Veganism in Southern Cooking: Four Recipes from Mississippi Vegan

Timothy Pakron from Mississippi Vegan is known to revamp Southern favorite dishes that are deeply rooted in plants, while showcasing big and bold flavors with creativity and style. We are excited to share four recipes from his debut cookbook, Mississippi Vegan: Recipes & Stories from a Southern Boy’s Heart and his blog Mississippi Vegan. From a soulful gumbo bursting with vegetables and Creole spices to mouthwatering drop biscuits with a savory mushroom gravy, you’re invited to explore Timothy’s world — and we’re sure you’ll want to stay for dinner!



From Mississippi Vegan

“It was the great, late Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme that taught me that using multiple spices, in particular dried peppers, really makes a dish pop. Because each spice offers a different effect on the tongue, it is important to use multiple varieties. For instance, in this case, by using black pepper, cayenne pepper, white pepper, and paprika all together it creates a powerhouse combination of flavor that explodes in the mouth.” – Timothy Pakron

Makes 10-12 servings

Trinity & Garlic

  • 2 cups onion, chopped (1 medium)
  • 2 cups celery, chopped (about 4 large stalks)
  • 1 ½ cups green bell pepper, chopped (1 large)
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, chopped (1 small)
  • ½ cups garlic, minced

Gumbo Ingredients

  • 8 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable bouillon base
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh tomato, diced
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 Tbsp tamari
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp ume plum or red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp plus ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp hot pepper, minced (optional)
  • 1 tsp stone-ground or Creole mustard
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 cup neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 to 8 bay leaves
  • 2 ears of corn, shucked and cut into 4 pieces each (optional)
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped, more more for garnish
  • 3 cups fresh okra, chopped
  • 4 cups cooked rice, for serving

Creole Spice Blend

  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp smoked or plain sea salt
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp dried ground sage
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Optional Protein Add-ins

  • Pan-fried trumpet mushroom scallops
  • Sauteed whole shiitake caps
  • Pan-fried maitake mushrooms
  1. In a bowl, make the ‘trinity + garlic’ mixture by combining the onion, celery, bell peppers and garlic. Mix well. Remove 1 ½ cups of this mixture and transfer to a separate bowl (you’ll add this to the gumbo towards the end). Set both bowls aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the water, bouillon base, fire-roasted tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, wine, tamari, vinegar, vegan Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, fresh oregano, fresh thyme, hot pepper (if using), mustard, and liquid smoke. Set aside.
  3. Now you are ready to make the roux! In a large, clean, well-greased cast-iron skillet (be sure to wipe out any residue), heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add the flour and stir constantly with a large wooden spatula, until it is well combined. Reduce the heat to medium and continue stirring until the roux is dark brown, 15 to 20 minutes. The goal here is to toast the flour and oil while preventing the mixture from burning. You do this by moving the flour and oil mixture constantly. If you stop for only a moment, the roux will burn and you will have to start over.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the larger amount of the trinity mixture (not the reserved 1 ½ cups). Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Make the Creole spice blend; mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined. Then add the whole spice blend to the vegetables and mix well. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently, toasting all of the spices. Now you have the base of your gumbo!
  6. Transfer the base to a large stockpot. Add the stock mixture, fresh corn (if using), and bay leaves. Mix well, cover, and bring to a boil. Stir every so often to prevent the bottom from burning. Once at a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, to reduce and thicken the gumbo.
  7. Add the green onions, okra, the remaining ½ cup parsley, desired proteins, and the reserved 1 ½ cups trinity garlic mixture. If desired, add 1 to 2 cups of water to loosen the gumbo. Simmer for another 20 minutes. Give the gumbo a taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Feel free to add more cayenne pepper at this point to make it more spicy, if desired.
  8. To serve, ladle gumbo into serving bowls, removing bay leaves. Add a scoop of cooked rice on top and sprinkle with the chopped parsley and green onions.


