Vegetarian Soul Food Power Bowl

Power up with veggie comfort food like garlicky greens, fried okra, red beans & whole grain sorghum….all in a big bowl of Southern soul food love. These favorites are so flavorful, you won’t miss the meat.

Power your meal with veggies and comfort food like Red Beans & Rice and Garlicy Greens: SOUL FOOD POWER BOWL - VEGETARIAN | @TspCurry For more protein-powered recipes go to

What does a Midwestern girl – with two German sets of grandparents – know about soul food?

I know I love it.

I love all of it: Garlicky stewed greens… smoky, saucy red beans and rice… sweet sorghum molasses swirled over buttery cornbread… crispy, fried okra… creamy stone-ground grits…

And thanks to this month’s Recipe ReDux theme of Plant-Powered Power Bowls, I had an excuse to scoop all my favorites into one big bowl of Southern soul food love.

Power your meal with veggies and comfort food like Red Beans & Rice and Garlicy Greens: SOUL FOOD POWER BOWL - VEGETARIAN | @TspCurry For more protein-powered recipes go to

Besides great nutrition from antioxidants and fiber, this vegetarian soul food cooks much quicker than some soul food recipes with meat. Here’s how I had a little fun adapting my favorites to have tons of flavor without the salt pork, bacon or butter. *Gasp*

Garlicky greens – Collard greens are a Southern favorite, but there were a few stalks of Swiss chard left in my struggling garden. I cooked the chard only to tender-crisp to preserve the brilliant green and a quick cooking time. Yes, the proportion of four cloves of garlic to five large chard leaves is correct!

Smoky, saucy red beans – I used Deanna’s super-popular recipe for Easy Louisiana Red Beans and Brown Rice, omitting the sausage and sprinkling in a few more shakes of smoked paprika for smoky, spicy flavors. I also added okra. The okra doesn’t get crispy like when fried; but it does what okra does best, it thickens the sauce and adds ‘sauciness’ – like a good Southern cook, right? (;

Sorghum – Sorghum is a whole grain that’s currently having its hey-day; it’s hot everywhere: North and South. Since this is a plant-powered protein bowl, I used sorghum instead of rice:

  • 1 serving sorghum = 5 grams protein
  • 1 serving brown rice = 3-4 grams protein

Buttery cornbread – The muffin doesn’t exactly fit ‘in’ the bowl – but topped with syrupy sorghum molasses, it’s a fine Southern dessert – or could be crumbled on top. To keep this meal quick, I used a cornbread mix. To add more nutrition, I stirred in a flax ‘egg’ along with the called-for chicken egg.  A big bowl of Southern love: Vegetarian Soul Food Power Bowl via @TspCurry #TheRecipeReDux Click To Tweet

This recipe serves one. But there are lots of leftovers. So invite your friends – friends from all over this great country – and set out bowls for guests to compose their own big bowl of Sothern soul food love.


Vegetarian Soul Food Power Bowl

A spicy protein power bowl that’s all plant-based

  • Author: Serena Ball
  • Yield: 1 serving + lots of leftovers 1x


  • 1 batch Red Beans and Brown Rice
  • 1 cup (about 6 pods) fresh or frozen okra
  • Cornbread mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill) + optional 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 stalks (stems + leaves) Swiss chard – add more if making for a crowd
  • 1 cup uncooked sorghum
  • Fresh okra and tomatoes for garnish


  1. To a pot, add 3 cups water and sorghum. Bring to a boil; cook 5 minutes. Turn heat down to low; cover and cook for about 45 minutes or until tender-firm. (Sorghum does not get soft, but is tender.)
  2. Make Red Beans & Brown Rice according to directions – except do not add sausage, and skip step #1 to make rice. Add okra in step #3 along with green peppers.
  3. Make muffins according to package directions, add 1 tablespoon flaxseed + 3 tablespoons warm water along with the egg.
  4. Lay Swiss chard stems + leaves on top of each other. Slice into 1/4-inch pieces; keep stems separate from leave. Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add Swiss chard stems and cook stirring 2 minutes; add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add chard leaves and 2 tablespoons water; cook stirring for 2 minutes until tender crisp.
  5. Assemble your Soul Food Power Bowl as you wish with Red Beans with Okra & Sorghum, Garlicky Greens and fresh okra and/or okra. Serve with a corn muffin and sorghum molasses if desired.

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Since Deanna and I are both lovers of Southern food, check out our recipes for:
Rosemary Shrimp Sweet Potato Grits
Cajun Okra and Rice Salad with Shrimp
15-Minute Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya with Oats

And here are more plant-powered protein bowls by our ReDux friends:



We’re Serena & Deanna, two dietitians who love food as much as you do!  

We're also moms and business owners who share our family recipes, healthy kitchen hacks and nutrition adventures while keeping it real in the kitchen with you.

We’re so glad you’ve stopped by!

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