Exploring Southern Soul Food Vegetables
When it comes to traditional Southern cooking, there are typical
accompaniments to consider when it comes to the side dishes. Below
you will find an assortment of common vegetables that generally
decorate the average table of a soul food meal:
Black-eyed Peas: Usually cooked as a separate dish,
these peas are often times paired with rice as Hoppin' John, which
is the Southern United States' version of the Caribbean dish – rice
and beans. A variety of seasonings are used in its preparation,
including ham hocks, fatback, vinegar, green peppers, and an array
of spices. See: Black-Eyed Peas and
Cabbage: This vegetable is often boiled and seasoned
with salt, vinegar, ham hocks, or fatback. In more recent times,
smoked turkey or chicken has been used as a seasoning.
Greens: Ham hocks are usually used to season greens,
especially when it comes to mustard greens, turnip greens, and
Butter Beans: Butter beans are actually immature lima
beans that are cooked in butter or sometimes combined with sausages
of the region.
Red Beans: This type of beans is usually served alone
or in chili.
Succotash: Originally a Native American dish, soul food
has adapted the combination of tomatoes, yellow corn, and butter
beans, which are then cooked in butter.
Green Beans: Pork, onions, and tomatoes are the typical
seasonings used to flavor this side dish.
Mashed Potatoes: Condensed milk and butter are usually
used to create the mashed potatoes that are then usually drenched
Rutabagas: Rutabagas are either cubed or mashed and
then seasoned with pork.
Squash: Summer and yellow squash is typically stewed
with onions and pork. Sometimes, squash is cooked into a tasty
Sweet Potatoes: Usually, sweet potatoes are parboiled,
sliced, and then baked with cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, and
butter. Sweet potatoes are also boiled, pureed, and then
seasoned to make a filling for pies that are similar in taste and
texture to pumpkin pie. See: Creamy Sweet Potato
Casserole and Best Ever Sweet Potato
Okra: Okra is often fried in cornmeal and flour (and
sometimes stewed), which is then often accompanied with corn,
tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers. In Charleston, okra is used as a
thickening agent for gumbo. In the South, it is quite popular to
bread the okra and deep-fry it.