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Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine

Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine

4.0 23
by Bryant Terry

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The mere mention of soul food brings thoughts of greasy fare and clogged arteries. Bryant Terry offers recipes that leave out heavy salt and refined sugar, “bad” fats, and unhealthy cooking techniques, and leave in the down-home flavor. Vegan Soul Kitchen recipes use fresh, whole, high-quality, healthy ingredients and cooking methods with a


The mere mention of soul food brings thoughts of greasy fare and clogged arteries. Bryant Terry offers recipes that leave out heavy salt and refined sugar, “bad” fats, and unhealthy cooking techniques, and leave in the down-home flavor. Vegan Soul Kitchen recipes use fresh, whole, high-quality, healthy ingredients and cooking methods with a focus on local, seasonal, sustainably raised food.

Terry's new recipes have been conceived through the prism of the African Diaspora—cutting, pasting, reworking, and remixing African, Caribbean, African-American, Native American, and European staples, cooking techniques, and distinctive dishes to create something familiar, comforting, and deliciously unique. Reinterpreting popular dishes from African and Caribbean countries as well as his favorite childhood dishes, Terry reinvents African-American and Southern cuisine—capitalizing on the complex flavors of the tradition, without the animal products.

Includes recipes for: Double Mustard Greens & Roasted Yam Soup; Cajun-Creole-Spiced Tempeh Pieces with Creamy Grits; Caramelized Grapefruit, Avocado, and Watercress Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette; and Sweet Cornmeal-Coconut Butter Drop Biscuits.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Ani’s Raw Food Desserts
“Anyone with soul and good taste will love Bryant’s ‘African Diaspora’ recipes. They're downright delicious and satisfying. By mixing together the freshest beats with local, sustainable ingredients and healthful cooking techniques, Bryant brings to life the festive culture of celebration that comes from eating this way.”

Ann Peebles, Singer and Songwriter (and Bryant’s Aunt)
“That boy can cook!”

Jessica B. Harris, author of The Welcome Table
“Don’t let the Vegan in the title fool you. With food, music, and a zero waste way with watermelon that yields 6 recipes, Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen not just for Vegans. Innovative and taste-full recipes like Sweet Cornmeal Coconut Drop Biscuits, and Baked BBQ Black Eyed Peas, make it a book for anyone who wants to eat well.”

Jay Foster, Farmer Brown Restaurant
“As the chef and owner of Farmer Brown Restaurant, I know firsthand the challenges of bringing soul food to people who haven’t tried it. If you’re new to this cuisine, Bryant Terry’s recipes will open your world; if you’re looking for a twist, prepare to be amazed. All I can say is WOW! Thank you Bryant.”

Robin D. G. Kelley, author of

The Green Collar Economy
“Much more than a cookbook, Vegan Soul Kitchen reads like a rich gumbo of the African American experience, a history lesson with a mouthwatering twist. From reaching back to our heritage as stewards of the earth to offering modern recipes, music suggestions and original poetry, Bryant brings together a portrait of a people as well as a movement (food justice) that is poised to save our health, green our communities, and sustain the earth. Bryant knows the shortest way to people’s hearts is through their stomachs.”

Peter Berley, author of The Flexitarian Table
“Bryant Terry’s warm hearted, soulful dishes shout out to you and me with crackling, lip smacking goodness. His fresh and sassy way at the stove puts meat on the bones of the very plants that are sure to sustain us for generations to come.“

Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D., founder, The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts, author of The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones
“Bryant has written a very creative, original, and musical cookbook. I look forward to trying out a bunch of these appetizing recipes. As a teacher, seeing a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute succeed so beautifully warms my heart.”

Ani Phyo, author Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen and

Winner of Treehugger’s Green Award for Best Cookbook of 2010 (4/9/10)

Named a “Top Ten Vegan Cookbook” by VegNews, July/August 2010

Alice Waters
“Bryant Terry knows that good food should be an everyday right and not a privilege. This book is full of easy, tasty, seasonal recipes that also happen to be vegan and affordable!”

John Robbins, author The Food Revolution and Diet for a New America
“Do you think a commitment to healthy eating means enduring bland and boring food? Vegan Soul Kitchen will not only show you otherwise, but will make it easy for you to create fabulously delicious and exotic dishes. Here’s proof that natural foods can be fascinating and sensuous. Here are recipes you will enjoy using time and again.”

Heidi Swanson, author of Super Natural Cooking, publisher of 101Cookbooks.com
“From gumbo to grits, goobers to greens, Vegan Soul Kitchen dispels the notion that great tasting soul food has to be bad for you. This is a beautiful book brimming with nutrient-packed, approachable everyday recipes. One of those rare cookbooks I look forward to cooking through from cover to cover.”

Van Jones, author of the New York Times bestseller

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

In this electric, eclectic collection of vegan soul food, West Coast chef Bryant Terry (Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen) manages not only to demystify classic southern cooking, he makes it healthier and more accessible. With a low-key approach, commonly sourced ingredients and recipes worthy of any palette, Terry avoids the didacticism and rigidity of other vegan cookbooks. An impressive amount of information for each recipe, including entertainment recommendations, is also provided. Many dishes will make the list of to-trys: a riff on the traditional Gumbo Z'Herbs that's traditionally eaten during Lent; a roasted potato salad with a parsley-pine nut pesto; and the ubiquitous chow-chow, a vinegar-laced relish that's indispensable with greens. Terry's simplicity is also commendable: a side of wilted swiss chard and spinach with lemon-tahini dressing is a healthier, creamier alternative to Caesar salad, and his Simple Seared Green Beans are a terrific way to enjoy the vegetable at its peak; classic treats like peach cobbler and mint juleps are also included. Though something of a Pyrrhic victory-a terrific and tasty collection of healthy Southern variations unfortunately relegated to the "vegan" ghetto-Terry's latest will make a happy discovery for cooks of any dietary persuasions.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal

Food activist and chef Terry (Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen) presents vegan recipes based on the Southern and African American foods that were part of his childhood, with some Caribbean and African dishes added to the mix. Although he avoids processed sugar and similar products, few of the recipes require a trip to the health food store.

