Lisa Vegan's Reviews > Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine

Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry
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's review
Feb 19, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: cookbook, gr-a, non-fiction, vegan, vegetarian, reviewed
Recommended to Lisa by: Rachel
Read from February 03 to 19, 2010 — I own a copy

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 recipe has an accompanying suggested song, and most recipes have either a biographical note about the author or a note about how the recipe got created. The whole book is refreshingly different from any other cookbook that I’ve read.

On one of the pages the author leaves room for the reader to write down one of their family recipes and its story. Very cool, I thought.

I love the straight talking and folksy style of the instructions and stories.

I really appreciate how this author makes sure there is no waste, a theme throughout the book. Many of the recipes show how to use all parts of various foods, how to use leftovers, etc.

The author completed the Chef’s Training Program at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in NYC and has a M.A. in American History and a B.A. in English. In the book it says: “For the last 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.” Oh, I’m so glad I bought this book (one of only two I’ve purchased recently) because I love supporting this guy. Web sites to check out are and

Six other contributors, and information about them, are listed in the back of the book: Don Bryant, Myra Kornfeld, Keba Konte, Michael Otieno Molina, Sara Remington, and Brittany Moira Powell.

I think that the photos in the book are terrific, but there were too few for my taste; I wish each dish had its own photo. The overall layout of the book is very good. There is an index of recipes & ingredients. There’s a more interesting/eclectic than usual “list of books I like” in the back of the book.

I know a few people who rave about this book. I really enjoyed it. I love this book’s uniqueness; the included content is so cool. The “real food” is really appealing. But, for me, most cookbook recipes contain too much salt and this one did too. Many also have more oil than I like to use, for taste, not just health. Compared to traditional soul food though I think most of these dishes might be lower in fat. (And, of course, we can adapt recipes to our own tastes.)

There were more than 20 recipes I most want to try. They’re not really representative of what’s in the book because I don’t like coconut, vinegar, or tempeh, and those foods are included in quite a few of the recipes, especially the coconut.

But, I absolutely want to try many of the stocks, and (oh yum!-the best recipe I’ve ever seen for) mixed-mushroom gravy, the cumin-cayenne mashed potatoes with caramelized onions, the Cajun-creole spice blend, the quinoa-quinoa corn bread and the garlicky cornbread croutons, the little potato and sweet potato pancakes, the baked sweet potato fries with ginger-peanut dipping sauce, the garlicky baby lima bean spread, the roasted red potatoes with parsley-pine nut pesto, the rosemary-roasted tofu cubes, creole hopping John, the savory triple-corn grits, roasted root vegetables with roasted garlic-lime dipping sauce, chilled and grilled okra, corn, and heirloom tomato salad, chilled citrus-broccoli salad, sautéed jalapeño corn, the creamy potato soup with rosemary oil and crispy rosemary, the peach salsa, the Soul on Ice pops (with watermelon juice), and the citrus collards with raisins redux. I got hungry reading this cookbook!

Edited to add: Oh, this is my 1,000th review written for Goodreads!
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Lisa Vegan I just saw Bryant Terry on a local tv program, making the caramelized grapefruit salad. It looked very doable.

message 2: by Kathryn (new) - added it

Kathryn Woohoo! Congrats on your 1,000th review and glad that it was for such a good book!

Lisa Vegan Kathryn wrote: "Woohoo! Congrats on your 1,000th review and glad that it was for such a good book!"

I was going to wait until it was the 1,000th book and then review The Vegan Table: 200 Unforgettable Recipes for Entertaining Every Guest for Every Occasion but I couldn't wait. I'm glad that this is also a terrific book!

message 4: by Kathryn (new) - added it

Kathryn I've added both to my TBR list!

message 5: by Lisa (last edited Feb 24, 2010 05:16PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Vegan Kathryn wrote: "I've added both to my TBR list!"

Kathryn, They're very different but both are definitely worth taking a look at. I just hope you can actually eat some of the food.

message 6: by Kathryn (new) - added it

Kathryn Thanks--me, too! :-)

message 7: by Rachel (new) - added it

Rachel I just found out that Bryant Terry is offering a vegan cooking class at Cavallo Point, which is in Fort Mason, on the SF side of the GGB!

(I actually didn't know about Cavallo Point before, it's like a resort/spa/cooking school/retreat place.)

Sounds like a fantastic event, but the cost is $115 per person, so for Jeff and me that would be $230 for a night out! I wish we had that kind of money to throw around .... does any rich person want to give us a scholarship? ha ha ha. I'll imagine we're there; I can drool over the amazing food in my dreams!

Also, I'm glad that apparently there ARE rich people who can afford $230 for a night out; because if they're going to see Bryant Terry, the money is going toward a really good cause! I would like for more people to be able to make a living being a vegan chef.

Also, Lisa, we have got to go check out Souley Vegan at their new location! They have live music on Friday nights, I keep telling Jeff we should go there and check it out!

Maybe this Friday? Hmmm. That might be a nice way to console myself for not being able to afford to go to Bryant Terry's class.

Lisa Vegan Rachel, I still haven't made it to Souley Kitchen, or to several new East Bay vegan restaurants. I really want to try Green Papaya and Nature's Express too. And I want to go back to Manzanita and Pizza Plaza.

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