Southern {Veggie} Cookin’

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Times are changin’, but being a Southern vegetarian is still kind of… well, it’s odd.  Southern food is based around BBQ, pork, lard, and fried veggies.  Tofu is not a staple. 


I’ll never forget the time I crashed my car and hitched a ride back home with the tow truck driver.  The driver was proud to be born and raised in northern Florida – a very Southern spot indeed.  We were chatting and, for some reason, I mentioned that I was a vegetarian.  He said, “What’s a vegetarian?”  I said, “Oh, it means you don’t eat meat or chicken.”  He slowed at a stop sign, turned, and stared at me like I had just suggested we both ditch our spouses and ride off into the sunset together.  “What about fish?” he said suspiciously.  “No fish,” I replied.


He paused.  “But what about BBQ?” he asked. 


I’ll admit – BBQ chicken is one meat-based dish that I miss.  But it’s more the flavor of the meal than the actual meat itself, which is why this lunch was the perfect fix for my strange BBQ cravings. 


On the menu:


Roasted sweet potatoes, per this method

Steamed collard greens and kale, per this method

Boiled corn on the cob

BBQ Hummus


Oh yes – I went there… BBQ Hummus.  Now, many of you (correctly) pointed out that a hummus made with white kidney beans is not a hummus at all, as hummus requires chickpeas.  Semantics, I say!  Try making hummus with white kidney beans; it’s so much creamier.


BBQ Hummus




  • 1 can white kidney beans
  • 1 tablespoon tahini sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons BBQ sauce




  • Drain and rinse kidney beans.
  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.


You can take the cook out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the cook.  Or something like that. 


Speaking of getting out of the South, this Friday is the 3rd Annual Healthy Living Summit (hosted by Quaker Oats).  I am so excited to see everyone in Philadelphia.  It’s going to be tons of fun – I can’t believe this is the Summit’s third year!



  • Kelly August 15, 2011, 1:48 pm

    At my local Farmer’s Market this is a man who sells BBQ hummus and it is sooooo good! The husband and I usually can polish off the entire container in one sitting.

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me August 15, 2011, 1:49 pm

    ahhh I so wish I could go! But alas I am too poor right now!

  • Faith @ lovelyascharged August 15, 2011, 1:49 pm

    Oh heck, it’s still hummus. And BBQ flavoring sounds so unique – I froze a portion of the BBQ sauce I made from a recent cooking challenge and methinks it’ll work its way into my next batch of hummus!

  • Stephanie @ Food and Fitness 4 Real August 15, 2011, 1:49 pm

    I got some okra in my produce bin this weekend and had a craving for all things southern on the menu. I thought about fried okra, smothered greens, BBQ beans, peach cobbler and even considered making friend chicken. However I don’t know how to fry okra or chicken. My frying skills never developed and I hate the smell of anything fried in oil in my house (that smell lingers for days).
    So we settled for roasted okra. I still want to make that peach cobbler though.

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen August 15, 2011, 1:54 pm

    I can just imagine that tow truck driver going home that day and telling his family “did you know there is this thing called VEGETARIANS!?” haha.

    • CaitlinHTP August 15, 2011, 1:57 pm

      He actually owned a BBQ place, too, and I tried to convince him to start selling BBQ tofu, but he said his wife and clients would kill him. LOL! He was really nice.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat August 15, 2011, 1:57 pm

    That’s a recipe I’m going to have to try! I LOVE your corn handle thinggies!!

  • kaitlin @4loveofcarrots August 15, 2011, 1:57 pm

    That hummus sounds amazing, I am going to have to make this!

  • Khushboo August 15, 2011, 2:02 pm

    Haha that story made me laugh! It’s funny how some people still cannot fathom the idea of being a vegetarian! That hummus sounds great! Potayto, potahto- chickpeas or not, that consistency has hummus written all over it!

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) August 15, 2011, 2:02 pm

    Cute post! I don’t like grilled veggies very much, but once in a while, I want BBQ meat. I usually make do by drowning my baked potatoes in BBQ sauce (<– one of my loves).

    Also, those fake meat stuff sometimes works for me in a pinch, too.

    • Julie (A Case of the Runs) August 15, 2011, 2:03 pm

      Oh, I eat fish, but I’ve learned so far that BBQ fish = ack.

      P.S. Happy b-day, Maggie!

  • Karla August 15, 2011, 2:02 pm

    OMG I love the corn holder thingy! How cute!

  • Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} August 15, 2011, 2:05 pm

    Mmm your white bean hummus sounds fabulous. I love BBQ flavors, too.