—Judith Sutton

Product Details

Da Capo Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
7.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Bryant Terry is an award-winning eco-chef, food justice activist, author, and Food and Society Policy Fellow. He co-authored Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen and has a column (“Eco-Soul Kitchen”) on TheRoot.com. He lives in Oakland, California.


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Vegan Soul Kitchen 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Veggiechiliqueen More than 1 year ago
Bryant Terry's "Vegan Soul Kitchen," on the heels of Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen, attempts a healthy makeover of soul food staples like pickled watermelon rinds, cornbread, collard greens, peach cobbler, grits, coleslaw and potato salad, accompanied by extensive playlists taken from jazz, soul and R&B. The book's subtitle, "Creative African-American Cuisine," is where "Vegan Soul Kitchen" truly shines: these aren't just stripped-down recipes with animal products removed, but instead draw on traditional African and African-American influences to create new soul food classics. The ingredients and instructions are straightforward; each recipe is prefaced by a brief introduction about its origin and/or inspiration. Most of the ingredients should be easy to locate (fresh, preferably organic produce). Depending on your personal nutritional views, you may or may not want to substitute for the large amounts of coconut oil and coconut butter called for in several recipes (coconut oil is frequently promoted as a health food, but is very high in saturated fat). There are useful sidebars on home canning, how to cook dried beans, and specific ingredients (okra, kombu, tempeh). I especially liked the chapter on Margie's cupboard, which features useful staples like garlic olive oil, sauces and marinades, plum ketchup, relishes, salsa and pickles. Surprising use of flavor really makes recipes shine, like the Italian-influenced basil sea salt and rosemary oil, or an Asian vibe from coconut milk, ginger and tamari. The first recipe that I tried was the Citrus Collards with Raisins Redux. I ended up substituting dried cherries for the raisins. The garlic seemed to overpower the greens; next time, I'll try this with one clove instead of two. Also, I didn't squeeze out enough of the water after rinsing the greens, making them slimy (my fault). The next recipe was the lavender lemonade. I'd purchased a bag of culinary lavender, and was looking for a way to use it up. The drinks section ("Hydro Game") really shines, with refreshing twists such as Sparkling Rosemary Lemon-Limeade, Pure Strawberry Pop, and Sweet, Sour, and Spicy Blackberry Limeade that are refreshing alternatives to processed sodas. The third recipe that I tried was the coconut rice; it makes a quick and refreshing side dish (or breakfast!) and can be thrown together in a matter of minutes if you have rice and coconut milk on hand. Other great sides include Roasted Red Potato Salad with Parsley-Pine Nut Pesto, Caramelized Grapefruit, Avocado, and Watercress Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette, and Roasted Sweet Potato Puree with Coconut Milk. I would have liked to see nutritional info and perhaps a few more photos illustrating dishes (the few color photos are located in the center of the book instead of spread out throughout the chapters), but overall "Vegan Soul Kitchen" offers up tasty dishes, along with some great recommendations in music, books, films and artwork that complement the chosen recipe themes.This is a good starting point for those seeking to transition to a vegetarian / vegan diet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Search no more if you want a vegan soul food cookbook! Bryant Terry combined cooking and inspirational background music with a vegan twist. Supurb read and reference book!
jadeCH More than 1 year ago
I'm not vegan but I love this cookbook. I have tried several recipes from it and they have turned out better than imagined. The recipes are simple in that they take the best of the season and the mood, require minimal work and produce a wonderful experience for the taste buds. I adore the music associations included with each recipe along with some anecdotal stories of how the food came to be. This info makes for a great experience while cooking and eating. I've been able to easily adapt some recipes for one, which is a bonus.
earthlover More than 1 year ago
This is a great cookbook!!! The recipes are easy, refreshing, and so healthy! The chapter on using the whole watermelon is not to be missed-- The recipes are really interesting, not to mention the all important what music you want to play while cooking! A boost to my menu and CD collection. Strongly recommended for using and gift-giving.
kmaree More than 1 year ago
Absolutely brilliant recipes. I read the book cover to cover like a novel and enjoyed every page.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a flexitarian ( just learned that word and i love it) and i am trying to learn more vegan recipes but want big flavor N THIS BOOK HAS IT . This book is not a good intro to cooking vegan dishes but it has great recipes. Buy it but try a good into nook to learn the badics n more simple dishes.
caseymill More than 1 year ago
I love this cookbook! I actually bought it for the Black-eyed pea fritters, but I have made almost all of them now and I am consistently amazed at how such simple, easy to follow recipes can have so much flavor! I am ready for him to write another cookbook, hopefully with some vegan desserts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent vegan cookbook. I have tried several of the recipes and had to buy a second copy since my son asked to keep my first one. Even if you're not a vegan, or are simply attempting to beginning a new and healthier lifestyle, you will not be disappointed.
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