Soy and Soul . . . the World of Veganism

This week, Katie introduces a new discovery, soy curls, and offers a delicious Mongolian “beef” recipe. John is reading The Spirit of Soul Food, a powerful case for “black veganism.”

Can Old Vegans Learn New Soys?

by Katie Fisher

It has become fashionable to shun soy. I think that’s misguided. Soy is a rich source of protein and other nutrients, and in my 35 years of being vegan I’ve fried, boiled, broiled, braised, crumbled, pressed, baked, and sauteed tofu, turning it into stuffed “turkey,” pot pie, cheese, soup, and countless other meals. Tempeh, edamame, and miso are in regular rotation in our house, and TVP (texturized vegetable protein) and Tofurky Italian sausages make occasional appearances.

But I’d never heard of soy curls until I read Protest Kitchen by Carol J. Adams and Virginia Messina. Made from whole soybeans, these little beauties are meaty and chewy and absorb flavor like tofu does. Now I try to keep some on hand for quick, delicious meals full of protein. Find them in the bulk bins at Mom’s, or buy them online from Butler Foods or Amazon.

Try the recipe below from The Viet Vegan with rice and broccoli for a full meal.

Read more: Soy and Soul . . . the World of Veganism

Vegan Mongolian Beef with Soy Curls

This vegan mongolian beef is a texture bonanza: crispy fried soy curls coated in a sticky sauce that yields such a tasty texture that you will not be able to stop eating this!


  • Oil for frying (2 inches in a large pot)
  • 227 g soy curls (a full bag)
  • 4 cups boiling water (or just to cover the soy curls)
  • 2 tbsp (15 mL) mushroom broth powder
  • ~3/4 cup to 1 cup (approx 200-256 g) corn starch or tapioca starch

For the Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) soy sauce (I use low-sodium)
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (60 mL) water
  • 2 tbsp (16 g) cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) chili flakes (go to 1-2 tbsp if you like it really spicy)
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
  • 1-2 inches of ginger (30 g) finely minced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 sprigs green onions, greens cut into 1-inch segments (whites not used for this recipe, but you can put them in water to grow them)

For instructions, tips, and photos visit The Viet Vegan.

‛The Spirit of Soul Food’: A New Recipe for ‛Soulfull Eating’

by John Morris

I’m reading a new book by Christopher Carter called The Spirit of Soul Food: Race, Faith and Food Justice (University of Illinois Press, 2021), and I’m learning a lot.

Dr. Christopher Carter

Carter is a professor of theology and religious studies, and he’s also a Methodist pastor. His book makes a compelling case for black veganism, which he describes as “compassionate action that helps us relink to the anti-oppressive and liberative religion of Jesus.” Carter calls for a specifically Black response to food justice, while at the same time pointing out that “one does not have to be Black to practice black veganism.” For Carter, “the ‛blackness’ of black veganism signifies a commitment to an anti-oppressive way of being in the world that grounds our notions of humanity and animality in ways that influence what we consume.”

The Spirit of Soul Food covers a lot of fascinating ground. The section called “Transatlantic Soul” describes how African methods of agriculture and food preparation had a huge, and unacknowledged, influence on Southern American culture. Another section, “Food Pyramid Scheme” is the best concise account I’ve ever read of how federal dairy and meat policies have subsidized the current animal-agriculture industry and created food injustice – and massive cruelty to animals – on a truly monumental scale.

Carter also deals with many common concerns about going vegan, especially as they may relate to progressive, anti-colonialist goals. His argument is very much in accord with that offered by Carol J. Adams and Virginia Messina in Protest Kitchen: It’s impossible to put animal rights and food justice in one “silo,” cordoned off from other progressive concerns such as racism, economic justice, and incarceration. Like Adams and Messina, Carter makes a powerful case that these systems of oppression are intimately entwined.

Oh yes – and each section ends with a vegan soul food recipe!

Keep the Recipes (and Restaurant Reviews) Coming!

We’d love to keep featuring a vegan recipe, restaurant review, or shopping tip each week. If you have an old favorite, or have tried something new recently, please write it up and send it to John or Katie. Desserts, salads, sandwiches, entrees . . . anything that tastes good!

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