10 Authentic South African Vegan Dishes

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Are you a vegetarian moving down to South Africa, and you wish to know some of the best South African vegetarian dishes?

Below, we’ll share with you some of the best vegan dishes you can find in South Africa – and you can easily get them in many vegetarian restaurants across the country.

According to Healthline, “vegetarians account for up to 18% of the global population.”

More so, asides from the environmental benefits of cutting off meat from your diet, vegetarian diets reduce various health risks, and this is because they are apparently nutritious.

These plant-based diets are full of essential nutrients needed for the body to grow and stay healthy all the time.

Where To Find South African Vegan Dishes?

A good number of restaurants offer vegan-friendly across South Africa, including popular restaurants like Favor8 (Cape Town), The Greenside Cafe (Johannesburg).

The Fussy Vegan Blairgowrie (Randburg), Green & Vegan Pop Up Dining (Cape Town), and Oh My Soul Cafe (Durban North).

You can also shop vegan products in many stores, including Fresh Earth Food Store (Johannesburg), Raw and Roxy (Cape Town), and Free Food (Johannesburg).

South African Vegetarian/Vegan Dishes

These foods are available in different South African restaurants, and they have varieties; you can ask to customize them to your taste.

1. South African Vegan Black Rice

One of the best vegan foods to eat in South African is the vegan crispy tofu black rice bowl. It is a healthy diet prepared with Asian flavors, moreish, flavorsome tofu pieces, and other vegan-friendly ingredients.

The meal is quick and easy to make, in case you wish to prepare it yourself. SA vegan black rice is dairy-free and meat-free.


Walnuts, organic vegetable stock, black rice, brown mushrooms, tamari, Tenderstem broccoli, curly kale, Asian pickled ginger, salt, natural sugar- and salt-free peanut butter, red wine vinegar, and mustard.

How to make:

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C
  • Toast the walnuts until they turn dark golden brown
  • Bring water to boil with the vegetable stock
  • Pour in your black rice and simmer until al dente
  • Pan-fry the tamari mushrooms
  • Bring another saucepan of water to boil
  • Add salt to the new saucepan water
  • Blanch the broccoli and kale
  • For dressing, mix all the ingredients in a blender, add the water and keep whisking until it turns light and smooth.

2. Roti

Roti is another tasty vegetarian food you will find in South Africa. It is a round flatbread, usually made from stone-ground whole wheat flour and water. This food is popular because it is unleavened.

Studies show that it is a good source of soluble fiber, which moderates your blood cholesterol levels, fires up your energy, and generally contributes to keeping you healthy. Roti is said to originate from Indian.


Vegetable oil, water (hot), self-rising flour, melted butter, or ghee (optional).

How To Make:

  • Boil water
  • Sift flour into a bowl and mix with salt
  • Add oil to your pan and sprinkle the flour salt mix on the oil. Add enough water and stir gently.
  • When it forms a soft dough, pour it into a clean bowl and allow it to cool
  • Heat up the pan, roll your dough, and spread with butter if need be.
  • Put the roti into the pan and cook for some minutes; turn it side by side
  • Serve warm

3. Rasta Pasta

Rasta Pasta is an enchanting pasta dish, common in most SA vegan restaurants. It is prepared with varieties of bell peppers, seasonings, and creamy sauce.

This vegan-friendly food is said to originate from Jamaica, but it is eaten in many countries worldwide, including South Africa.

To prepare Rasta Pasta at home won’t take you up to an hour. It is healthy and full of nutrition.


Bell peppers, salt, scallion, garlic, onion, tomato, pasta, coconut milk, jerk seasoning, vegan cheese, coconut oil, and water.

How To Make:

  • Cook the pasta to get done, and then set it aside
  • Prepare the sauce; heat the oil, sauté the onions, and other ingredients.
  • Add tomatoes and spices
  • After some seconds, add bell peppers, and other ingredients
  • Stir to achieve a smooth sauce.
  • Pour in your coconut milk, jerk seasoning, and thyme, and simmer
  • Serve warm

4. Yellow Rice

The South African yellow rice dish is vegan-friendly, attractive, and highly nutritious. It is spiced with a lot of ingredients that contribute to its color and taste.

This food is eaten all over South Africa, and can also be found in most restaurants. But, if you need to make it yourself, below is the recipe.


White rice, salt, ground turmeric & cinnamon, white sugar, raisins, butter, and water.

How To Make:

  • Get a sizable saucepan and pour in your rice, turmeric, salt, cinnamon, butter, raisins, and water
  • Bring to a boil uncovered
  • Cook with low heat
  • Simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, or longer (until the rice fully absorbs)
  • Best to serve warm

5. Spinach Pasta

Here’s another tasty vegan food you will find in most South African restaurants. You can also make the food yourself. Spinach Pasta is delicious and nutritious food.

The spinach veggie is confirmed to have a lot of health benefits, and pasta is also good for one’s health.

This food is sometimes prepared in events, where the attendees are most likely to be vegetarians.


