It’s pretty fun to try out exotic cuisines and taste foreign dishes with explosions of flavor in combinations that you didn’t think were possible. If you’ve been hitting up your favorite vegan Italian, Chinese, or Thai restaurants a little too regularly, it’s time to try something new.
African cuisine is rich in spectacular flavor, vibrant color, and serious spices. And we’re not talking about just the Moroccan tagine or Ethiopian injera and vegetable wat that you’ve probably tried (and loved). Dishes from this continent include ancient grains such as millet and bulgur as well as tropical fruits such as bananas, coconuts, and jackfruits. And there are tons of spices to make your palate go “Wow!” Plus, these foods are great for those who want a hearty vegan meal.
Africa’s food offerings have flown under the radar for far too long. Check out these 11 delicious dishes that the bustling continent has to offer:
Kenyan-style chapatis—also known as “soft-layered chapatis“—are crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. They go great with beans, fried cabbage, or a creamy stew.
2. Chin Chin
This popular Nigerian snack is made with flour, sugar, and a pinch of nutmeg. It’s crunchy, sweet, and delicious.
3. Gomen Kitfo
Ethiopian cuisine has so much more to offer than the well-known sour bread and creamy stews. This lesser-known dish is made with collard greens, vegan butter, and spices. People often enjoy gomen kitfo on Meskel, a popular holiday.
4. Jollof Rice
This spicy, creamy rice dish is found in different variations across Africa. One thing’s always the same, though—it’s full of flavor. Jollof rice can be cooked using coconut oil and curry spices for a unique, super-tasty flavor.
These pastries originated in South Africa, and they’re out-of-this-world delicious. There are two versions: the crispy, plaited koeksister that’s dipped in a simple syrup and the spicy, cake-like kind that’s rolled in coconut. Yum!
6. Moroccan Tagine
This North African dish is a crowd favorite for good reason. Tagines are savory stews—slow-cooked for hours—and include wonderful, aromatic spices such as cinnamon, saffron, ginger, and turmeric. You can’t go wrong with this one.
7. Peanut Stew
This creamy dish simply warms the soul. It’s popular in West African cuisine and involves raw or roasted peanuts, tomatoes, onions, spices, and oil—all cooked over low heat for hours. You can add potato to the stew for a heartier meal or enjoy it with a side of rice and steamed vegetables.
Puff-Puffs are extremely popular in West and Central Africa—and for good reason. They’re basically sweet, fried, soft-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside dough balls. ‘Nuff said.
Think of a peanut satay with loads of added spice, and you’re getting close. Suya is an extremely popular street food in West Africa. Traditional versions are rolled in finely ground roasted peanuts and suya powder and topped with grilled onions.
10. Yam and ‘Eggs’
This traditional Nigerian dish is extremely popular for breakfast, and it’s incredibly tasty. The veganized version proves that you don’t have to skimp on flavor when eating with compassion.
11. Yam Cake with Lemon Curd and Ginger Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Phew—that was a mouthful! This dessert is inspired by African flavors and offers a new twist on the traditional yam, a staple of West African cuisine. This slightly sweet tuber is extremely versatile, and its flavor is similar to that of a yucca root or an Asian yam. By the way, doesn’t that cake look scrumptious? Yep—we think so, too.
It’s easy to go vegan! Order a free vegan starter kit today to get you started.