Tsadakeeyah Emmanuelof Majani
Tsadakeeyah “Chef T” Emmanuel and his wife, Nasya, have garnered a loyal following for their vegan take on soul food. At their South Shore restaurant, you’ll find their signature barbecue cauliflower, creamy mac and cheese, smoky collard greens, and a vegetable gumbo, all made with produce that comes from farms no farther than 10 miles away. The black-eyed pea fritters — lightly fried and served with plum-habanero, mango-habanero, or barbecue sauce — are so popular that diners can order them as an appetizer or as the star of a taco or salad. “Our mission is to simply find creative ways to get folks to eat more vegetables,” says Emmanuel. “The black-eyed pea fritters just kind of evolved from that.” — Audarshia Townsend
Black-Eyed Pea Fritters
|4||cups black-eyed peas, soaked overnight|
|1||small onion, coarsely chopped|
|4||garlic cloves, coarsely chopped|
|1||tsp. sea salt|
|1||Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning|
|1||small bunch cilantro, chopped|
|Grapeseed or vegetable oil|
|Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce|
1. Purée black-eyed peas along with onions, garlic, salt, and Old Bay until smooth. Add carrots, zucchini, and cilantro and stir well. The consistency should be similar to a thick pancake batter, so add a little water if it’s too thick.
2. In a cast-iron pan, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-low heat. Add 3 tablespoons of batter to the pan. Brown fritter on both sides until golden brown, about 7 minutes.
3. Place fritters on a plate and let rest 5 minutes. Serve with barbecue sauce.
Cristina Hernandezof Tart Pie
About three years ago, Cristina Hernandez began embracing a vegan lifestyle to manage anxiety. Then, when the pandemic hit, she turned to baking as a creative outlet. In July 2020, she combined those interests to launch Tart Pie, a plant-based bakery she runs out of DishRoulette Kitchen in Pilsen. (Order at @tartpie.chi on Instagram.) Hernandez makes coconut-based vegan desserts with flavors ranging from Oaxacan hot chocolate and salted chai tahini to lavender lemonade. “I grew up in a household where creativity was fostered, but I always struggled with calling myself an artist,” she says. Her pies beg to differ — Hernandez uses sprinkles, cookies, and fruit to make her strikingly pretty sweets. It was in the process of playing around with sprinkles that she came up with one of her most popular offerings, a pie that riffs on confetti cake, a childhood favorite. — Ximena N. Beltran Quan Kiu
No-Bake Vegan Vanilla Funfetti Pie
|1||14 oz. can coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight|
|1½||Tbsp. powdered sugar|
|½||tsp. vanilla extract|
|2||Tbsp. vegan sprinkles|
|1||6 oz. graham cracker crust|
|1||cup fresh fruit, such as raspberries, banana slices, or strawberries|
1. Remove the solidified coconut cream from the can (save the liquid to use for smoothies) and put in a mixing bowl that has been refrigerated for 15 minutes.
2. Add sugar and vanilla to the bowl and use a stand or hand mixer to whip on medium-low speed until creamy and thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Adjust sweetness to taste.
3. Fold sprinkles into the mixture with a rubber spatula. Do not overmix or the color from the sprinkles will bleed.
4. Pour mixture into pie crust and smooth the top with the spatula or a rubber spoon. Top the pie with more sprinkles and fresh fruit. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
David Lipschutzof Blind Faith Café
In the 43 years that Blind Faith Café has been serving vegetarian fare in Evanston, owner David Lipschutz has seen plant-based dining’s popularity come and go. This time feels different. “The wave has crested over us a couple of times, but now it’s much more integrated into the marketplace,” he says. “It’s no longer just the relationship between diet and health and well-being. People’s awareness has also grown about how the choices we make impact ecology and the environment.” His café regularly serves dishes like yellow coconut curry and seitan marsala, and each fall he adds a shiitake-walnut loaf, a Thanksgiving favorite available for takeout. “We love that everyone enjoys sharing this with their families,” he says. — Chasity Cooper
|1||cup chopped onion|
|1||cup grated carrot|
|1||cup chopped celery|
|1||cup chopped shiitake mushrooms|
|3||cups toasted breadcrumbs|
|1||tsp. herbes de Provence|
|½||tsp. black pepper, plus more to taste|
|1||tsp. salt, plus more to taste|
|3||cups toasted walnut pieces|
|2||cups grated Jack cheese|
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine onions, carrots, celery, and mushrooms in a bowl. In another bowl, mix breadcrumbs with herbes de Provence, pepper, and salt.
2. In a food processor, combine half the nuts, half the breadcrumb mix, half the vegetable mix, half the cheese, half the applesauce, and one egg. Process until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and mix both batches together by hand in a large bowl.
3. Oil two 9-by-5-inch bread pans with parchment paper. Add half of the mixture to each pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove pans from the oven, cover loaves in ketchup, and bake for another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Refrigerate overnight. Slice and reheat on a cookie sheet at 300 degrees. Serve with vegetable gravy, mashed sweet potatoes and butternut squash, and cranberry chutney.