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This section is a listings directory by cuisine type of recipes for vegans which will introduce you to new and exciting cuisines to spice up your meal times.

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South African Vegan Recipes >

See below our index of South African recipes that are suitable for vegans, and more information on South African food below:


Background on South African Food

South Africa's cuisine has been shaped by the large eclectic range of races and cultures that call this country home. There are foods and dishes common to the indigenous Nguni people of South Africa, and then culinary influences brought from across the oceans by Dutch, British, Malay and Indian settlers.

Indigenous African recipes tends to be simple, making use of foods of the land. Stews are a common dish, served with 'millie pap' - a maize mash; corn being the primary grain used in the country. Suitable dishes for vegans include Chakalaka, Umphokoqo (maize meal salad) and Umngqusho (white maize and sugar beans). Popular vegetables include cabbage, potato, beetroot, beans and a variety of pumpkins, such as gem squash and butternut.

Afrikaans cuisine was founded on 17th century Dutch taste and farm crops. Afrikaners have a strong tradition of eating meat, and braais (barbeques) are now popular in all South African cultures. However, it is possible to find vegan versions of the highly popular droewors (dried sausage), boerwors (spiced sausage), and biltong (dried meat strips, similar to jerky). Some vegetarian Afrikaner dishes include potjiekos (stew), Pampoenkoekies (pumpkin fritters), and tamatiebredie (tomato bread); and desserts include koeksister (a deep fried dough), Malva Pudding and melktert (milk tart). Rusks were also developed in South Africa as a necessity of settling on newly claimed land without existing infrastructure.

The Dutch settlers required cheap labour to assist in building their new country and farming the land, and so slaves were imported from Malaysia and Eastern Indonesia. The South East Asian slaves brought with them a strong tradition of cooking with spices such as chilli and nutmeg, and Cape Malay recipes are still popular in South Africa, especially in the Western Cape. These include curries, sambals, chutneys and spicy stews. Bobotie is such a dish and it is possible to make a vegan version with soya mince.

During the Dutch settler period, a number of French Huguenots arrived to escape religious persecution in Europe. The Huguenots brought with them the tradition of wine making and the skills with which to do so. Many South African wines are suitable for vegans.

The British were the second European country to settle in South Africa and the influence of their cuisine is easily identifiable across the country, even the love of baked beans and Marmite!

The British-claimed regions of South Africa also imported cheap labour to help with their own farm development, particularly in the sugar fields. This time they arrived in the form of Indian indentured labour. Indian cuisine now forms a popular part of the South African culinary mix and Indian restaurants can be found across the country, most of which have a range of vegan and vegetarian options. These include samosas, bean or vegetable curries, and the famous 'bunny chow' - a curry served inside a hollowed-out loaf of bread.

South Africa can be a difficult place to find food for vegans outside of the main cities. It is advisable to inform accommodation providers in advance of your dietary needs... even to supply some vegan meal ideas for them to follow since most vegetarian options in restaurants throughout the country unfortunately use dairy produce. We hope to bring you more vegan South African recipes soon.


Vegan Recipe Listings

If you have a favourite vegan recipe that you'd like to be listed here, we'll gladly list it. Please contact us now to have your recipe added and help promote veganism in South Africa.

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