Easy Baked Rice

From Mississippi Vegan

“This easy baked rice has without a doubt become the only way I cook rice. Simply throw the rice in a pot with water, cover with a lid and bake in a 450°F oven. After only 25-35 minutes (depending on the variety), you will have perfect fluffy baked rice.” – Timothy Pakron

Makes 4-6 servings

  • 2 cups white rice, rinsed thoroughly (basmati, long grain, or jasmine)
  • 2 ½ cups filtered or spring water
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 4 bay leaves, fresh or dried (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450°F

Rinse the rice thoroughly using a fine mesh strainer. The water should run close to clear.

Combine all the ingredients in a pot with a snug-fitting lid. (You can use double wrapped foil if you don’t have a lid you can bake with.) Give a good stir and place the lid (or foil) on top.

Bake basmati for 25 minutes and long grain white/jasmine rice for 35 minutes. Depending on your oven, you might need to bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and fluff the rice with a fork. Crack the lid on top of the rice and let sit for 10 minutes. Enjoy!


Vegan Drop Biscuits

From Mississippi Vegan

“These biscuits are moist, tender, and delightfully rich. Eaten warm out of the oven, to be used for an epic breakfast sandwich, or smothered in my mushroom gravy (see below!) these vegan drop biscuits are utterly delicious. I promise they will become your new go-to recipe.” – Timothy Pakron

Makes 8 servings

  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ Tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 Tbsp cold vegan butter
  • 3 Tbsp melted vegan butter, for brushing
  • 2 Tbsp unmelted refined coconut oil (solid)
  • 1 cup thick, plain coconut yogurt or labneh
  • 1 cup cold plain plant-based milk

Preheat the oven to 475°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and nutritional yeast in a large bowl. Using a fork, vigorously mix the mixture, fluffing everything together, removing any clumps.

Add the cold butter and hard coconut oil. Using the same fork, cut in the butter and oil until you are left with a crumbly texture (the size of large peas). Pour in the milk and yogurt and mix until just combined, making sure to get the dry bits at the bottom of the bowl. The dough should be shaggy.

Using the fork and a spoon to help, transfer 8 mounds of dough onto the lined baking sheet, spacing them with a few inches in between. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden on top, adding a few extra minutes if need be. Remove and brush with melted vegan butter and serve.

Note: If you can’t find non-sweetened, thick coconut yogurt, you can use a total of 1 ¼ cups cold plant-based milk with 1 tsp of vinegar for tang.


Mushroom Gravy

From Mississippi Vegan

“This thick and creamy gravy has an unreasonable amount of savory deliciousness. If you were ever curious as to what ‘umami’ means — this is the definition. Now get ready to make the best mushroom gravy you’ve ever had.” – Timothy Pakron

Makes 6 servings

  • ½ cup olive oil (or sunflower oil)
  • 8 oz mushrooms, thickly sliced (cremini and/or shiitake)
  • 1 cups sweet onion, chopped (1 large)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp vegan butter (optional)
  • 2-3 Tbsp garlic, chopped
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried sage
  • ½ Tbsp garlic powder
  • ½ Tbsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 ½ Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ⅓ cup red wine (optional)
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp tamari or coconut aminos
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable bouillon paste
  • 1 Tbsp mellow white or chickpea miso

Bring a large skillet or saucepan over medium-heat and add olive oil, mushrooms, onions, and salt. Mix well and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to encourage browning, until slightly caramelized and juicy.

Add the flour and mix well. Cook for about 5 additional minutes, toasting the flour until lightly brown. Add the vegan butter (if using), along with the the garlic, thyme, sage, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes (if using), black pepper and nutritional yeast and cook 2-3 minutes to toast spices and cook the garlic.

Add the red wine and cook for 1 minute to cook off the alcohol. Then pour in 5 cups of water, rice vinegar, tamari, bouillon paste, and miso. Mix well, turn the heat up to high, and bring to a simmer. While at a simmer, cook for about 5 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until the gravy is thick and saucy (or until desired consistency is reached!). Serve over everything!

For a smooth gravy, remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth and transfer back to the skillet. Cook for a few minutes, until smooth and creamy, and serve. If making ahead, store in the fridge.