Healthy Southern Recipes

Find healthy, delicious southern 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

Vegetarian Gumbo

Rating: 5 stars 2
This flavorful vegan dinner is a veggie version of the Louisiana classic. It's chock-full of butternut squash, tomatoes, poblano peppers and okra, to name just a few. This vegetarian gumbo is a quick dinner packed with flavor and spice that's done in only 30 minutes. To make it a meal, serve it with cornbread drizzled with olive oil.

Lemony Lentil Soup with Collards

Rating: 4 stars 6
You don't need broth for this lentil soup recipe--it's rich thanks to the browned bits in the bottom of the pan that meld into the soup, packing it with flavor. Ground coriander, from the seed of the cilantro plant, has a floral, citrusy flavor that dovetails nicely with the lemon.

Slow-Cooker Jambalaya

Rating: 4 stars 2
This hearty jambalaya is bursting with chicken, smoked turkey sausage, and shrimp. It takes just 25 minutes to prep in the morning and then your slow cooker will work its magic and deliver a tasty meal at the end of the day.

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.

Vidalia Onion & Cucumber Salad

Rating: 5 stars 4
For this old-fashioned Southern cucumber and onion salad, thin slices of cucumber and onion marinate just long enough to develop a touch of tanginess without any sharp bite. Serve with sweet dishes like barbecue to lend a refreshing balance.
Virginia Willis
By Virginia Willis

Soup Beans

Rating: 3.5 stars 2
Soup beans speak instant comfort to anyone who had familial connections from Appalachia, where every garden produced shelling beans that could be eaten fresh or grown to maturity for dry beans. Serve this thick, stew-like soup with cornbread, pickle relish and diced sweet onion.
By Sarah Fritschner

Tomato Casserole

Rating: 5 stars 2
Cook and activist Mable Clarke serves this craveable side dish at the monthly fish fry she started to save the Soapstone Baptist Church in South Carolina. While the cheese crackers may draw you in, it's the baked tomatoes that keep you coming back for more. When she's cooking for hundreds of guests at the fish fry, Clarke uses canned tomatoes and green chiles for this dish. Since you're likely not cooking for 400, we adapted the recipe to use fresh tomatoes.

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
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Inspiration and Ideas

Slow-Cooker Baby Back Ribs
Rating: Unrated 4
This easy load-and-go crock pot recipe is a great dinner to make with your kids. Let the kids stir the sauce while you rub the ribs, then just let the slow cooker do the rest of the work! Serve with a colorful coleslaw and brown rice.
Soft Green Beans
Rating: Unrated 5
Modern cooking may champion barely cooked, tender-crisp veggies, but the soft and luscious ones you find in many Southern kitchens, like these super-soft green beans, make a mouthwatering healthy side dish to classic Southern barbecue.
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.