Healthy Soul Food Recipes

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

Staff Picks

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake

Rating: 4.64 stars
20
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.

Summer Tomato, Onion & Cucumber Salad

Rating: 4.42 stars
6
Fresh wedges of tomato, thinly sliced onion and sliced cucumber dressed simply with vinegar and oil makes the most simple salad possible--think of it as the Southern counterpart to the classic Italian tomato-and-mozzarella salad. It is best enjoyed at the height of summer, when tomatoes and cucumbers are fresh from the garden.

Louisiana Gumbo

Rating: 4.58 stars
8
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).

Lemon Thins

Rating: 3.54 stars
5
These lemon cookies are made healthier with whole-wheat pastry flour and they get their zippy flavor from fresh lemon zest and juice rather than lemon extract. This lemon cookie recipe would be the perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea.

Peach Custard Pie

Rating: 4.83 stars
3
We use low-fat milk along with nonfat Greek yogurt in the creamy custard for this peach pie. The yogurt gives the custard a smooth texture without using cream or too many egg yolks. A slice is just as delicious served warm from the oven as it is chilled. For an added treat, serve topped with fresh blueberries.

Sausage Gumbo

Rating: 4.14 stars
5
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.

Kale, Sausage & Lentil Skillet Supper

Rating: 4.14 stars
7
Cooking the lentils in red wine adds rich, earthy flavor to this one-dish skillet supper. We prefer French green lentils in this dish--they're smaller, cook faster and hold their shape better than brown lentils. Look for them in well-stocked supermarkets or natural-foods stores.

Chicken & Cornmeal Dumplings

Rating: 3.33 stars
1
This version of chicken and dumplings provides plenty of vegetables with 5 grams of fiber per serving. Dumplings are made with 1 part flour and 1 part cornmeal to make them standout from a traditional flour dumpling. This hearty dinner option is the perfect comfort meal.

Oven-Fried Chicken on a Stick

Rating: 4 stars
2
Here's a fun way to serve oven-fried chicken for a picnic: put it on a stick. It's fabulous served with this homemade Vidalia onion and honey-mustard sauce, but it's also great with barbecue sauce or Frank's hot sauce. This is an easy recipe to double if you're serving a crowd.

Mac & Cheese with Collards

Rating: 5 stars
4
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.

Summer Succotash Salad

Rating: 4.5 stars
2
This summer salad is based on the Southern favorite, succotash, and is a fresh-tasting combination of butter beans, corn, summer squash and tomatoes. Butter beans, the same species as lima beans, are the bean of choice in the South. When they're in season you may be able to find them fresh--shell them yourself. Or use frozen butter beans, baby lima beans or even edamame.

Iced Mint Green Tea

Rating: 4.5 stars
2
Crisp and refreshing, you just may find yourself craving this beverage on a hot summer's night.
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Inspiration and Ideas

Barbecue Chicken Kale Wraps

Smooth, lacinato kale (aka dinosaur kale) is topped with barbecue chicken, carrots and cabbage in this healthy, gluten-free lettuce wrap recipe. Try them for a low-carb dinner or light lunch.

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.

Old-Fashioned Chicken & Dumplings

Rating: 4.43 stars
6

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.