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: 4.5 stars 32
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.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Chicken & Shrimp Gumbo

Rating: 5 stars 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).
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Tilapia Corn Chowder

Rating: 5 stars 4
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.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Chicken & Cornmeal Dumplings

Rating: 3.5 stars 3
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.
By Diabetic Living Magazine

Tomato-Corn Pie

Rating: 5 stars 15
Tomatoes and corn have a natural affinity for one another: the slight acidity of tomatoes balances the sweetness of the corn. Here they partner in a delicious quiche-like pie. The dough is very forgiving and bakes up into a sturdy shell that's great for just about any savory pie or tart. Perfect for a summer brunch or try it with a tossed salad for a light supper.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Sausage Gumbo

Rating: 3.5 stars 8
To keep it simple, we've opted for just the essential ingredients in this rendition of the hearty Louisiana favorite: sausage, okra, rice and a little spice.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Oven-Fried Chicken on a Stick

Rating: 4.5 stars 4
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.
Virginia Willis
By Virginia Willis

Nutty Pimiento Cheese Balls

Rating: 5 stars 1
These bite-size pimiento cheese balls from Jamie and Bobby Deen are a huge hit with kids (of all ages). They're the perfect appetizer to bring to a summer picnic. Jamie and Bobby share a passion for great home-cooked food with a Southern flair with their celebrity-chef mom, Paula Deen. These brothers are following in their mom's footsteps with their own TV shows, books and website. Our favorite part of what they're up to: healthy makeovers of some of Paula's recipes! Recipe adapted from The Deen Bros. Get Fired Up, by Jamie & Bobby Deen and Melissa Clark (Ballantine Books, 2011).
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Summer Tomato, Onion & Cucumber Salad

Rating: 4.5 stars 10
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. This cucumber, tomato and onion salad is best enjoyed at the height of summer, when tomatoes and cucumbers are fresh from the garden.
Virginia Willis
By Virginia Willis

Old-Fashioned Chicken & Dumplings

Rating: 4.5 stars 8
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.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Peach Custard Pie

Rating: 5 stars 4
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.
By Jim Romanoff

Mac & Cheese with Collards

Rating: 5 stars 5
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.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen
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Inspiration and Ideas

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.
Shrimp & Cheddar Grits
Rating: Unrated 10
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.
Lemon Thins
Rating: 4.5 stars 6

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.