Thank You for your support!!!

Dears Family, Friends and Neighbors,

First and foremost I would like to thank everyone who came out to support Uptown Soul Food’s first ever Vegan Pop Up. It was great to see so many people willing to try vegan food.

I would to thank everyone for their patience. Unfortunately, there were a few unforeseen technical errors that delayed much of the cooking process, but nevertheless, you were all very patient and understanding and I am truly thankful for that. This was definitely a learning experience and a chance for us to make the next Pop Up even more successful!

To the vendors, the cooks and and anyone else who made this event come to life, you are all very appreciated. A special thank you to Wired Beans Cafe for allowing us to access the space. They have invited us back to make the Vegan Pop Up a monthly event so please stay tuned for the next one!

Again, thank you for your support.



Net proceeds from the Pop Up will benefit Philabundance, Philadelphia’s largest hunger relief organization in the city.


Uptown Soul Food #Vegan ‘Pop Up’ at Wired Beans Cafe

Uptown Soul Food Vegetarian & Vegan Catering Co. will host a hybrid ‘pop up’ restaurant featuring plant-based soul food and comfort food at Wired Beans Café on September 23, 2012.

The ‘Pop Up’ Menu will feature vegetarian and vegan versions of soul food favorites including Vegan Macaroni & Cheese, Collard Greens, Green Pepper Po’ Boy Sandwiches, Vegan Fried Chicken Breasts and other southern favorites. Combos will be priced at $5.00 with net proceeds benefiting Philabundance, Philadelphia’s largest hunger relief organization.

Uptown Soul Food’s mission is to serve fresh, creative, vegetarian and vegan cuisine while celebrating and upholding traditional African American culinary history. Takia McClendon, a Philadelphia native and Germantown resident founded Uptown Soul Food Vegetarian & Vegan Catering Company in 2012. 

Recipe: Red Pepper Collard Greens w/ Pinto Beans (Originally posted at

Check out the recipe below or view the original article at

Braised Red Pepper Collard Greens with Pinto Beans (Serves 6-8)

This soul food favorite is usually prepared with ham hock or turkey butt. Try this cholesterol-free alternative and enjoy the same great dish with a slice of cornbread.


3-4 bunches of stemmed, rinsed, and cut collard greens

4 cups of vegetable stock (store brought or homemade)

4 tbsp of olive oil

3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)

1 cup chopped red onions

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp red pepper flakes

2 tsp black pepper

2 cups of pinto beans (sorted, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed); can be substituted with canned beans

6 strips of Light Life Bacon Strips (optional)

Sea salt

Flax seeds (optional)


In a small sauté-pan, warm 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add ½ cup of red onion to pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes, turning once.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine two cups of pinto beans and 3 cups of vegetable stock. Add cooked red onions and 1 tsp of black pepper to pot. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to low heat. Cook 90-120 minutes or until beans are tender (If substituting dry beans with canned beans, cook for about 10-15 minutes). Add Sea salt before beans are done.

In medium sized saucepan, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tbsp of salt. Add greens and bring to a boil, uncovered until greens are softened. Drain greens into a colander and set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine remaining olive oil, garlic, remaining onions, cayenne pepper, red pepper and remaining black pepper. Sauté the ingredients for 2-3 minutes. Add collard greens and pinto beans to the saucepan.

Add 1 cup of vegetable stock and stir ingredients. On high heat, bring to a boil. Cover and lower heat, stirring occasionally, for 30-40 minutes. Top with flaxseeds (optional) and sea salt.

Optional: Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a sauté pan. Crumble and add 6 slices of Light Life Bacon strips to pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes, turning once. Season to taste. Add bacon bits to collard greens. Combine ingredients and stir into collards greens.


Veg 101: Can Soul Food Exist Without BBQ Ribs, Fried Chicken & Catfish?

Don’t panic! As someone who adheres to a plant-based diet, I am often asked how I manage to cook a meal without meat. Trust me, you don’t have to give up tasting your favorite savory BBQ sauce or the deep-fried crispy chicken taste. Below you will find a guide to meat-substitutes that can be easily found in your grocer’s frozen food department. While most meat substitutes are cholesterol and sometimes fat-free, depending on how they are prepared, they may be highly processed. Don’t fret, they are fine in moderation.

1. Tofu: Tofu is probably the most popular of the meat substitutes. Tofu can be purchased in silken form as well as normal form. Silken tofu is often used to make sauces or shakes. Tofu in its more popular form comes in soft, medium, firm and extra firm. The more firm the tofu, the better it is for deep frying and making ‘mock’ chicken recipes. The website, Savvy Vegetarian offers an excellent guide on how to prepare tofu. In America, there are several brands of tofu that are usually available in the supermarket: Eden Foods, Rhapsody Natural Foods, and Unisoya are just a few.

2. Seitan: Vegan fried chicken, BBQ ribs, and other popular meat products turned vegan are often made with seitan.  Seitan is a vegan meat substitute derived from cooking wheat gluten, the protein component in wheat which has been separated from the grain. When prepared properly, seitan can take on the texture of some of your favorite meat products. While seitan can be made from home, feel free to purchase it in your local health food store. Click here for a “Southern Fried Chicken” Recipe made from Seitan!

3. Tempeh: Like tofu, tempeh is made from a soybean. However, it uses the entire soybean, and a fermentation process causes the tempeh to maintain a higher and more easily digestible protein content than tofu. It contains no cholesterol and usually absorbs seasonings very well. Tempeh can be used as a meat substitute in many recipes! My favorite is the “vegan fried boneless chicken” recipe. Lightlife is the most popular brand of tempeh. You can purchase it at your local grocery or healthy food store.

Popular Brands & Products (All imitation- no animals were hurt while compiling this list):

Lightlife: Frozen entrées, sausages, Smart Deli sandwich “meat” (imitation bologna, ham, & turkey), Chik’n Tenders and “bacon”. Click here for a full list of Lightlife products.

Morning Star Farms: Breakfast patties made with soy, sausage links, Soy burgers, black bean burgers, pizza burgers, veggie wings and veggie nuggets, BBQ riblets, meal starters, Chik’n strips, and veggie dogs. More more products and information visit Morning Star Farms website.

Tofurky: Deli slices, Hot dogs, ground tofurky, whole tofurky (for holidays), pizza, sausages, and more. Check out the full list here.

(Video) Fault Lines : Fast food, fat profits: Obesity in America featuring Vegan Chef Lauren Von Der Pool

Obesity in America has reached a crisis point. Two out of every three Americans are overweight, one out of every three is obese. One in three are expected to have diabetes by 2050. Minorities have been even more profoundly affected. African-Americans have a 50 per cent higher prevalence of obesity and Hispanics 25 per cent higher when compared with whites. How did the situation get so out of hand? Click here to watch the video!