  • Theresa @ActiveEggplant August 15, 2011, 2:05 pm

    I heart BBQ – but you’re right, it’s mostly about the taste than anything else. I like BBQ tofu just as much as BBQ port.

    Please oh please – can you share where you got your doxie corn holders? They’re SO cute!

    • Caitlin August 15, 2011, 2:09 pm

      My mom gave them to me as a gift 🙁 I’ll ask her but I’m betting it with something like Marshalls.

  • Stephanie August 15, 2011, 2:06 pm

    My local Earthfare has vegan pulled BBQ on their hot bar sometimes…it’s HEAVEN.

  • Chloe (In Fine Feather) August 15, 2011, 2:06 pm

    I’m moving to Atlanta tomorrow (yikes!) and am definitely interested to see what people think of my pescetarian lifestyle! I also am looking forward to trying some real southern food, it always sounds so delicious.

    • Vikki August 15, 2011, 5:03 pm

      You’ll fit in fine in Atlanta. If you were moving to somewhere smaller than Atlanta, you might get odd looks.

  • Chloe (In Fine Feather) August 15, 2011, 2:06 pm

    I’m moving to Atlanta tomorrow (yikes!) and am definitely interested to see what people think of my pescetarian lifestyle! I also am looking forward to trying some real southern food, it always sounds so delicious.

  • Dukebdc August 15, 2011, 2:13 pm

    From a fellow southern vegetarian–I hear ya! 🙂 Fried okra, fried green tomatoes, corn on the cob, biscuits, sweet tea–so glad I didn’t have to give everything up along with the barbeque! But darn that bacon fat and lard that gets added to innocent-sounding veggies and foils the best-laid plans!

  • Baking N Books August 15, 2011, 2:13 pm

    Easiest hummus recipe I’ve ever seen I think! No oil in the hummus? …I wonder if using ketchup instead of BBQ sauce would be wrong..;)

    • Anne August 16, 2011, 4:33 am

      tahini is the “oil” in hummus. it’s a ground sesame seed paste.

      • Baking N Books August 16, 2011, 8:14 am

        Oh right! Thanks Anne. I buy a brand called “Summer Fresh” here and they have both tahini and canola oil added…not overly high in fat or anything either – and very creamy 🙂

  • Savannah(Sweet and Savvy) August 15, 2011, 2:15 pm

    BBQ hummus Sounds Amazing!!!

  • Margo August 15, 2011, 2:18 pm

    I made a white bean hummus this weekend, and it was amazing! Thanks so much for the tip!

  • Erin @ The Grass Skirt August 15, 2011, 2:18 pm

    Those are the coolers corn holders ever!

    Not only is it probably hard to be a vegetarian or vegan in the south, it is hard to be a healthy eater in general sometimes. I’ve gotten many strange looks for admitting that I don’t care for Bojangles.

    So excited for HLS!

  • Emily August 15, 2011, 2:19 pm

    I love that idea!!!! I am on a huge bbq sauce kick…making that this week 🙂

  • Kristen, Sweetly August 15, 2011, 2:26 pm

    I still can’t believe I’m leaving the Philly area at the same time you guys are coming in for HLS! I guess that just means I’ll have to plan a trip around the next one. 😉

    BBQ kidney bean hummus sounds delicious. I was missing BBQ a while ago. I put together bbq sauce, cubed tofu, and pineapple chunks on the grill. I got the combo idea from a friend’s mom, who made kebabs with chicken and pineapple, with bacon threaded around it all. The barbecue-y pineapple was incredible!

  • Aine @ Something to Chew Over August 15, 2011, 2:36 pm

    I love love love your corn holders! Super cute 🙂

  • Lindsey August 15, 2011, 2:36 pm

    I make a “hummus” using white kidney beans, ricotta cheese and lemon juice and add it to grilled cheese sandwiches, it is so good!

    • Caitlin August 15, 2011, 9:30 pm

      that sounds fabby!

  • Erica @ Eating on the run August 15, 2011, 2:36 pm

    352 is my area code – Love It!!! Our local BBQ sauce here is Earls, it’s a mustard vinegar base.. Tangy, spicy and heavenly. I could definitely go for some BBQ hummus with Earls.

    I also love your corn holders, I have Daschsund’s and I must have those. I’m not a vegetarian, but I love my southern veggies (as im a proud southerner) enough to be one. Fried and pickled Okra, conch peas, collards, mustards and turnips. Yum!

