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

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Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews:

  • I wouldn't eat majority of it but I learned from it
    Cons: I wouldn't eat majority of this stuff. Throughout the entire book, I only found four things I wanted to cook: black-eyed pea fritters with hot pepper sauce (only because the picture looked good), candied walnuts, roasted potato and mixed greens gratin, and little banana-maple pecan cornbread muffins. When I look in vegetarian or vegan books, I like to find lots of recipes with tofu, but I was disappointed to only see two, and they were two I wouldn't want to eat. Some stuff just flat out didn't go together or sound too incredibly sweet (ex. baked sweet potato fries with ginger-peanut dipping sauce; caramelized grapefruit, avocado, and watercress salad with grapefruit vinaigrette; rosemary-roasted tofu cubes; sweet cornmeal-coconut butter drop biscuits; coconut-pecan pralines). I've also browsed different recipes in vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, and I never read anything about sitting a heavy object on tofu for an hour. When it's frozen and then refrigerated, it crumbles, which makes it difficult to make one of my favorite dishes--jerk tofu that is shaped into squares. It also wouldn't have hurt to have more pictures, even small color images if not full pages.

    Pros: I'd never considered trying tempeh and didn't care for seitan the first time I tried it, but there are quite a few recipes for it, so I may give it another shot. What I did like about this book though was the history and ingredients that made lesser known foods, which I knew nothing about. I also enjoyed the musical and movie selections.

    Was it the ideal cookbook? No, I like the The Ethnic Vegetarian: Traditional and Modern Recipes from Africa, America, and the Caribbean much better, but everybody has different tastes....more info
  • I miraculous leap over a very high bar
    After Bryant Terry's book Grub and a few recipes at the back I was looking forward to a full book dedicated to recipes. I have been between vegetarian and vegan, almost caught between the two after Omnivore's Dilemna and the Defense of Food. I have had to go it alone in a household of meat eaters and was awaiting for more recipes to win them over.

    The introduction to this book set the mark high, a biography, a soundtrack, a cook book, with a whole lot of other things mixed in ... This book allows us to learn who Bryant Terry is as well as get lots of good eats. I was floored by the section on watermelon, one because it encompasses beverages to snacks, but also because he found ways to use every part of the fruit. He not only has a wide variety of recipes but incorporates ways to be more eco-friendly.

    This will definitely be amongst my top books for now and a long time to come. ...more info
  • Vegan Soul Kitchen
    Vegan Soul arrived in like new condition, however, I haven't had an opportunity to use it yet. The book was not exactly what I expected but that had nothing to do with the purchase and delivery of the book. I am still looking forward to using it soon. ...more info
  • Weak points I would've liked to have known about before I bought it
    I love this book. I love it. I'm not American and I knew nothing about southern cooking or soul food so this book has been a total inspiration and a fascinating education.

    The weak (but not terribly weak) points ...
    - No metric conversions (I'm not from the US! ounces, pounds, I don't know and now I have to go look it up. And how many mls in a *cup* anyway?) Would've been a user-friendly addition.
    - No glossary for the uninitiated (I'm not from the US! I've never heard of *grits* and although I'd love to give `em a go I've had to invest time trawling the interweb to find out whether this is actually polenta or something else etc.). Would've been another user-friendly addition.
    - No pictures (Now that I've figured out what grits are, I'd like to know if I'm doing it right and a picture would be a great help.). Perhaps a luxury since the book is not printed in colour and to be fair there are some inserts with pretty pictures on them.

    Things I didn't know how much I'd like before I bought the book ...
    - Music suggestions to cook by. What a great idea!
    - Introductions to each recipe. Well written, informative, useful.
    - Fabulous combinations of flavours that surprise and delight.
    ...more info
  • Just what I've been looking for
    I'm a former Yankee who's been living in the South all my adult life. I've been a Vegetarian that long too, so I've never been able to enjoy good soul cooking. I always had my doubts about the malodorous slime people call "greens" anyway-but this book has given me everything I always wanted soul food to be! There's gorgeous tastes piled up in each recipe, and it's all bright, fresh, crisp, and better yet, healthy. I bought the book after coming across the recipe for the Jamaican Veggie Patties randomly online. It was more delicious than the Jamaican patties I remember eating pre-vegetarian. Time consuming to make, but worth every bit of the effort. That's when I decided to buy his book.

