We all have that desire for southern style food—whether it’s fried chicken, mac & cheese, po’ boys, creole, cornbread, coleslaw or gumbo. In this list, we give you the tastiest and healthiest southern style foods to meet your sweet and savoury covets.
1. Mac & Cheese
Macaroni & cheese has always won hearts over, in America and in all quarters. It’s the ultimate comfort food for kids and adults alike. If you want the mac & cheese to be gluten-free in this recipe, just use your favourite variety of pasta and breadcrumbs.
In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta and broccoli together until al dente. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray, and set aside. Preheat the oven to 200°C in your oven. Use a heavy skillet to melt the butter spread, then add chopped onion and cook over low heat for 2 minutes. Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until the flour is golden and well-combined.
Whisk in almond milk and broth, raise heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil, then cook for an additional 5 minutes until the cooking is smooth and thick. Ensure to season with salt and pepper to enhance flavour. Remove from heat, add cheese, and stir until melted. Stir in the cooked pasta and broccoli, then pour into the prepared baking dish. Top with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan or nutritional yeast. Use cooking spray finely atop the dish then allow to bake for 15-20 minute until the breadcrumbs are golden and bob’s your uncle.
2. Fried chicken
Enjoy a healthier take to your favourite Southern fried chicken. Although baked rather than fried, the spicy buttermilk marinade and crunchy panko breadcrumb coating yields the chicken tender inside, yet crispy and golden on the outside.
Firstly, trim any visible fat from the chicken thighs and remove the skin from the drumsticks by pulling the skin down from the fat end of the drumstick until it reaches the bone end and then snip it off with a scissors. Combine the buttermilk with the hot sauce, ½ tsp of each of the spices and some seasoning in a large bowl, add the chicken and toss to coat well. Leave to bowl to marinate in the fridge for at a minimum of 4 hrs. Though, overnight marination is recommended.
Preheat the oven to 240°C . Mix the remaining spices with the flour and the breadcrumbs and tip half onto a large plate —using half the flour at a time stops too many clumps forming; add the rest when you run out. Take each chicken piece from the marinade and dip into the flour mix to coat on both sides. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking tray and repeat until all pieces are coated.
Spray each chicken piece with sprays of sunflower oil then place it to cook for 30-40 mins at the top of the oven— until the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part of the meat. For a finishing touch to the dish, serve with the lemon wedges for squeezing over, and coleslaw.
3. Cornbread Crab Cakes
The South is conversely illustrious for its seafood. Cornbread Crab Cakes are one of the most delectable and coveted of southern seafood— the fantasia of the cuisines.
What you need: prepared cornbread, capsicum, green onion, mayonnaise, sour cream, fresh parsley, fresh cilantro, garlic, large eggs, old bay seasoning, olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh crab meat.
Set a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the scallions, red and green capsicum, garlic, and salt and sauté for about 3-4 minutes until the peppers soften slightly. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside to cool for about 15 minutes. To the cooled capsicum mixture add mayonnaise, chives, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, hot sauce, and Old Bay seasoning. Stir to combine, then stir in the egg. Fold in the crumbled cornbread and crabmeat.
Coat two baking sheets with cooking spray. Scoop the crab cake mixture into 16 evenly sized portions, about 1/4 cup each, and place them on the baking sheets evenly spaced apart, 8 to each sheet. Lightly cover the sheets with plastic and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Heat the oven to 400°C. Arrange one rack in the upper third of the oven and another in the bottom third. Uncover the sheets and bake, about 10-15 minutes, until the crab cakes are lightly browned. Transfer to a serving platter and top each cake with 1 teaspoon of the lemon-caper mayo and viola.
4. Cajun Tilapia Po’Boy
Ditch your deep fryer—the tilapia in this healthy po’ boy recipe, a classic Southern sandwich, is coated in cornmeal and cooked in only 2 tablespoons oil. And what’s the result? A healthy, crispy fish sandwich. Cajun spice blends can be surprisingly toothsome to first-tryers.
Sprinkle tilapia with Cajun spice and salt, then cut each fillet in half lengthwise. Whisk egg white and water in a shallow dish. Place cornmeal in another shallow dish. Dip the fish in the egg mixture, then in the cornmeal.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook for 3 – 5 minutes until golden brown on the bottom. Turn over, swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and cook until the fish is golden brown on the other side and opaque in the middle, 3 – 5 minutes more.
Mix mayonnaise and pickles in a small bowl. Now assemble the sandwiches by spreading 1 tablespoon of the mixture on each bun and Top with a piece of fish, tomato, onion and lettuce. A classic, yet healthy po’ boy.
5. Buttermilk Biscuits
If you think you need to hail from a Southern state to master the art of biscuit making, think again. This recipe is easy and absolutely flavoursome. Let’s start with the classic—Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits. The less you knead the dough, the lighter and more tender your biscuits will be. Fat-free buttermilk adds a zesty tang and yields a moist texture.
Preheat the oven to 400° C. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Combine buttermilk with honey, and stir with a whisk until it is well blended. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4 times. Roll dough into a 9 x 5–inch rectangle; dust top of dough with flour. Fold dough crosswise into thirds. Re-roll dough into a 25cm x 12cm rectangle and dust top of dough with flour.
Fold dough crosswise into thirds; gently roll or pat to a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut dough with a biscuit cutter to form 14 dough rounds. Place dough rounds, 2.5cm apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400°C for 10-15 minutes until they’re golden. Remove biscuits from pan, allow to cool and enjoy!