Radical Rabbit pop-up serves vegan versions of soul food classics

Mariah Ragland fell in love with cooking as a child in her mom’s kitchen in Knoxville. She helped out, marveling as they cooked everything from coq au vin for a French class project to peanut chicken for a family Kwanzaa feast. Ragland started cooking again when she became a vegan years […]

Mariah Ragland fell in love with cooking as a child in her mom’s kitchen in Knoxville. She helped out, marveling as they cooked everything from coq au vin for a French class project to peanut chicken for a family Kwanzaa feast.

Ragland started cooking again when she became a vegan years later. Vegan ingredients were easily found at grocery stores, but she could never recapture the feelings — and the flavors — she experienced as a kid.

“It’s hard to know what to do with the food that you do find,” Ragland said. “You’re like, ‘Okay, I see all these veggies, but what the heck am I going to do with it?'”

Mariah Ragland, owner of Radical Rabbit vegan soul food, poses at Citizens Kitchen Thursday, March 11, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn. The business is about to celebrate its third birthday making vegan takes on soul food classics.

With Radical Rabbit, Ragland thinks she’s found the answer. The vegan soul food pop-up offers gumbo to buffalo macaroni and cheese — made entirely with plant-based ingredients.

The Fisk University alumna, now 27, started the company cooking in her home kitchen, but now uses space at Citizen Kitchens commissary in East Nashville. She’s celebrating her third year in business this month.

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