11 Healthy Soul Food Recipes

soul food

What is Soul food? 

Soul food is a traditional and ethnic delicacy predominantly cooked and consumed by African Americans. The term "soul food" was first introduced in the mid-1960s, when the word "soul" was commonly used to define African-American culture. As the words like a soul sister, soul brother, and soul music were being used, people started to describe the food recipes, black Americans had been cooking for generations, as Soul food.

During the early to mid-twentieth century Great Migration, African Americans from the South brought soul cuisine to the North and the rest of the United States.

Being originated in the Southern United States, it is also famous as the name "Southern food."

There is one famous quote describing the relation between soul food and southern food is that “not all Southern food is soul food but all soul food is considered Southern Food”.

Soul food is an essential aspect of Black cuisine culture, eliciting strong sentiments of home, family, and togetherness. 

If you have tried healthy soul food plates at southern restaurants and want to cook the same flavors in your kitchen, then good news for you because in this article you will be exploring 11 healthy soul food recipes, trying which in your kitchen would give you the same experience you are craving for.

And, if you are someone who has never got exposure to authentic healthy soul food plates, through this article you will get to know about a few fantastic and healthy soul foods. Indulge in this cuisine once and you will crave more of it.

Let's start with exploring a few tasty yet healthy soul food recipes from the authentic and healthy soul food plates.

Soul Food Recipes

1. One-Bowl Chocolate Cake

This is one of the best desserts from the healthy soul food plates. This dessert is very easy to make and is dark, moist, and rich. Although the recipe is not as simple as the boxed cake mixes which contain trans fats and lesser nutrients. But this "from the scratch" home-baked cake includes healthful canola oil and whole-wheat flour will give you immense nutritional value and be good for your health.

Nutritional benefits: A very heart-healthy dessert| good for diabatic people| contains low calorie and low sodium. 

2. Black-eyed peas

Black-eyed peas, which are from a family of  beans, are an outstanding portion of healthy soul food plates. Though there is no equivalent superstition in West Africa, black-eyed peas were traditionally eaten on auspicious events such as twin births or religious days honoring specific deities. 

A pot of these peas is bursting with flavour, seasoned with smoky pork and boosted with red pepper flakes. When one tastes black-eyed peas in a seasoned, smokey broth, it's easy to see why this dish was originally referred to as "food for the gods."

Nutritional values: 

Black-eyed beans are lofty in the following nutrients:

Minerals like; Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium

Zinc, Copper, and Manganese

Vitamin A and K


Antioxidants in black-eyed beans, such as flavonoids, assist the body fight disease. Black-eyed beans fiber aids in the absorption of flavonoids and other valuable minerals.

3. Sweet Potato Pies

In pre-colonial West Africa, dessert was an alien idea. Despite this, sweet potato pie has become a mainstay of healthy soul food plates. Sweet potatoes proved to be a viable substitution for enslaved West Africans who were used to a traditional diet that included tropical yams. 

A simple entire sweet potato cooked in the embers of a dying fire was formerly a popular dessert option. Enslaved cooks began by mashing sweet potatoes and adding eggs, milk, and seasonings. The new culinary invention was termed a sweet-potato pone once it was cooked. A bottom crust was baked beneath the pone over time. 

On Thanksgiving, sweet potato pie competes with pumpkin pie for the title of best dessert. Sweet potato pie, on the other hand, is unbeatable among African Americans.

Nutritional values: Sweet potato pies provide 360 calories per 136 gm of it on the healthy soul food plates

It provides 15 gm of fat, 5 gm of protein, and 52 gm of carbohydrate in the same serving. It is a good source of fiber, protein, and vitamin A.

4. Corn Bread

There used to be a time when cornbreads were so essential for the healthy soul food plates that without them on the plate, greens couldn't be served.

Cornbread is an original meal from the healthy soul food recipes. It may pass for dessert in the south, but northerners prefer savory.

Either way, you can serve this healthy soul food with just anything. 

This starchy side dish is the ideal complement to your weeknight dinner main course.

Pull a pan of this classic cornbread from the oven and slice up some soul food.

Nutritional Values: Cornbreads are a good source of nutrients like Calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folic acid, folates, vitamin A, B-6, and B-12. 

5. Southern baked macaroni and cheese 

If you have tried it then you know that once you indulge in this baked macaroni and cheese, you will never like the instant mac box any better than this recipe. If you haven't, we guarantee that once you try this baked casserole, you will forget other mac and cheese. With three varieties of cheese and tasteful bread crumb toppings, this recipe is everything, healthy and tasty. 

Indulge yourself in a bite of baked macaroni and cheese, and make your soul free with this healthy soul food. 

If you want to make this soul food recipe more healthy food, cook it vegan.