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife August 15, 2011, 2:39 pm

    Mmmmm- BBQ hummus sounds delish! Can’t believe you went there….oh wait, I can. hehe 😉

  • Amanda @ the beauty notebooks August 15, 2011, 2:49 pm

    seriously loving those corn holders! I just gave my boyfriend a pair of dachschund salt and pepper shakers — the s&p comes out the rear end! ha!

    btw I can’t wait to meet you at HLS! seriously 🙂

    • Caitlin August 15, 2011, 9:30 pm

      I am so excited to meet you too Amanda!

  • Emma (Namaste Everyday) August 15, 2011, 2:56 pm

    I am a vegetarian, too, but I LOVE BBQ sauce and buffalo hot sauce!!! I love smothering my tofu in it, lol 🙂

  • Shelly August 15, 2011, 2:56 pm

    Speaking of Southern Food, my grandfather was not a vegetarian, but because he grew up in extreme poverty (his family members were sharecroppers in Greenville, Ms), he never got used to the taste of meat b/c they had it so rarely when he was growing up.
    My favorite granddaddy inspired meal is completely vegetarian- lentils and rice topped with chow-chow (pickled green and red bell peppers and onions- so good!), cornbread, and stewed okra with tomatoes. A little corn on the cob or some sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper would sometimes appear on the table as well. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it!
    Oh, and if he were alive, today would be his 85th birthday. (and since we share a birthday, it’s my 30th!)

    • Caitlin August 15, 2011, 9:29 pm

      This is very interesting! Your granddaddy’s meal sounds pretty good to me.

  • Jenny @ Best Jenny Ever August 15, 2011, 3:04 pm

    I just made a white bean puree as well. I sauteed an onion and some parsley and rosemary, and pureed that with the beans and the bean cooking liquid. So good.

    And I will be in Philly this weekend, although not for the HLS.

    I think sometimes about being going vegetarian, and I’m not sure I could give up my favorite foods, but I do eat veggie most of the time. I do admire those who are able to go with it all the way.

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss August 15, 2011, 3:09 pm

    That sounds great! I’m all for cooking out, but it kind of sucks being a vegetarian with BBQ and the only option is corn or bread..

  • Meagan August 15, 2011, 3:14 pm

    Love the dauschund corn spear! Too dang cute. 🙂

  • erica August 15, 2011, 3:19 pm

    how cute is your corn holder?!?!?!

  • Hillary August 15, 2011, 3:21 pm

    He didn’t even know what a vegetarian was? I think that’s kind of hilarious, and I can imagine how awkward that interaction was for everyone involved!

  • Crystal August 15, 2011, 3:24 pm

    BBQ tempeh and seitan are staples in our home. People around here in Southern Illinois like their BBQ pork and chicken too. In grad school, I had to help collect surveys at a BBQ competition as part of my research assistantship. I remember asking a hog farmer what he thought of soy foods, and he told me that it’s great for feeding livestock. Sigh.

  • Ashley O. @ The Vegetable Life August 15, 2011, 3:30 pm

    Hahaha I argued with the lunch lady in my work’s cafe today when I turned down the salmon she was serving (she tried to pressure me) and when I said I was a vegetarian she told me that nothing was farmed by eating salmon and that it was not meat. She didn’t get it and was appalled that all I wanted was the veggies and rice!

  • Ashley O. @ The Vegetable Life August 15, 2011, 3:30 pm

    Hahaha I argued with the lunch lady in my work’s cafe today when I turned down the salmon she was serving (she tried to pressure me) and when I said I was a vegetarian she told me that nothing was harmed by eating salmon and that it was not meat. She didn’t get it and was appalled that all I wanted was the veggies and rice!

  • Rachel August 15, 2011, 3:36 pm

    I might be starting a debate here, but many people do not consider Florida to be southern. Thoughts?

    • Caitlin August 15, 2011, 4:01 pm

      I definitely agree that Miami is not ‘the south’! But if you go to central/northern Florida… whooo! Very southern.

    • Kris August 15, 2011, 5:04 pm

      Agree w/ Caitlin — it’s where you live in FL. We lived in Jacksonville; woah, very southern. We also lived in Tampa, and now in south Tampa Bay. Not southern at all.

  • Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats August 15, 2011, 3:58 pm

    Oh yum! 🙂 BBQ hummus sounds so good!

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats August 15, 2011, 4:02 pm

    although that meal sounds good… I don’t think I’d be able to give up my pulled-pork BBQ. I’m from Kansas City and went to college in Charleston, SC. I looooove BBQ. Haha.

