Certain Southern meals, such as barbecued pork, fried chicken, and mashed potatoes, are not exactly healthful. Indeed, research has connected Southern-style meals strong in meat and fried foods to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
However, traditional Southern food includes a variety of side dishes made with nutritious components such as vegetables, beans, and whole grains. They can be combined to create a complete, meatless dinner that is both filling and enjoyable. Serve two or more of the following concurrently.
Greens. Collard greens are traditional, but you can substitute other robust greens such as kale, chard, or cabbage. Stir-fry in olive oil with garlic cloves. To enhance the flavour, add a splash of your favourite vinegar and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
Beans. In a saucepan, sauté a small chopped onion and a minced garlic clove in olive oil. Cook for a few minutes before adding a can of black-eyed peas or pinto beans (rinsed to remove extra salt).
Corn tortillas. Numerous traditional Southern cornbread recipes call for the use of simply cornmeal (a whole grain), with no white flour or sugar added. While some recipes call for bacon drippings or butter, you may use vegetable oil as a healthy alternative.
Cauliflower. Roast till soft, then serve whole or mashed.