    Secondarily to the food, the jazz recommendations are all great. Can't speak for the rest, but I betcha I'll end up buying the music. Thanks, Bryant Terry, for expanding my horizons! Taste AND sound. Recipe for happiness, that....more info
  • this'll make you wanna be vegan
    these recipes are incredible! i've been a meat eater most of my life, interspersed with periods of vegetarianism and raw food. right now i eat mostly veggie and seafood. while i've lived with an incredible vegan cook before, i've always thought of veganism as intimidating and hard to do well. the food in vegan soul kitchen is delicious, simple to make, and...well, delicious (again). while i'm not going to switch my diet to vegan, i'll definitely be eating vegan more often. some of my favorites include cajun-creole spiced tempeh with grits, double watermelon strawberry slushee, cold and creamy cucumber watermelon soup (great for hot days and raw eating), and crispy okra strips with lime-thyme sauce. just writing that makes me salivate.......more info
  • Major yum!
    What an exciting book! Bryant Terry's "Vegan Soul Kitchen" is full of delicious southern cooking that's super healthy at the same time. I haven't made my way through the whole book yet, but everything I've tried has been gorgeous (the Sweet Coconut-Ginger Creamed Corn is a particular favorite of mine). Having grown up in southeast Texas, it's a true treat to find a book full of tasty AND healthy recipes. Can't wait to try all of them!...more info
  • Vegan Soulicious
    Bryant Terry is what I call Renaissance Now. He's an artist, a soul man, he's a chef who gives honor to the ancestors and their culinary survival. And that's saying EVERYTHING. I'm not only impressed by him, I'm grateful and humbled. And now with his Vegan Soul Kitchen I'm saved. From his Power Porridge to his Candied Orange Peel to his Succotash Soup, Bryant Terry has married the sustenance of life with his gift for pleasing the pallet and created one of the tastiest, folksiest, cutting-edge conscious Tennessee-singed vegan cookbooks this side of the planet. Did I say how much I loved the Black-eyed Pea Fritters?

    Keith Josef Adkins
    [..]...more info
  • So good.
    I've been drooling over this cookbook for a while and finally got it. Admittedly I've only actually tried one recipe this far, the tempeh and grits but it was simply amazing. I really enjoy the approach the author takes to his food and recipes.

    There are two minor issues with the some of the recipes in this book, they could get expensive and some are fairly involved. The expense can be fairly easy to overcome-using canola oil instead of olive (where the flavor of olive oil isn't essential), spectrum shortening (palm oil) instead of coconut oil, and soymilk instead of almond are the easiest ways to cut cost. There aren't really any specialty "health food store" ingredients which is a nice change. As for some of the involved preparation, I'm fine with that, I'm from the south and I know that certain things, like REAL grits take time, and to try to take shortcuts just kills the finished product. I'm only even mentioning times because I know sometimes that's a sticking point for people.

    I'm just very excited to spend the summer with this book because there are so many recipes to take advantage of great seasonal produce. I highly recommend this book for anyone who misses good down home food, or for people who want to explore a cusisine based mainly on whole foods, good veggies, and loving preparation....more info
  • A Brilliant Bridging of Culture and Ethics
    With his fabulous cookbook, Bryant Terry has bridged the gap between the wholesomeness, healthfulness, and compassion of vegan cuisine and the vast, versatile, plant-based roots of "soul food." It's clear that Bryant's heart and soul go into all the work he does to promote a diet that is sustainable and equitable for all, and this book is no exception. The few recipes I've tried have been wonderful, and the music suggestions that accompany each recipe make the preparation process even more special. Bravo to you, Bryant, from one (Oakland!) vegan chef to another. I encourage everyone - everyone - to embrace this cookbook. ...more info
  • Absolutely Beautiful!
    I just received the book this weekend and I am in awe. The recipes look tasty and I really like the inclusion of accompanying music suggestions with each one. You can practically feel the love radiating from each page. I am going to be cooking each and every recipe!...more info
  • Some of the best vegan recipes to date
    I have had this book for just three days but I jumped at the chance to try it out yesterday and what a find! I made the black eyed peas fritters with the recommended hot sauce, the succotash soup with garlicky cornbread croutons, and molasses ice cream with candied walnuts. While, admittedly, it took all night since each ingredient requires from-scratch making (I cheated with canned black-eyed peas), it was well worth it. Everything was just perfect. I would like to clarify something in case others have some confusion regarding the succotash soup, I didn't see the step where you drain the bean mixture after cooking and before pureeing but I am sure that is what is meant. I think most people would notice that 10 cups of water would make for a very liquid-y soup, but some wouldn't know this until it was too late and I would hate for that to happen! Also, I only used a couple of tablespoons of coconut "oil" because it was so expensive ($9 for a small jar), and make my fritters in the shape of small medallions so that I could flip them in the shallow oil and it worked just fine. This is a collection I'd recommend to vegans and non-vegans alike....more info
  • Incredible-A New Reason to Eat FOOD
    Bryant Terry is a poet when it comes to food--his way with ingredients really makes the dishes sing, and they are to my tastebuds singing like a choir of angels. I own about 100 vegetarian cookbooks, more than half of them vegan, but Vegan Soul Kitchen really stands out.

