Vegan Soul Food: Plant-Based and Flavor-Rich

Can soul food be vegan? That's usually the first question someone new to the idea of vegan soul food would ask. Given the availability of many creative new cookbooks and recipes, the answer is a resounding yes!

Soul food is at the heart of many African American family gatherings and long-standing traditions. It is often regarded as a staple for holiday meals. Originating in the southern United States, conventional soul food dishes can include deep-fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, cornbread and black-eyed peas, among many others.

Soul food is traditionally composed of foods high in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium that have been identified as a leading cause of chronic disease among African Americans.

Vegan soul food presents a creative and more healthful approach to traditional soul food cooking. It blends nutrient-dense, plant-based elements with flavorful seasonings and lacks animal-derived ingredients but retains the trademark taste.

Here are a few cookbooks that put a healthy twist on your favorite soul food meals while preserving the cultural heritage that inspired them. 

Plant-based comfort foods may sound like an enigma, but chef, holistic nutritionist, and bakery owner Nadira Jenkins-El makes healthy comfort food easy and accessible for all to enjoy in Vegan Soul Food Cookbook. Readers will get hungry, inspired and educated at once by learning the basics of veganism and how it may benefit your health.

In Sweet Potato Soul, Jenne Claiborne proves that you don't have to give up your favorite soul food meals if you decide to go vegan. A chef, cooking instructor and blogger, Claiborne presents 100 plant-based recipes with unique and eye-popping ingredients that are easy to make and, most importantly, delicious.

Food activist and award-winning chef Bryant Terry transforms the way soul food is eaten with his culture-rich yet simple-to-prepare recipes in Vegan Soul Kitchen. Terry's recipes include Sweet Cornmeal-Coconut Butter Drop Biscuits, and Double Mustard Greens & Roasted Yam Soup, among many others.

For more information on vegan soul food, check out these recommended Black Vegan and Vegetarian Cooking books.