  • Chelsea August 15, 2011, 4:06 pm

    Try living in Houston, TX and being a vegetarian haha! There is like zero vegetarian restaurants here. I mean I can go to a normal restaurant like Texas Road House and make something vege but still. I don’t really consider Florida “the deep south” though.

  • Natasha August 15, 2011, 4:32 pm

    We still BBQ all the time! Veggie kebobs! Love the corn holders…I have the same ones 🙂

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin August 15, 2011, 5:04 pm

    I’m loving all your creative hummus recipes!

    I love the flavour of BBQ but I don’t even own a jar of the stuff! What brands do you like?

    • Caitlin August 15, 2011, 9:28 pm

      Annie’s is the best!

  • Megan August 15, 2011, 5:05 pm

    I have the same corn on the cob holders!! Love them. I saw a previous comment ask where they are from, ours were also a gift but are from Marshall’s. I liked your post earlier about Maggie, my husband and I got a dachshund puppy last September and although she’s somewhat insane, we can’t help but love her.

    • Caitlin August 15, 2011, 9:28 pm

      i think all doxies are insane.

  • Army Amy* August 15, 2011, 5:40 pm

    I’m always surprised when I meet people who don’t know what it means to be vegetarian. Maybe it’s bc I read blogs where it’s pretty common.*

  • Karlee @olivewineandfood August 15, 2011, 6:02 pm

    bbq hummus?! you are a genius. have you ever tried bbq tofu?

    • Caitlin August 15, 2011, 9:27 pm

      yes! sooo good.

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) August 15, 2011, 6:14 pm

    loving that hummus!!!!

  • Tracy @ Tracy's Treats August 15, 2011, 6:35 pm

    I love that your skewers have little dauschunds at the end! So cute!

  • Angela August 15, 2011, 6:51 pm

    That’s funny about the truck driver. I’ve traveled with a vegetarian and in a couple of countries they kept trying to give her chicken as it ‘wasn’t meat’. She ended up eating a lot of bread and rice!

  • Corrie Anne August 15, 2011, 6:54 pm

    Haha. That’s a funny story about the two truck driver. And I love the idea of BBQ hummus!

  • Melissa August 15, 2011, 7:21 pm

    BBQ hummus?? Me oh my, that sounds sooo yummy.

  • CJ @ August 15, 2011, 7:21 pm

    Yes! I have a huge can of white beans in my pantry that are calling my name! Especially since I used the last of my hummus at dinner! I’m really glad you survived hitching a ride with a truck driver! Just kidding haha but I can’t wait for HLS! I can’t believe it’s finally here!!!

  • Irene August 15, 2011, 7:39 pm

    you copied me! 😛 i made your white bean goat cheese hummus last night, and put it on a wrap topped with a huge handful of trader joes raw broccoli slaw/carrots. but that stuff is kinda bitter, so i was looking for something sweet in my fridge to round it out… and voila! bbq sauce. i devoured that thing. good call on the bbq!

    • Caitlin August 15, 2011, 9:27 pm

      hahah twinsies!!!

  • Christine @ BookishlyB August 15, 2011, 7:40 pm

    I make mine with white kidney beans too! Love the idea of bbq sauce- great dip idea for, ahem, chips 😉

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) August 15, 2011, 7:42 pm

    Gosh tell me about it with the Southern food! I stick out like a sore thumb! I always say that I’m not a good Southern girl since I don’t like fried chicken (or really fried anything) or sweet tea. I guess something got lost in the genes!

  • Ashley @ The Fit Academic August 15, 2011, 7:44 pm

    wow – what a creative recipe! I’ve never even thought of doing anything like this before! How was it?

  • Britton August 15, 2011, 7:53 pm

    True story: I live in Tennessee and I had a friend ask me for a recipe for vegan chicken. I wish I was joking.

    • Caitlin August 15, 2011, 9:27 pm


  • Lexi @ A Spoonful of Sunshine August 15, 2011, 8:14 pm

    Haha that truck driver story is hilarious! I always wondered about why you used white beans rather than chickpeas, but that totally make sense. Enjoy your BBQ goodness 🙂

  • Mel August 15, 2011, 8:30 pm

    I lived in Augusta, GA for awhile growing up and fell in love with the South-the people, trees, weather, history, and the food! It’s probably a good thing I live in the PAC NW though because my arteries would definitely hate me since I have a unhealthy love for all things fried and buttered! My friend and I went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and I was amazed to find that one restaurant we ate at had a butter dispenser (just like the ones they have for syrup)! I love your spin on these dishes though!

    • Caitlin August 15, 2011, 9:26 pm


      • Mel August 15, 2011, 11:46 pm

        Seriously! I am forever changed knowing that such an awesome thing exists!