    I may have grown up in California eating tofu and sprouts, but my heritage is Southern, and therefore this food speaks to me on a deep level. I was always grossed out by grandma's Southern chicken-fried everything, and bacon bits in every damned vegetable, but this is Southern cuisine reinvented, healthy and vegan. This is one of the first vegan cookbooks I've come across in a long, long time that really stood out as different.

    Another aspect of Terry's approach that I love is that while the food is very special, it is the kind of food you can cook everyday. These are recipes for the people. These are not gourmet-restaurant-only, make it once and give away the cookbook recipes. You can peruse it and dream and plan what to make next, and really get excited again about cooking and eating.

    I disagree with the earlier reviewer who complained that the recipes tended to be too sweet. I have a crazy sweet tooth, but what stands out for me with this cookbook is what Terry does with savory dishes. For example, I loved the double mustard roasted yam soup and the grits with cajun spiced tempeh. Another particular stand-out is the cornmeal coconut drop biscuits, which I've made half a dozen times already, and I've even made it for company. My boyfriend now thinks I make the best biscuits in the world. They are that good.

    I'll look for more of Mr Terry's cookbooks in future. The only improvement I would make myself is to include nutritional information for each recipe. I understand that some people don't want that to "clutter up" a recipe book, but I prefer it, and sometimes choose not to buy a cookbook when they don't include nutritional information--just one of my issues, I guess. But on the whole--this is an incredibly delicious cookbook.

    ...more info
  • A delicious winner for any library seeking to expand a vegan cookbook holding
    Libraries usually have relatively few vegan cookbooks to choose from so it's refreshing to see VEGAN SOUL KITCHEN, mixing vegan dishes with soul food. Healthy eating needn't be bland or mainstream: VEGAN SOUL KITCHEN comes packed with flavor, from a Frozen Memphis Mint Julip to Spicy Smothered Green Cabbage. A delicious winner for any library seeking to expand a vegan cookbook holding.
    ...more info
  • steppin out with vegan cooking
    This book is exciting and unusual. Terry stretches vegan cooking in a direction that I have not seen much of, and never in such a well organized and inviting fashion. It is perfect for the vegan cook who is getting tired of the standard fare and would like to be introduced to some new ingredient combinations and methods. Terry prefers whole foods and offers healthy, fun recipes that push the boundries of what we think of when cooking vegan. ...more info
  • Amazingly beautiful piece of work! A Must Have!
    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/low income communities.

    Just picture a book that is about rejuvenating the soul through some hella good tasting food, not based on fake or mock meats, but rather fresh tasty delights.

    And imagine a book that, when you open the pages and begin reading, is inspired by USA soul culture and music. Terry literally has a soulful 'soundtrack' to this book. With his recipes, he will advise you what song will vibe the best while cooking and eating his recipes.

    I firmly believe that, unlike many recent alternative cook books that have come out, Terry's book is literally about a food justice that centers on the physical and emotional needs of many folk-- particularly the black and brown communities in the USA who are at the highest risk for nutritional-related diseases-- yet is still accessible and useful for ANYONE who just wants some good food. He doesn't preach or proselytize. He comes from a place of love and non-judgment. He has witnessed our brown and black communities suffering, simply because of how we eat and what we are unable to have access to (usually due to race and class issues). This is a man who simply wants us to know that yes, you can have your corn bread, collard greens, and yams AND decrease your chances for diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, etc- and it tastes fantastic!

    To support Terry's book is to support a part of the the alternative food movement in the USA that is generally ignored by the status quo. Basically, within the mainstream, it is assumed that everyone is middle class and has the transportation, financial, and educational means to access healthier and tastier foods. The mainstream food movement generally doesn't have to think about these social justice issues...

