What American civil war era recipes are vegetarian/vegan?

The only vegetarian dish I know of (and this may be a stretch) is potato dumplings, I modified this recipe into potato and carrot dumplings on food.com/genius kitchen.

The original recipe can be found in Civil War Recipes: Receipts from the Pages of Godey's Lady's Book.


2 Answers 2


Hope this helps:

  1. This NYT webpage has a suite of recipes from this period, some of which are vegetarian (pasted below in case link dies).
  2. The recipes on this website, however, look even more authentic.

The following recipes are pasted from the New York Times reference:

Confederate Biscuits

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons shortening

2/3 cup buttermilk

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture is the consistency of meal. Stir in buttermilk. Form mixture into a ball; place on a floured surface and knead a few times. Pat out to about 1/4-inch thick. Cut with a small biscuit cutter. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cut open and spread with a little butter.

Homemade Ketchup

4 quarts crushed tomatoes

1 pint of vinegar

3 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons mustard

2 tablespoons black pepper

3 crushed red peppers

½ ounce allspice

½ ounce mace

Mix all ingredients in a large pot and reduce by two-thirds.

Mrs. Haskell's 1861 Mashed Potatoes

4 Idaho potatoes (peeled and quartered)

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter

½ cup cream

Salt and pepper

In a large pot of boiling water place potatoes and salt and simmer until tender. Remove potatoes from water and let steam dry for 15 minutes. Place in a bowl and mash with butter, cream, salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Braised Turnip Greens

2 bunches turnip greens

1 onion (sliced)

1 tablespoon salt

1 piece fatback

Rinse greens under cold water and soak for 1 hour. Add greens and onions to boiling water with fat back and salt. Cook for 20 minutes and serve.

Fried Corn

4 ears corn

1 onion (diced)

1 tablespoon butter

Shuck and remove silk from corn. Cut corn off ear and place in sauté pan with butter and onions. Season the corn with salt and pepper and cook for 15 minutes until golden brown.

Mrs. Cornelius's Molasses Apple Pie with Ice Cream


2½ cups flour

1 cup butter

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until l crust comes together. Roll out ½-inch thick and line a pie pan. Save the remaining dough for a lattice top.

Pie Filling

5 green apples (peeled and sliced)

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup molasses

Fill pie with sliced apples, nutmeg and molasses. Cover with lattice and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, 15 minutes. Let cool and serve with ice cream.

Ice Cream

2 eggs

6 ounces sugar

½ quart of milk

½ quart of cream

3 teaspoons corn starch

1 teaspoon vanilla paste

Mix eggs, corn starch and sugar in a metal bowl. Heat milk and vanilla bean in sauce pot on stove for 10 minutes. Slowly pour in egg mixture and whisk until thick. Place in ice cream machine and freeze.

The following recipes are pasted from the fast.media reference:

Confederate Johnny Cake

Johnny cakes worked on the same principle as hardtack: simple, easy to make food that could be easily stored and transported. They were also called “journey cakes” as they could be taken on a long journey. The recipe for johnny cakes consisted mainly of cornmeal, hot water, milk, salt, and, if you were lucky, a little bit of sugar. These were also easy to cook over a campfire as they were fried in a pan over an open fire with the bacon drippings from an earlier meal. Here's how to try some for yourself:


1 cup cornmeal

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon sugar

1 cup water

½ cup milk

Bacon drippings

Combine the cornmeal, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Boil the water and then add slowly as you stir the dry ingredients. Add the milk a little at a time to make sure the batter is not too runny. Heat the bacon grease in a cast iron skillet and drop in the batter by the spoonful. Brown on both sides and serve while hot.

Mrs. Cornelius’s Molasses Apple Pie

As one can imagine, there were few treats to be found in Civil War recipes. Sugar was scarce, but molasses was a very common staple that existed in many kitchens - and it was easy to store and even transport. Even with the war going on, the seasons still changed and crops were still harvested, and one consistent crop was apples. A recipe like this would have been easy for anyone short on ingredients, but wanting to satisfy a sweet tooth.


5 green apples, peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup molasses

Line a pie pan with an uncooked pie crust. Fill with sliced apples, nutmeg, cinnamon, and molasses. Cover with a lattice crust and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Mary Todd Lincoln’s White Cake

In the midst of all the bloodshed, life went on at the White House. Abraham Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd, was a woman who was raised in a affluent family and was accustomed to a rich way of life. In the White House, they had better access to ingredients with which to cook their meals. One of the things Todd loved doing most was entertaining, and she excelled at making sweet things for the White House parties and dinners. One recipe of hers that has been handed down through the years was her famous white cake:


1 cup finely chopped almonds

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

3 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk

6 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Confectionary sugar Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a round bundt cake pan. Cream the butter and sugar together. Sift the flour and baking powder before adding it to the butter and sugar. Add in the milk and the almonds and mix well. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff and then fold into the batter. Then finally stir in the vanilla extract. Pour into pan and bake for one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack and cool. Once cooled, sift confectioner’s sugar over it.

  • On a somewhat different note,have you checked out the book I mentioned? Nov 13, 2017 at 23:48
  • 2
    You might want to consider including some examples here - perhaps just the recipe titles, in case those links die in the future
    – Zanna
    Nov 15, 2017 at 11:24
  • I agree @zanna I quite agree Nov 20, 2017 at 23:55
  • 1
    @AbrahamRay addressed in today's edit. Nov 27, 2018 at 16:29

There is also a macaroni and cheese recipe that was used, made with noodles, real cheese, and, eggs. Then baked in the oven at 350.

  • 1
    I was pleasantly surprised to learn that macaroni and cheese is indeed a Civil War (and earlier!) era recipe. Good tip.
    – Erica
    Feb 8, 2019 at 17:54

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