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

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  2,683 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
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, sustai ...more
Paperback, 223 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by Da Capo Press (first published March 2nd 2009)
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A. Breeze Harper
May 03, 2009 A. Breeze Harper rated it it was amazing
VSK isn't just a 'cookbook'. In his preface, Terry lets the reader know that it's about reclaiming the healthy roots of African American soul food. It's reminding brown and black folk, kind of what we already know in terms of 'eating better' and 'eating from the land'; reminding us that this philosophy of healthy good eating isn't "new"; that it existed before the big shift in the USA to highly processed foods that have infiltrated and become an 'every day' staple in many communities of color/lo ...more
Lisa Vegan
Feb 19, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Rachel
This is a wonderfully done vegan cookbook, and I love that it’s for vegan soul food. I’ve eaten very little soul food because most of it is very heavily animal meat based, and even when I was an omnivore I usually wasn’t a heavy meat eater. (There is a local vegan soul food restaurant but I haven’t gotten to it yet; it’s across the bay and I don’t get to that area often.)

This book is so creative, and very enjoyable to read. The book starts with a “thankful” blessing song, music included! Each r
Ethical Cannibal
Mar 01, 2010 Ethical Cannibal rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: cooks
Recommended to Ethical by: library list
I was really excited to get this book from the library. Vegan food is a definite interest of mine, and seeing what someone else worked out to 'veganize' soul food sounded tasty.

The book does have recipes, some of which are good, but it was overshadowed by the story. Every recipe has a recommended song and movie. The author was striving so hard for a level of cool that I just don't have. I'm interested in food. Nothing else, but good food. All the rest of the stories, recommended music, movies,
Feb 16, 2016 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: cooking, nonfiction
Because I am an omnivore and I have a soybean allergy, this cookbook was challenging for me. Because I cook for a very committed omnivore family with a strong dislike of coconut, it was especially challenging for me.

I made the Lavender Lemonade, the Banana Maple Pecan Cornbread Muffins and the Chocolate Pecan Pie.

The lemonade is definitely a keeper recipe...the kitchen smelled divine! The muffins were nothing special, and the pie was meh. I tried the coconut oil pie crust (since I was making it
May 09, 2009 Krysta rated it it was amazing
Don't be turned off by vegan cookbooks just because you don't follow a strict vegan diet! If you enjoy cooking with and eating fresh, simple, healthy things, check this book out. I particularly like this one because it emphasizes ingredients that are naturally vegan rather than cram the thing full of pseudo-meats.

I realize not everyone reads cookbooks for fun (as I do), but this one actually has enough supplemental content in it to keep you entertained while you read the actual recipes. In fact
May 16, 2014 Mary added it
Ok, let me just say I am SUPER picky when it comes to cookbooks. This book is so refreshing in so many ways! Love how he has a song for each recipe! I also like little stories and history along the way. I am not a vegan nor do I have any desire to be one but I do eat healthy, tasty food. THis man is doing great things, coming up with good recipes and then educating and creating access to good food for everyone. What's not to like about all that?!
Apr 09, 2009 Jensownzoo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks, 2009-reads
This is one of those cookbooks where every single recipe makes you drool. The author focuses on using the freshest, in-season ingredients and less on calorie counts and fat content, but being vegan soul food, in general the recipes are super-healthy. Also, as an interesting twist in a cookbook, the author provides you with a song playlist and movie suggestion with almost every recipe to extend your experience of "soul" beyond just the palate.

A selection of recipes:

Citrus Collards with Raisins R
Oct 11, 2009 Jayme rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adventurous cooks looking for something new
I can't say I really ate much soul food previous to this book so I can't compare these recipes to their more traditional ones, but I have enjoyed them so far.

Bryant's book covers everything starting with drinks all the way through the meal to desserts. I love that the first section is actually his own six personal favourite recipes. I plan on trying all of them! Some of the recipes I can't wait to try are 'Citrus Collards with Raisins Redux', 'Lavender Lemonade', and 'Fried Green Tomatoes' (cau
May 27, 2011 Shawna rated it it was ok
Shelves: cooking, nonfiction
I guess I'm just not into soul food. None of the recipes in this book sounded interesting so I didn't make any and took the book back to the library.

