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

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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  1,893 ratings  ·  107 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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Community Reviews

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A. Breeze Harper
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
Ethical Cannibal
Mar 01, 2010 Ethical Cannibal rated it 1 of 5 stars
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,
...more
Lisa Vegan
Feb 19, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
...more
Krysta
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
...more
Mary
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?!
Jensownzoo
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
...more
Jayme
Oct 11, 2009 Jayme rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
...more
Shawna
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
...more
Shanae
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.
Deirdre
Best cookbook for vegan food. Absolutely the best tasting food you wouldn't even know it's vegan. Just tastes fantastic!
Hafidha
Jul 21, 2010 Hafidha added it
Recommends it for: vegans, experienced cooks, fancy black folk
Shelves: i-own-it
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
...more
TBML
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
...more
Newfiekidd92
Good, and I think it's definitely worth buying if you like vegan and soul food, but just a warning it does have an entire chapter on watermelon and an entire chapter on drinks.
I also enjoyed the recommended songs and books and such.
I checked it out at the library to see if I liked it but I'll definitely buy this book!
Andrea Paterson
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
Starlight
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
...more
Cindy
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
Deb
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
...more
Laurie
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
~
...more
Chavonne
Jul 31, 2011 Chavonne rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
blue-collar mind
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.
...more
Wade
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
...more
Sps
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
...more
Peacegal
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
...more
Stephanie Alishia
This book was just so inspirational on every level. It really is more than a cookbook and touched on all of your senses. I have only made a couple of the recipes, but the ones that I made well were fantastic. My only complaint is that some of the recipes are a bit inaccessible for the average cook, either the ingredients are too pricey or inaccessible or the time required to assemble them is too much. Aside from those small complaints I felt that it was a very comprehensive book.
Celeste Simmons
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.
Marie
Jul 17, 2009 Marie rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
Mikhaela
Loved everything about this book so far and decided to return it to the library and buy my own copy. Have tried two recipes so far (chocolate pudding and citrus broccoli salad) and both were amazing and devoured by the family... You know it's a good cookbook when you want to bookmark 90% of the recipes. Plus I love his stories and his activist stuff thrown in there, and that he's all about not wasting, composting and the like.
Christina
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.
Katie
Terry is a confident, funky writer and an inventive chef dedicated to reclaiming African American cuisine from "master's scraps" to "healthy home cooking with an historical bent." His passion for the health of Black America's communities, which is so disproportionately affected by poor-cuisine-caused illness, translates directly into his delicious, creative recipes. I'm cooking a mess of greens in citrus dressing a la Terry today!
Veganpike
Okay, well so far I have to admit that I haven't made any of the recipes, but hopefully by tonight that will have changed...

But I just love the author's writing style, and each recipe has a soundtrack- overall, a ton of love has gone into this book and I am enjoying just reading all the little anecdotes and ideas that go along with the recipes.

He's rad, the book is rad, and I highly recommend it to everyone!

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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
More about Bryant Terry...
The Inspired Vegan: Seasonal Ingredients, Creative Recipes, Mouthwatering Menus Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen A Taste of Life: 1,000 Vegetarian Recipes from Around the World The Hood Health Handbook, Volume Two

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