Veganism has grown in leaps and bounds in the last few years. Whether in real life or social media, everywhere you look, there’s a campaign calling for more people to eat vegan. The market has clearly responded because the number of restaurants, cafes, businesses and individuals embracing vegan food has swelled. Of course with this growth, veganism has somehow been cast as an almost Western concept with various names like “clean eating and plant-based”. Personally, I find this hardly surprising especially in light of the fact that many African dishes are naturally vegan anyway, even though the locals would never use that word to describe them.
As I pointed out in a previous piece, most Africans are “vegan by chance”. Whether it’s a dish of yam and vegetables, Ghanaian beans and plantains, South African pap and chakalaka, Kenyan chapati and vegetable stew or Nigerian Jollof rice (to mention but a few) the average daily African meals contain no meat, dairy, or eggs. That is why when it comes to the modern Instagram-fuelled veganism, you would not find a lot of Africans (particularly those living in Africa) espousing veganism on social media; it’s an almost normal way of life.
What this means is that you can be on social media and not find the inspiration that you need if you’re looking to cook an African-inspired vegan dish.
There’s also the important issue of white-appropriated plant-based eating and the blatant and exploitative use of recipes sourced from other cultures by white vegan Instagrammers without proper attribution. Then there’s the fact that white veganism continually overlooks the issue of how farmers from the global south and immigrant farmers in the global north are exploited and mistreated. As Erin White writes in her piece for Afropunk: “…what’s so frustrating about too many animal-free platforms is the bizarre prioritization of animal welfare over that of the humans who produce the food.”
Anyway, if you are transitioning to a vegan lifestyle for Veganuary (or considering it at the very least) here are some of the best black, African or Afro-inspired vegan Instagram accounts you can follow this year for African vegan recipes and the inspiration to make delicious African vegan dishes.
The Canadian African is managed by Afia from Toronto, a Ghanaian born Canadian providing tons of plant based inspiration and recipes. Her mouth-watering dishes feature cooked grains, vegetables and legumes all of which make up a large portion of the typical African diet (on our home continent).
Her page is perfect not just for Ghanaians or other Africans but also for anyone who wants to level their vegan game at any time or merely want to try new vegan dishes. Afia has literally perfected the art of turning all Ghanaian food vegan, drawing inspiration from other African countries to make amazing meals and in general, highlighting how simple it is to go vegan.
This page is managed by the Afro-Borican vegan foodie, Yvonne Rivera. She is committed to her plant-based diet, loves fresh ingredients and natural foods. That means you’ll find all sorts of plant-based inspiration in her posts. Expect to find natural ingredients, whole grains, and lots of fruit and vegetables, all easy food ideas you’ll want to hold on to.
Check out Rivera’s Insta account for fresh fruits, raw veggies, and delicious-looking cooked dishes. You will find tons of rainbow-packed meal ideas to help settle you into the vegan life this year and beyond.
3. Bryant Terry
This Instagram account is managed by Byrant Terry, an Afro-vegan chef who works to show more people that eating vegetable-based meals is simple, affordable and delicious. Bryant’s feed features his deeply flavorful vegetable dishes and showcases plant-based recipes with roots in the traditional African food traditions.
His dishes of pan-seared fennel with garlic and herbs, made with rich sunchoke cream (a combination of white wine, cashews and vegetable stock), anise-flavored fennel fronds, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkling of fleur de sel and plantain powder are designed to make your mouth water.
In the introduction to his book: ‘Vegetable Kingdom’, the vegan chef describes his approach to recipe development as that of a collagist: “curating, cutting, pasting, and remixing staple ingredients, cooking techniques, and traditional Black dishes popular throughout the world to make my own signature recipes.” Check out his account and confirm this for yourself!
Currently based in Sierra Leone, Betty Vandy aka Bettylicious Cooks has been traveling throughout West Africa and sharing her story of vegan food. A passionate foodie, Betty has held pop-ups, regular food stalls in Birmingham and London and for years has taught communities how to cook healthy, Afro-Caribbean plant-based food.
Vandy’s feed is a beautiful marriage of recipes and stories from, more recently, her time in Sierra Leone, where she is currently residing. If you’re interested in seeing vegan cooking with a West African twist, this account is for you. Be careful, though… start scrolling through her photos and you just might not be able to stop.
