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 30
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

Classic Mint Juleps

These traditional mint juleps are a staple in the South--especially for the Kentucky Derby. Whip them up at home with this easy recipe.
By Carolyn Casner

Louisiana 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

Slow-Cooker Baby Back Ribs

Rating: 5 stars 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.
By Carolyn Casner

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.
By Virginia Willis

Southern Macaroni Salad

Rating: 5 stars 1
Bring this quintessential Southern macaroni salad, made with whole-wheat macaroni, celery, peas and ham, to your next picnic or barbecue. It's the perfect salad to feed a crowd!
By Pam Lolley

Fresh Corn Hush Puppies

Stirring chopped corn kernels into the batter and serving these homemade hush puppies with a lemony herb yogurt sauce give these tasty bites fresh flavor. Holding the frying oil at a steady 360 degrees F prevents the dough from absorbing too much.
By Genevieve Ko

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.
By Virginia Willis

Fried Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Rating: 5 stars 7
A blend of whole-wheat panko and fine cornmeal gives this healthy chicken recipe the perfect amount of crunch even though it's not deep fried. Making an easy homemade buttermilk ranch dressing recipe means you can skip bottled, which may have additives and stabilizers.
By Stacy Fraser

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 Creole favorite: sausage, okra, rice and a little spice.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Cajun Salmon with Greek Yogurt Remoulade

Rating: 5 stars 2
Paprika and garlic powder make a quick Cajun-inspired seasoning that flavors salmon fillets in this easy dinner recipe. Traditionally, remoulade sauce is prepared with mayonnaise; here, we substitute nonfat Greek yogurt for a lighter version.
By Dina Cheney

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.
By Joy Howard
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Inspiration and Ideas

36 Southern Recipes That Taste Just Like Grandma's
From mac and cheese to BBQ to Hoppin' John, these recipes feature plenty of greens, beans and vegetables.
Soft Green Beans
Rating: Unrated 3
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.
Soup Beans
Rating: 3.5 stars 2

Like poor people everywhere, mountain people in the South thrived for centuries on food that was indigenous, inexpensive and healthful. These days “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.