Pasta, baby spinach, cream cheese, cheese, olive oil, garlic nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

How To Prepare:

  • Cook the pasta until al dente
  • Add our to your pan and saute’ the garlic
  • After a while, add your spinach, season with salt, and toss until it wilts
  • Pour in the cream cheese and pasta cooking water
  • Add grated nutmeg
  • Stir the pasta with the sauce until they blend
  • Serve

6. Vegetable Biryani

Vegetable Biryani is vegan-friendly, dairy-free, and gluten-free. The food takes around 1 hour to get done and it is very tasty.

Found in most South African vegan restaurants, Vegetable Biryani is the favorite meal of most vegetarians.

More so, this food is used as a celebratory food in most events; the flavor is enchanting, and you can prepare it right in your home.


White basmati rice, olive oil, onion, red bell pepper, carrot, garlic cloves, fresh ginger, cumin, coriander, chili powder, cinnamon, cardamom ground turmeric, bay leaves, salt, and garnishes.

How To Prepare:

  • Pour in oil and preheat your pot
  • Add all the spices you got and allow them to crackle
  • Add onion and chili pepper
  • Wait until everything you’ve added softens
  • Stir gently
  • Pour in your rice and subsequently add coconut milk and water
  • Bring everything to a boil
  • Simmer for about 7 minutes and cook until the rice is done
  • Add your garnishes
  • Serve warm

7. Bunny chow

Although it is said to originate from Durban (created by the Indians living in S.A.), Bunny chow is now more like a common fast food that is popular across all South African states.

It is a vegan-friendly fast food you will find in most vegetarian restaurants, and you can actually make it yourself since the recipe is quite simple to understand.


White bread, Durban curries, vegetable oil, green cardamom pods, chopped tomatoes, finely chopped fresh ginger, and garlic, and potatoes.


  • Heat the vegetable oil in a pan and quickly fry the spices (including the onions) for your Bunny Chow
  • Leave the spices to sizzle and the onion looks transparent.
  • Add the curry and stir for about 60 seconds.
  • Add your tomatoes and keep stirring
  • Cook on medium heat
  • Keep stirring until it appears sauce-like
  • Pour in ginger, garlic, curry leaves, and some water, then bring to the boil and don’t stop stirring (simmer for about 30 – 40 minutes).
  • Further add the potatoes, salt to taste, some more water.
  • Simmer until everything looks perfectly cooked.
  • Serve as you wish

8. Ravioli Dough

Ravioli Doughs are pretty tasty and yummy. Different South African vegan restaurants offer different ravioli recipes/cuisines.

However, homemade ravioli doughs are practically the best, and you won’t spend much time making them.

Mostly, ravioli is served with a sauce, but you can still eat them alone. Typically, they are molded into a square, circle, or semi-circular shapes.


All-purpose flour, silken tofu, water, olive oil, and salt.

How To Make:

  • Pour in all the ingredients for making your ravioli dough into a food processor and mix them to create balls
  • Bring the balls, individually, to a floured surface and knead
  • Wrap them up to leave them for 30 – 60 minutes.
  • Unwrap and roll the doughs
  • Add other ingredients (if need be)

9. Seekh Kebab

Both vegans and non-vegans would enjoy this food; it is nicknamed the “vegan barbecue fish.” Seekh Kebab vegan recipe doesn’t consume a lot of time and consists of entirely plant-based protein, with no soy-based products.

You can still get this food in most restaurants across South African, particularly in Favor8 restaurant, Cape Town.


Green bananas, tin chickpeas drained, fresh ginger, seekh kebab masala, coriander, onion, plain flour, chickpea flour, oil, and melted vegan butter.

How To Make:

  • Steam the green bananas for some minutes, remove their skins, and mash while still hot.
  • Pour in the chickpeas in a bowl and mash them too
  • Blend everything; mashed bananas, ginger, onions, coriander, and the Seekh Kebab Masala.
  • Add the oil and your flours
  • Knead to create a sauce
  • Cover it and let it rest for some minutes
  • Mold your seekh evenly to form kebabs
  • Taper the top and bottom
  • Place the skewers on a tray and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/375°F
  • Bake for 20 minutes
  • It is ready

10. Vegan Cheese Slices

It takes approximately 10 minutes to prepare vegan cheese slices. It is one of the best vegan food to eat in South Africa. This food can be found in most vegan-friendly restaurants in South Africa. 

The taste is unique and enchanting. SA vegan cheese slices are further used in making grilled cheese.


Water, coconut oil, chao (fermented tofu/beancurd), tapioca starch, potato starch, nutritional yeast, dairy-free yogurt, onion powder, salt, syrup, anatto oil (optional).

How to Prepare:

  • Place a baking sheet with plastic wrap
  • Blend all the ingredients in a blender
  • Pour out the mix into a saucepan
  • Heat on medium heat and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens.
  • Cook for about 15 seconds
  • Transfer the sauce to the lined baking sheet
  • Use the back of a spoon to spread evenly
  • Cover with another plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to flatten evenly
  • Leave it for some minutes to cool
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours and cut them into thin square slices
  • Enjoy


These are the top 10 vegan-friendly food to eat in South Africa. You can make them yourself (hence the recipes included) or order from vegan restaurants nationwide.