuisine. My versions of some of the Southern classics are healthier but still full of flavor, and this is especially true when it comes to my corn bread and collard greens.


For the corn bread: 
1 tablespoon (7 g) ground flaxseed 
3 tablespoons (45 ml) hot water 
½ cup (70 g) cornmeal 
½ cup (60 g) gluten-free all-purpose flour 
¾ teaspoon salt 
½ teaspoon baking powder 
Pinch of cayenne pepper 
½ cup (120 ml) unsweetened nondairy milk 
½ cup (82 g) sweet corn kernels 
3 tablespoons (45 ml) refined coconut oil, melted 
2 tablespoons (30 ml) agave nectar 

For the chickpea cutlets: 
2 cans (15 ounces, or 425 g, each) chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved 
½ cup (80 g) diced white onion 
¼ cup (30 g) nutritional yeast 
2 tablespoons (30 ml) aquafaba (the liquid drained from the can of chickpeas) 
2 teaspoons salt 
1 teaspoon salt-free poultry seasoning blend 
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
3 tablespoons (30 g) brown rice flour 
1 tablespoon (9 g) cornmeal 
Cooking oil spray

For the okra: 
3 cups (420 g) chopped okra 
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sunflower oil 
½ teaspoon salt 
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
For the collard greens: 
1 tablespoon (14 g) coconut oil 
¼ cup (40 g) diced white onion 
6 ounces (170 g) collard greens, stems removed and chopped 
1 cup (250 g) cooked black-eyed peas 
1½ teaspoons liquid smoke 
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 
½ teaspoon maple syrup 
½ teaspoon salt 
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes 
For chipotle ranch: 
½ cup (120 ml) Irresistible Ranch Dressing (page XX) 
½ teaspoon liquid smoke 
¼ teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder

To make the corn bread: Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6) and coat the cups of a standard muffin pan with a thin layer of coconut oil. 
Whisk the flaxseed and hot water together, and set aside for a few min¬utes to thicken. In a bowl, whisk the cornmeal, gluten-free flour, salt, baking powder, and cayenne. In another bowl, stir together the nondairy milk, corn kernels, melted coconut oil, agave nectar, and flaxseed mixture. 
Fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture until there are no dry clumps and then fill each muffin cup three-quarters full. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before popping the muffins out of the pan. 

To make the chickpea cutlets: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
Pulse the chickpeas and onion in a food processor until it is a crumbly mixture, but not a paste. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the nutritional yeast, aquafaba, salt, poultry seasoning, and black pepper until combined. Sift the rice flour and cornmeal into a shallow dish. Form the chickpea mash into 8 cutlets, and gently press them into the flour mixture to coat all sides. 

Place the cutlets on the baking sheet and coat with a light spray of cooking oil. Bake for 12 minutes, then flip and bake for an additional 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing the cutlets from the baking sheet. Roast the okra at the same time.

To make the okra: In a bowl, toss the okra with the oil, salt, and pepper until evenly coated; spread the okra out on a small baking sheet lined with foil and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. 

To make the collard greens: Melt the coconut oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are translucent. Add the collard greens and black-eyed peas to the pan, and cook for 2 minutes.  Stir the liquid smoke, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and red pep¬per flakes into the greens and cook until the greens are wilted but not mushy. 

To make the chipotle ranch: Whisk the ranch, liquid smoke, and chipotle chile powder together until combined. 

To assemble: Place 2 cutlets and 1 corn bread muffin in each of the 4 bowls, then divide the collards and okra among the bowls. Drizzle each one with 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) of chipotle ranch, and serve. 

Yield: 4 servings

• The liquid drained from a can of chickpeas, called aquafaba, can be used as an egg substitute in vegan cooking, because it has emulsifying and leavening properties. 
• Okra is abundant in the summertime. If you cannot find it fresh, you may use frozen. Completely thaw it and then pat dry with paper towels before roasting.

Excerpted from Vegan Bowl Attack! More than 100 One-Dish Meals Packed with Plant-Based Power by Jackie Sobon. Published by Fair Winds Press in July 2016 (available for pre-order now).


  • Southern Comfort Bowl