BLACK HISTORY MOMENTS: Local family serves up traditional meals with a vegan twist

Updated: Feb. 24, 2021 at 9:34 AM CST
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Vegans on the Run is a family-owned and operated food service specializing in 100% vegan and 100% organic meals.

Dr. Joslin Pickens says the inspiration behind the comfort food comes from her grandmother. Although her grandmother wasn’t vegan, she had a love for cooking and the dining room at her home was the center point of gatherings for family meals, especially during the holidays.

“I have been vegan for nine years, so when I transitioned, I was okay with all of the, I guess, cardboard and bird food and all of those things, but when my teenage daughter transitioned, that is when the challenge of trying to make it more palatable and something that she would like came about,” Dr. Pickens said.

The family business started in her mother’s kitchen experimenting with vegan holiday meals for themselves and friends. In the past few months, they have become part of the weekly lunch plans in the Shreveport-Bossier area. The support has exploded and left customers wanting the business to open daily.

The family behind Vegans on the Run
The family behind Vegans on the Run(Dr. Pickens)

“We shop all of the vegan places that are in town, we eat there, we go to Whole Foods Market, we do all of those things. We wanted something that tasted closer to home, that tasted closer to grandma’s cooking, so we have the healthy side, the safety for animals, and everything all of that wrapped into a delicious meal,” Dr. Pickens said.

Dr. Joslin Pickens and Dr. Kim Pickens
Dr. Joslin Pickens and Dr. Kim Pickens(Dr. Pickens)

Now, Dr. Pickens and her sister, Dr. Kim Pickens, along with their mother and Joslin’s daughter, have opened up one of the most talked about vegan businesses in the area. Both sisters were among the inaugural class for LSUS’s doctor of education in leadership studies program in 2014. They graduated together in 2017. Although the two have no culinary experience, they dig deep into their background research to find what “works” from taste to appearance.

“I understand that we eat with our eyes and things have to look a certain way to make it more palatable, so if it looks like a nacho, people will go for it,” said Dr. Pickens.

She says a popular misconception is that vegan meals don’t taste good or have flavor. However, many of the customers are meat eaters looking for healthier options and are surprised when they first taste food from Vegans on the Run.

“We make sure we have our food full of flavor and all of those traditional things you think about with a meal, just not with the meat,” said the doctor.

Customers are always posting photos of their meals on social media.

Hot Girlz Vegan Chik'n drummettes with homemade hot buffalo sauce.  Served with fresh garden...
Hot Girlz Vegan Chik'n drummettes with homemade hot buffalo sauce. Served with fresh garden salad and dressing(Dr. Pickens)

Hot Girls Vegan Chik’n drumettes made with homemade buffalo sauce and served up with a fresh salad and dressing is one of the more popular items. Other meals include the Shrymp & Grits, the Bac’n Cheez Vurger, the Quesadilla Vurger with Chips & Cheez, and the Loaded Nachos.

Shrymp & Grits
Shrymp & Grits(Dr. Pickens)
Loaded Nachos
Loaded Nachos(Dr. Pickens)

Vegans on the Run in currently housed inside of the Milam Street Kitchen Incubator at 1210 Milam St. The business posts weekly curbside pop-up dates on Facebook and Instagram.

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