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Vegan Haitian Recipes: Griot & Pikliz

Updated: May 30


Vegan Haitian Griot, Pikliz, and Banane
Vegan Haitian Griot courtesy of Abdul Raheem, 2022

As a Haitian and a vegan, it can be challenging to enjoy traditional Haitian cuisine while adhering to a plant-based lifestyle. One dish that may come to mind is griot, which is a popular Haitian dish made with seasoned pork. However, with some creativity and a willingness to experiment with different ingredients, it is possible to create a vegan version of griot that is just as flavorful and satisfying as the original.


Making griot vegan is not just a matter of accommodating a dietary preference; it is also an act of cultural preservation for me. Food is an integral part of Haitian culture, and griot is a beloved dish that has deep roots in Haitian cuisine. By creating a vegan version of this dish, our people who choose to follow a plant-based lifestyle can still feel connected to their cultural heritage.



One of the key ingredients in traditional griot is pork, which is not vegan-friendly. However, by using jackfruit as a substitute, the same texture and flavor can be achieved. Jackfruit is a versatile fruit that is often used as a meat substitute in vegan dishes. When cooked and seasoned properly, it can mimic the taste and texture of pork.



To make vegan griot, the jackfruit is seasoned with a blend of spices, including Himalayan salt, vegan pork seasoning, liquid browning, epis (green seasoning), black pepper, onion powder, minced garlic, paprika, and thyme. The jackfruit is then marinated overnight in a mixture of sour orange juice, lime juice, and the spice blend. The next day, the jackfruit is coated in cornstarch and fried until crispy and golden brown.



Vegan Haitian Griot


Vegan griot, banane, and pikliz recipe
Vegan Haitian Griot courtesy of Abdul Raheem, 2022

Ingredients:


1 can jackfruit, drained and washed


1-2 teaspoons Himalayan salt


1-2 teaspoon vegan pork seasoning


1 teaspoon liquid browning


1 tablespoon epis (green seasoning)


1 teaspoon black pepper


1 teaspoon onion powder


1 teaspoon minced garlic


1 teaspoon paprika


3 sprigs of fresh thyme


3 sour oranges, squeezed


2 limes, squeezed


1/2 -1 cup corn starch


Oil for frying


Instructions on cooking vegan Haitain griot:


  1. Start by marinating the jackfruit overnight in a mixture of salt, vegan pork seasoning, liquid browning, epis, black pepper, onion powder, minced garlic, paprika, thyme, and the juice of the sour oranges and limes.

  2. After marinating, remove the jackfruit from the mixture and reserve the marinade.

  3. Coat the jackfruit in corn starch and deep fry in hot oil at 365 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown.

  4. Remove the jackfruit from the oil and place it back into the bowl with the marinade. Fold the jackfruit gently to ensure it is coated in the marinade and fry it a second time until it is golden brown and crispy.

  5. Serve the vegan griot hot with pikliz, a spicy Haitian slaw made with pickled vegetables.

  6. Enjoy your vegan version of Haitian griot, a beloved Haitian dish, with all the same delicious flavors but without the use of animal products.




Haitian pikliz recipe:



Ingredients:


1 small head of cabbage, thinly sliced

2-3 carrots, peeled and shredded

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 scallions, chopped

1 bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 habanero pepper, thinly sliced (optional)

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup water


Directions:


  • In a large bowl, combine the sliced cabbage, shredded carrots, sliced onion, chopped scallions, and sliced bell pepper. If using the habanero pepper, add it to the bowl as well.

  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the salt, sugar, and dried thyme. Add the vinegar and water and whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved.

  • Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables and toss to combine.

  • Transfer the mixture to a large jar or container and press down on the vegetables to pack them tightly.

  • Cover the jar or container and let the pikliz sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours, or up to 1 week, to allow the flavors to develop.


Serve the pikliz as a condiment alongside your favorite Haitian dishes, such as griot or rice and beans.


By creating a vegan version of griot, Haitians who choose to follow a plant-based lifestyle can enjoy this beloved dish without sacrificing flavor or cultural connection. Furthermore, it opens up the possibility for non-Haitians to explore and appreciate Haitian cuisine in a vegan-friendly way.


In addition to vegan griot, there are many other plant-based foods that are staples in Haitian cuisine. From plantains to pikliz, there are many delicious options for those who are looking to enjoy traditional Haitian cuisine in a vegan-friendly way. By using these ingredients and experimenting with different recipes, you can create delicious and healthy meals that honor your Haitian heritage while also supporting your commitment to a plant-based lifestyle.



*Maggi seasoning is a popular condiment in Haitian cuisine and is often used to add flavor to various dishes. However, Maggi seasoning contains animal products and is not considered vegan. As a vegan Haitian, I choose not to include Maggi seasoning in my recipes to stay true to my lifestyle and values. Instead, I opt for other plant-based seasonings and ingredients that add flavor and depth to my dishes. By exploring different options and experimenting with new recipes, I can still enjoy the flavors of traditional Haitian cuisine while staying true to my vegan lifestyle.

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