To maintain your healthy food habits, you can use whole wheat bread crumbs, low-fat milk and cheese, and whole wheat noodles, and can reduce the amount of butter, and here comes your healthy soul food plates.

Or you can serve it with green salads to have healthy food for your meatless dinner.

Nutritional value: in one serving, you will get a whole of 45 gm of carb, 18 gm fat, 7gm protein, and 370 calories. 

6. Collard greens

One of the very healthy soul food recipes from authentic healthy soul food plates

This recipe is very healthy soul food and since it is cooked with original wilted-green, collard greens (tender leaves) smoothen by bacon grease. With the ingredients used in the recipe, we will be assured that it is healthful and delightful. 

Saute your fresh greens with some onion and garlic (and its oil) and then add the bacon to it. Your family will gush over the seams with delectable greens.

This is a healthy soul food side, cooked with a very easy healthy soul food recipe. You can indulge in it every night of the week.

Nutritional value: Collard greens are a great source of vitamin K and good for health. With the intake of the maximum amount of vitamin K, your body will absorb calcium and strengthen body bones.

7. Southern Fried Catfish

Even Christmas is not as special of a festival when it comes to the Friday night fish fry day when this healthy soul food recipe is cooked in your kitchen.

These healthy soul food plates have fried catfish for crispy fillets served with a spoonful of tartar sauce.

Cornmeal and garlic powder coat your catfish for a crunchy exterior layer that gives way to a flaky core. This 20-minute catfish, a very healthy soul food recipe can certainly be useful on weekday nights.

Nutritional Value: Baked catfish is a low-calorie, high-protein meal from the healthy soul food plate that's high in vitamins B12 and selenium, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

8. Fried Green Tomatoes

Presenting to you one of the delicious and healthy soul food recipes from the healthy soul food plates, Fried Green Tomatoes.

The fresh green tomato is packed with a tangy flavor that when goes with golden breading, flavourful magic happen.

Fried potatoes get all the spotlight, but the fact is that fried green tomatoes are the real best of the lot. Treat these like french fries and dunk them in ketchup, or just devour them plain.

Nutritional values: This healthy soul food, Ripe green tomatoes are powerhouses of vitamin A and C, potassium. It provides antioxidants and minerals which are necessary for body functions.

9. Baked Beans

An iconic healthy soul food recipe that makes a great option for daily weeknight meals. With its smooth and smoky flavor, this dish enhances the beauty of the healthy soul food plates. 

This healthy soul food is made tempting with dried mustard powder and brown sugar. These baked beans will be the tastiest you've ever tasted!

Retrieve canned baked beans from your shopping list and replace them with this baked bean dish. Since it is baked, the nutritional value of this healthy soul food becomes impeccable.

Nutritional Values: A rich source of fiber and plant-based protein.

Additionally, it provides iron, zinc, thiamine, selenium, and antioxidants which makes it a healthy food option for your daily intake.

10. Southern Deviled Egg

If planning a picnic and want to pack some healthy soul food, this healthy soul food recipe from a very authentic and healthy soul food plate will be an exquisite option for you.

The traditional hard-boiled egg half is filled with a creamy, spicy spread and sprinkled with paprika. Add a splash of pickle relish and a hefty dollop of mayonnaise for a sweet and tangy bite that won't go away.

This mouthful of healthy soul food, deviled eggs delicacy will be a good idea to keep the healthy food habits of you and your family.

Nutritional value: A powerhouse of vitamin A, B, and K. Provides good fat and sodium.

11. Fried Okra

A specific healthy soul food plate is incomplete without fried okra in it. This is one of the finest and most healthy soul food recipes. Frying okra is the easiest option for any time meal and you can churn out mouthwatering golden-brown okra bits with very less time cooking.

Present these healthy soul food plates to your family and this delectable salty meal will be finished by them in no time!

Frying it in less oil or butter makes it healthy soul food. 

Nutritional values: Okra has very few calories yet is high in nutrients. Okra contains vitamin C, which aids in immunological function. Okra also contains vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting.

Consuming it provides antioxidants that make your immune system better and help to fight cancer.


No wonder why healthy soul food plates are very demanded in southern restaurants. Healthy soul foods are loved for their heart-healthy and authenticity. These healthy soul food recipes are connected with sentiments and pleasant memories. 

Try out all the above-mentioned healthy soul food recipes and prepare healthy soul food plates for your family and let them indulge in the delicious yet healthy soul foods.

We hope that you will find the taste you are craving with these recipes and can have a prosperous lifestyle with the intake of these healthy soul foods.Also read Healthy Immune System: Following an Immunity Foods Lifestyle

Happy meal! 

Authored By : Poorvi Chhajer

About Author : Poorvi is a psychology graduate with a knack for writing and belief in ayurveda.

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