  • Kerri August 15, 2011, 9:34 pm

    Oh my goodness! love this post 🙂 I am from Alabama but live in Ontario now (my husband is from here) and boy do I miss the Southern food! BBQ mostly, however I’m vegetarian now, so I don’t miss it too much 😉 I miss fried okra too and real buttermilk biscuits! MMMMMM. I am going to try the BBQ hummus! Great idea!

  • Kristi August 15, 2011, 9:44 pm

    Just wanted to say that I’ve lived in the south my whole life, and I’m also a vegetarian. (10 years and counting!!) There’s a lot more to the south than just fried veggies and bbq!! 🙂

    • Caitlin August 16, 2011, 9:20 am

      where???? send me to these places!! LOL

  • Emily @ Comfortable Home Life August 15, 2011, 11:03 pm

    BAH! Pulled pork and southern BBQ is the one thing I miss being vegetarian. MUST.MAKE.THIS. ASAP!

  • Christie August 15, 2011, 11:52 pm

    Those little corn holders are freakin’ awesome!!!

  • Jen August 16, 2011, 12:35 am

    ‘He paused.  “But what about BBQ?” he asked.’

    That is awesome. Sounds as if you rocked his world! Disclaimer: I am not a vegetarian – not sure if I ever could be – but, that still made me chuckle. 🙂 I am, however, definitely starting to eat more veggie-centric meals (including SOME totally veggie/vegan meals)! 🙂

  • Sophie @ threetimesf August 16, 2011, 5:04 am

    Oh my, those pup kebab skerers are the cutest things! Mmmm love the sound of BBQ hummus!

  • Brittney August 16, 2011, 6:19 am

    Ok, I need those Doxie corn holders!!! Where did you find those?? I’m psyched for HLS too!

  • Kaitlin @ Montgomery Minimalist August 16, 2011, 8:01 am

    I am also a vegetarian, and live in Montgomery, AL–it’s hard to get more Southern than that. The restaurants here are all either meat-and-threes, with lots of fried chicken, or barbeque. Although I don’t miss meat, I have to say, the smell of slow-cooked barbeque still smells amazing. I’m going to have to try that hummus!

  • Sara @ OurDogBuffy August 16, 2011, 9:44 am

    What you said is so true–I realized I don’t miss meat, it’s the flavor of some dishes–like barbecue–it was always the sauce, not the meat. And the smells!

  • Amber K August 16, 2011, 12:30 pm

    Whenever my husband is eating BBQ sauce he knows to stay the heck away from me! I don’t know why, but I can’t even stand the smell of BBQ sauce. Maybe being forced to eat meat so much as a child has traumatized me? I don’t know, but the smell turns my stomach. Now if hubby had his way we would never cook with anything OTHER than BBQ sauce, lol.

  • Jen August 16, 2011, 12:49 pm

    As a vegetarian from NORTHERN FLORIDA — I can totally relate! I actually didn’t become vegetarian until I moved away to college, but every time I go home to visit family I’m reminded of how impossible it is to be vegetarian there (ok, not impossible — as long as you never want to eat out at a restaurant). My family has luckily been really supportive, but all the restaurants they want to take me too have virtually zero veg dishes (unless I play dumb and don’t ask what the veggies are cooked in, etc.). Sidenote: it irks me so much when people say “oh you’re from Florida — that’s not the real south!” — clearly they’ve never been to North Florida — you understand! Sidenote #2: I now live in Cali, and when I arrived, it was like the promised land. Avocado, tofu, multiple veggie options at every restaurant. I try really hard to never take that for granted and fully appreciate it every time I eat out.

    • Jen August 16, 2011, 12:56 pm

      Oh, and also — I do miss bbq. I often say that and bacon are the only meats I miss. But like you said, it’s more the sauce for bbq. So I either just pour some on some biscuits/cornbread/toast or on some tofu, and I’m happy as can be.

  • Shelley@MileHighHealthy August 16, 2011, 12:51 pm

    Love this post! I am a vegan in Colorado but I am originally from Arkansas and let me tell you, they don’t take kindly to that kind of hippie stuff out there lol. I actually got laughed at for ordering a burrito without cheese there once. I can definitely say that living in CO makes it much easier to be vegan because of the lifestyle and also the abundance of health food stores. This hummus (I say it’s hummus!) looks delicious, what a fun idea. I have never made hummus with white beans before but I just may have to try it soon.

  • Jolene ( August 18, 2011, 3:52 pm

    OMG – those corn holders are too cute!!!!!!

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