Nothing about the book made me feel passionate about anything in it. Knowing Terry used to be vegan and has since changed his eating habits bothered me, but it's his life and I wish him luck, but that information tainted everything for me, but it's nice that he was honest about the change in his lifestyle instead of trying to come off as something
May 26, 2013 Shanae rated it it was amazing
Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine is the second cookbook I read cover to cover (both by Bryant Terry). Completely intriguing, Terry's recipes are new and exciting...he mixes combinations I never would have dreamed of and I really really like it. The recipes are very refreshing, just perfect for these upcoming summer days and nights. I'm excited to get start experimenting with the recipes.
Jan 18, 2010 Deirdre rated it it was amazing
Best cookbook for vegan food. Absolutely the best tasting food you wouldn't even know it's vegan. Just tastes fantastic!
Aja Marsh
Sep 19, 2016 Aja Marsh rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
3.5 - i liked the angle of this book. i also thought it was great how many tempeh recipes he had, as it can be a challenge to find a good tempeh recipe. overall, fun, a couple of recipes i might try out.
Maze Branch Oak Park Public Library
Our What's Cooking group was small this month (a snowstorm and Valentine's Day were intense competition!), so we weren't able to sample as many recipes from this book.

We had a mix of reviews...1/3 of us thought it was only worth 2 stars, 1/3 thought 3 stars and 1/3 thought 4 stars.

We thought the layout of the recipes was good (no page turning!), and we liked the suggested soundtrack to accompany the recipes. We would have liked more photographs (and closer to their corresponding recipes), and we
Jul 21, 2015 Melissa rated it it was amazing
I almost wanted to weep after stumbling across this book.

I am an African American vegan, I was born and raised on soul food- sweet potatoes, collard greens with bacon fat, macaroni and cheese, pork chops smothered in savory gravy. Although we only indulged in these rich staples several times a year such as at Christmas and Thanksgiving, they were very much a part of my childhood and my ethnic identity.

After going vegan, I often felt left out. While my parents chowed down on pan fried pork-chops
Jul 21, 2010 Hafidha added it
Recommends it for: vegans, experienced cooks, fancy black folk
Interesting cookbook. Many recipes call for some hard-to-find ingredients, and the more filling fare requires a lot of work. These are not 'throw something quick together' dishes for the family, but are probably intended for people who love to entertain and are experienced cooks. I want to try some of the beverages, and then I'll come back and rate those. Felt like too many drink recipes to me, but again I'm thinking this was for people who throw a lot of parties.

Quote: From page xx: While I tr
Jun 25, 2009 TBML rated it really liked it
A great addition to your vegan cookbook shelf! Bryant Terry has created mouthwatering recipes that are almost entirely created from whole food ingredients readily available in most grocery stores/farmers markets. I would deduct a star because a portion of the recipes are rather involved both time-wise and pots-and-pans-wise (although the pay-off seems delicious). The sections on beverages and condiments offer a wealth of new recipes that are just right for the blistering summertime heat.
The boo
Aug 30, 2011 Deb rated it really liked it
I just pulled this book out again and realized how much I like it. A great resource for vegan cooking and especially healthier soul cooking where every recipe sounds delicious. I have made a couple of drinks from the book in the past--like his Sin-Ger Thirst Quencher (a gingery hibiscus drink. This time I made the Crispy Okra Strips with Lime-Thyme Vinaigrette and served it with the Creamy Celeriac Sauce. Although I will never love okra, the flavors were all delicious.

Here's a link to the Okra
Andrea Paterson
Mar 13, 2013 Andrea Paterson rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
This is a cookbook written by someone who clearly cares about food as a ritual. Recipes are accompanied by suggested music, art, and films. All the food is made from fresh, unprocessed ingredients. You won't find much soy, gluten, sugar, or processed oils in this book so it's suitable for most diets. There are a ton of recipes here and all of them look fairly simple to prepare and sound absolutely delicious. As someone starting out on a more plant based diet this is a cookbook I'll be going back ...more
Feb 22, 2012 Starlight rated it really liked it
LOVE this cookbook. Recipes that include sound tracks, movie clips, delicious ingredients and delightful presentation. A great approach to soul food and vegan recipes - I full on loved this cookbook and its semi autobiographical manner of writing.

After making a few of the recipes, I have realized that I prefer to take a heavy hand with modifications to some of these recipes. For example, the Spicy Mafe Tempeh needed quite a bit of additional fixing up to get it to the authentic Senegalese flavor
May 30, 2016 Cindy rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I was turned on to this book by an online recipe for buffalo tofu strips. It refers to this cookbook as the best way to prepare tofu. Bryant Terry suggests freezing the tofu (in the package) for 24 hours then thawing it for 8-10 hours. This did give the tofu a chewy texture that I really enjoyed. The recipes in the book are all straight-forward and use ingredients that are natural and found in most stores. Each recipe includes servings, ingredients, directions, a soundtrack to play while cooking ...more
Jul 31, 2011 Chavonne rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Healthy Soul Food Cooks
Shelves: food
What an interesting concept--one can enjoy soul food without meat! There are such things as greens without ham hocks or turkey legs! My mind is still spinning with the interesting recipes in this book. This book is a collection of vegan recipes of the 'Afro-Diaspora'. I can't wait to try some of these out (I have a vegan soul food dinner in mind already!). I'm not a huge fan of the amount of sugar or white flour that's in his recipes (or liquor, since we're not drinkers), but I can't wait to try ...more
Feb 17, 2012 Laurie rated it liked it
Shelves: delectable
A super-creative, fun and funky cookbook. So many of these recipes sound delicious, but they are composed of one or sometimes two other recipes. A lot of things look more time-consuming than I like for a quick weeknight dinner. I really liked everything I did make, but I am reserving extra stars for when I make more recipes.