This Instagram account is managed by Fabiola and she does a great job of documenting how her family practices veganism as a lifestyle choice. A mom, Fabiola’s plant-based food hauls will make you run right to the grocery store to stock up on fruits and veggies.
The bits of humor and family life she throws into the mix are the icing on the cake and will bring a little fun and a lot of color to your Instagram feed. Fabiola’s flair for plant-based foods feels distinctly clean and creative, perfect for those looking to transition to whole foods plant-based diet. Her artfully-stylized plant-based creations are both healthy and easy to make—and there are SO many recipes. You can also check out her YouTube channel to see just how she keeps her family running on plants all day long.
This Instagram account is run by New York born Zimbabwean Chef Nicola Lagoro known as Chef Cola. African Vegan on a Budget is a movement to increase awareness of the vegan movement in Africa. ChefCola is a VegFund Grantee and a fellow of the Future Food Institute.
The vegan page features a colourful display of vegan dishes from across the continent. Dishes are made with ingredients accessible to everyday Africans. From apple soups to purple linguines, the page is a resource for amazing recipes. African Vegan on a Budget teaches people how to make affordable tasty meals in any area, rural or urban.
This Instagram account owned and managed by ‘RG’ curates tons of plant-based meals and recipes inspired by the flavours and foods of Jamaica. Anyone who relishes vegan meals or who simply loves trying out new things will find this account beyond helpful and thoroughly inspiring; in fact, the account has 171,000 followers at the time of writing so it’s clear many do.
RG does a great job of fusing vegan lessons from his Jamaican heritage with the rich kaleidoscope of delicious foods and flavours that can be found all across the Caribbean. He very clearly loves flavours and you will find that the meals on his feed are characterised by the tantalising, moreish sensations that make vegan food incredibly tasty.
8. David Olu
David Olu is a renowned African Vegan chef and blogger who specializes in Nigerian cuisine. From the humble maize and grain porridges and root vegetables that form the basis of so many Nigerian diets, to grand feasting dishes such as breyanis, tagines, stews and aromatic curries, his feed demonstrates that Africa’s favorite foods offer something for every palate.
Olu makes bowl food an art form with his healthy plates of food piled high with delicious goodies. His daily plates of vibrant vegetable goodness will get you fired up on your vegan journey and luckily, he shares his recipes on his Instagram stories so you can recreate them yourself at home.
9. Rachel Ama
Rachel Ama’s Insta page has some of the healthiest and hearty vegan recipes on social media. She curates a colourful array of vegan dishes, drawing inspiration from her Caribbean and West African heritage. She is committed to showing how simple it can be to turn your favourite dishes into exciting plant-based meals.
The London-based vegan foodie is an ultra-popular vegan YouTuber, blogger, and the author of the popular everyday vegan cookbook, Rachel Ama’s Vegan Eats. Her food hacks are epic—don’t miss her tips for making the perfect hummus – and her YouTube videos are helpful, instructional and fun to watch.
Run by Cameroon born pharmacist, Elsie Kriz, AfroVitalityEats is a home cook’s delight but a forewarning, the page is not strictly vegan, but her vegan recipes are so amazing that she just had to be added to the list. Kriz says her ingrained love of food and her fondness for West African cuisine comes especially from her mother. On this account, she shares childhood memories spent with the family sitting around the famous “three stone fireplace”, telling stories, sharing laughs, mouths watering over the aromas from the kitchen as they waited to be served her mother’s delicious meal.
It is this passion, this aroma that Kriz now brings to the rest of the world through her website and Instagram feed. From lentil curry soup to “herb loaded baked sweet potatoes” there’s enough plant goodness to go around.
Ultimately, If you know where to look Instagram is positively brimming with inspiration for vegans looking for advice on every aspect of vegan living. African cuisine is diverse, green and delicious. The allure of the typical African vegan meal comes from a ton of attention paid to each little detail and how easy the ingredients are to come by.
You will find that these African vegan Instagrammers and cooks employ a rich array of base ingredients, spices as well as other plant-based condiments to create various recipes you can very easily recreate in your home. Let their Insta feeds inspire you to make some eco-friendly modifications to your diet this new year.
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Cover image of Rachel Ama‘s vegan cookbook.