    Terry thinks about it. Terry's heart is entrenched in making his soul food philosophy available to, and a reality for, those that the middle class alternative food movement doesn't necessarily speak to. Mr. Terry will certainly break open new ground with this book.
    ...more info
  • Not just for vegans!
    Yes, Vegan Soul Kitchen is technically a vegan cookbook, but there is much to admire for anyone who enjoys good, old-fashioned soul food. I was born and raised in Memphis, so I'm sure that I'm a harsher critic than most, but Terry quickly earned his southern credentials with insider dishes such as Gumbo Z and Rainbow Chow Chow. With that settled, the first thing to note is that VSK is no anemic tome of just salads and sides. Terry provides a veritable compendium of offerings including beverages, desserts, condiments & breads in addition to a wide variety of tasty entrees. While the recipes are inventive, they are respectful to the spirit of the traditional dishes. Terry's commentary mimics the kitchen conversation that occurs when a recipe is handed down. Soundtracks and book suggestions encourage and inspire lively dinner talk. The recipes are divine, but perhaps the greatest accomplishment of Vegan Soul Kitchen is that Terry has managed to capture the essence of Southern hospitality in a cookbook. Although I have no plans to give up fried chicken or pork shoulder sandwiches from A&R, Terry's healthier versions of the food I love will now make up the core of my welcome table....more info
  • "Vegan Soul Food" - for the Food Lover with a Heart!!!
    As a cook and food lover with a heart, my choice not to eat animals is the reason I became vegan. "Vegan Soul Kitchen" by Bryant Terry caught my eye for a couple reasons, the main one being that after moving to the South about 3 months ago, I decided that I'd learn to cook southern food. I was raised in Asia, and had absolutely no exposure to either Southern Food nor "soul food", however I loved the vegan soul food that I've had in Seattle over the past year. I was therefore, thrilled to see a recipe for "Open Faced BBQ Tempeh Sandwich with carrot-cayenne coleslaw" on page 12. The ingredients were readily available even here in the South (at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's) and the BBQ tempeh sandwich was absolutely delicious! The only thing that I did differently was to bake my own Focaccia bread, instead of buying it already prepared. The "Minimalist Survival Snack Mix" on page 44 is a great snack when you don't have time for a sit down breakfast, or as an alternative to "not so healthful" snacks sold at the grocery store. My favorite recipe so far is the "Sweet Cornmeal Coconut Butter Drop Biscuits" on page 158. And yes, the recipe is vegan and no "real butter" is used. It's still delicious though!! I can't wait to try the rest of the recipes in this amazing book.

    Terry doesn't appear to be vegan anymore but he does know what he's talking about as he was vegan in college and knows all about the health benefits as well as compassionate reasons for being vegan, and this guy can cook! If not for the Gumbo poem on page 92 about sea creatures in a meal "... a mound of sea creatures, a crab leg reached over the lip ...", I'd have given this book 5 stars. I just thought it was an inappropriate poem for a vegan cookbook. You wouldn't throw in a poem about pork in a Muslim or Jewish cookbook now, would you ? Vegans and vegetarians, don't let that poem stop you from buying this book though. It's still a great cookbook for anyone who loves soul food, or anyone like me who now calls the south their home....more info
  • Best vegan cookbook I've ever purchased
    This title of my review pretty much sums it up. I've been a vegetarian for 19 years and recently made the complete switch to veganism. I have a vast collection of cookbooks, non-veg, veg, and vegan. This is by far the absolute best vegan cookbook in my collection. I've always had an interested in Soul food, but have been intimidated by the cuisine since it is such unchartered territory for me. However, Bryant Terry's 'Vegan Soul Kitchen' has introduced me to a world of food I knew existed, but never had the chance to experience. So far, I have made the Grilled Asparagus w/Rosemary Sea Salt, Sauteed Jalapeno Corn, Rosemary Roasted Tofu, and my absolute favorite, Cumin-Cayenne Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions. Believe me, the potatoes alone are worth the price of the book. This is my new favorite cookbook and I highly suggest it to anyone that loves good food, vegan or non-vegan....more info
  • Yummy Soul Kitchen
    I bought this book because of his previous work Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen, which is a groundbreaking green 'lifestyle' book for city dwellers. Vegan Soul Kitchen could just as easily be called Yummy Soul Kitchen- I'm not a vegan but the way the author shows how to build flavors I think will be a benefit to any cook. I highly recommend VSK to anyone who likes southern food, strives to be healthy, and wants to incorporate a spirit of sharing, joy, and community in their cooking. Includes several features (music, book, art recommendations) that make his book stand out from the typical cookbook....more info
  • Vegan Soul Kitchen
    Vegan Soul arrived in like new condition, however, I haven't had an opportunity to use it yet. The book was not exactly what I expected but that had nothing to do with the purchase and delivery of the book. I am still looking forward to using it soon. ...more info
  • Great Soul!
    I enjoyed the this cookbook! I have read through most of the recipes and tried two so far. How great it is to enjoy your favorite meals with a healthy spin. ...more info
  • Vegan Soul Food
    I haven't had a chance to cook from this book, but the recipes look tasty....more info


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