So far I've tried:

~Garlicky Creamy Vinaigrette 4*s
~Mixed-Herb-Marinated Grilled Summer Squash and Bell Peppers 5*s
~Red Beans and Brown Rice with Red Wine-Simmered Seitan 4*s
Aug 13, 2012 Peacegal rated it liked it
Shelves: library-gifts
I first learned about this book when an African-American member of my vegetarian group brought the Citrus Collards with Raisins dish to one of our potlucks. I was blown away by the wonderful flavor and had to know the recipe. She directed me to Vegan Soul Kitchen.

Not very many cookbooks are fun to read, but this one is. It's filled with personal stories, informational asides, and even music! It is my hope that, once this book is on the shelves of our library, it will continue to inspire more peo
Jul 05, 2009 Sps rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
Chipotle black-eyed peas were marvelous, collards remix was delicious and so far I've made it twice (though with broccoli raab because I can't find collards at the market) and the Jamaican patties were worth the time and effort. Next time I'd make a double or 1.5 batch and freeze some. And maybe add beans or crumbled tempeh to up the protein.

The book is also just fun to read and sort of makes me want to track Mr. Terry down and be like "what is UP, neighbor, let's get some Souley Vegan and talk
Apr 17, 2009 Wade rated it it was amazing
This is the first cookbook I read cover-to-cover. I've made several of the recipes already, and to great reviews!
The music (and art and book) suggestions also enhance the fun of making the recipes (and I was secretly gratified that my taste matches Mr. Terry's on a good number of songs).
The book itself is a bit small on the protein section, but it makes up for that with vegetables and inspiration. I'm inspired to make my own vegetable stock, and to figure out of canning is realistic.
This is an e
blue-collar mind
Dec 10, 2015 blue-collar mind rated it really liked it
Really like this book. the author put some very nice healthy recipes and paired them with songs, art and history. The idea of approaching a meal as a way to create an entire mood is a great one for a cookbook. His activism is front and center- he has an impressive resume founding and supporting food activism projects.
A worthy book for an individual chef or for any food project that uses seasonal items to educate about healthy alternatives for preparing Southern/African-American cultural recipes.
Celeste Simmons
Feb 04, 2011 Celeste Simmons rated it it was amazing
I have made at least a dozen of these recipes and enjoyed every one. I also had the honor of meeting Bryant Terry when he spoke at Westminster last month. His position is: 1. Start with the visceral (growing, cooking, and eating food) 2. Move to the cerebral (comprehending / pondering our choice and their relation to the lives we live) 3. End with the political (collective action to bring about collective changes). Really one of my absolute favorites.
Che Angela
Oct 05, 2013 Che Angela rated it liked it
I found the author's stories and entertainment pairings to be quite endearing. The recipes, however, were disappointingly lackluster. There were only a few savory dishes that I'll likely make again and I didn't really learn new cooking techniques. The only complex spice combinations pretty much consisted of garlic, salt, and paprika. My soul food slinging elders would have thrown this book in the garbage.
Apr 07, 2011 Christina rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
I like this genre of cooking so it was exciting to make a lot of the recipes out of the book. I do think he added way too many extra steps to each recipe. Maybe it's a male thing - but you actually don't need to use every pot and pan to make a meal!

Bryant Terry is a really nice guy and I do like what he's advocating (i.e., more community gardens). I picked up the cookbook because he gave talk to librarians at the library.
Jul 17, 2009 Marie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: post-soydog vegetarians, backyard gardeners
Do not let the word "vegan" in the title scare you off; if you love to cook, this is THE kickass cookbook for the summer of 2009, no matter what you call your eating style. Have no fear, you won't find recipes for faux-baby back ribs or any of the other scary pseudomeats the title might bring to mind. Vegan Soul Kitchen is new vegan in the style of Veganomicon: adventurous, healthful recipes that do not make apologies for "missing" meat.
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Bryant Terry is an Oakland-based eco chef, food justice activist, and author of Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African American Cuisine (Da Capo/Perseus March 2009). For the past eight years he has worked to build a more just and sustainable food system and has used cooking as a tool to illuminate the intersections between poverty, structural racism, and food insecurity. His inte ...more
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