Healthy Soul Food Recipes

Find healthy, delicious soul food recipes, from the food and nutrition experts at EatingWell.

Staff Picks

Louisiana Gumbo

Rating: Unrated
12
Chock-full of shrimp, chicken, sausage, okra and tomatoes, this flavorful stew is a staple in Louisiana. Make it a meal and serve with Real Cornbread (see associated recipe).

Collard Green & Black-Eyed Pea Soup

Rating: Unrated
23
Antioxidant-rich collard greens and fiber-packed black-eyed peas have a starring role in this nutritious soup. There's no need for loads of ham or salt pork--just a small amount of bacon gives it a wonderful smoky flavor. You can skip the bacon and substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth for a great vegetarian dish.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake

Rating: Unrated
45
This easy-to-make chocolate cake is dark, moist, rich--and only dirties one bowl! Not quite as easy as boxed cake mixes, but those often contain trans fats. Our simple “from scratch” recipe gives you a home-baked cake with healthful canola oil and whole-wheat flour.

Mac & Cheese with Collards

Rating: Unrated
6
Dark leafy collards add bold flavor and boost the calcium in this healthy skillet mac and cheese recipe with a crispy topping. If you don't have collards, kale, Swiss chard and spinach are delicious substitutes.

Sausage Gumbo

Rating: Unrated
14
To keep it simple, we've opted for just the essential ingredients in this rendition of the hearty Creole favorite: sausage, okra, rice and a little spice.

Black-Eyed Pea Dip

Rating: Unrated
2
In this black-eyed pea dip recipe, black-eyed peas are pureed with extra-virgin olive oil, red-wine vinegar, garlic and thyme--a nice alternative to hummus. Try this protein-rich black-eyed pea dip with your favorite fresh vegetables or baked pita chips.

Black-Eyed Peas & Okra

Rating: Unrated
1
This bean and okra recipe is a classic Southern side dish perfect for potlucks. Adding the okra toward the end of cooking guarantees a tender--not mushy--texture.

Black-Eyed Peas with Pork & Greens

Rating: Unrated
13
This boldly flavored spin on Hoppin' John replaces salt pork or bacon with lean pork chops. Plus we've added greens--in this case kale--a traditional accompaniment with the dish. Serve with cornbread and a glass of Spanish rioja.

Real Cornbread

Rating: Unrated
22
This traditional cornbread is made without flour, isn't sweet and has a crumbly texture. You can change the adaptable recipe to suit your cornbread preference. For a variation, substitute 1/2 teaspoon baking soda for the baking powder and use buttermilk instead of milk. If you're looking for a more muffinlike texture, substitute flour for half the cornmeal.

Old-Fashioned Chicken & Dumplings

Rating: Unrated
13
Our revision of creamy chicken and dumplings uses whole-wheat flour for the dumplings and adds lots of vegetables to the filling. The delicious, satisfying results are packed with beneficial nutrients and dietary fiber, and because we don't use canned soup for the sauce, sodium levels are drastically reduced. To go even lighter, try the recipe with boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

Grits & Greens Casserole

Rating: Unrated
9
Here we've combined two favorite Southern side dishes--grits and greens--into one casserole; it's a natural choice to serve with Easter ham. Try omitting the bacon and using vegetable broth to make it a vegetarian dish.

Southern Kale

Kale becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender in this recipe. Assertive garlic and salty country ham stand up to kale's bold flavor.

Inspiration and Ideas

Tilapia Corn Chowder

Rating: Unrated
14
This light soup is a great way to slip fresh corn (and tilapia, of course!) into your late-summer menu. Make it a meal: Enjoy with a mixed green salad and oyster crackers.

Seafood Stew

Rating: Unrated
4
Our rich stew is made with green beans. The saffron contributes a pungent flavor and intense yellow color.

Shrimp & Cheddar Grits

Rating: Unrated
12

The South's version of creamy polenta, grits are easy to make on a weeknight--especially when topped with quickly broiled shrimp and scallions. Use the sharpest Cheddar you can find for these cheesy grits. Serve with: Sautéed greens and a tall glass of iced tea.