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Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine Paperback – Bargain Price, March 2, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 152 customer reviews

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Paperback, Bargain Price, March 2, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

From 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.


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 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 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 Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination
“Bryant Terry transforms age-old black culinary traditions into what soul food ought to be—food that sustain our bodies, our earth, our sense of community, and our desire for the delicious. For the naysayers who resist the audacity of okra or the soft power of tofu, Vegan Soul Kitchen is the new manifesto that cries out, Yes We Can give up meat and enjoy gastronomic nirvana.”

Alondra Nelson, Yale University, author of Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Politics of Race and Health
“A pioneer of the East Coast food justice movement, now hailing from the West Coast home of progressive food politics—where the Black Panther Party’s Free Breakfast for Children program made nutrition a key ingredient of social transformation and where Alice Waters started an organic revolution—who else but Chef Bryant Terry could have brought us the finger-licking, ethical eats in Vegan Soul Kitchen. At a moment when food can harm as well as heal, he has ingeniously re-imagined soul food by going back to the roots and back to the land. Recipes paired with vintage R&B, praise songs and poetry remind us that African diasporic cuisine has always been food for living and a total sensory experience.”

Publishers Weekly (starred web exclusive), 2/2/09
“West Coast chef Bryant Terry manages not only to demystify classic southern cooking, he makes it healthier and more accessible…Terry's latest will make a happy discovery for cooks of any dietary persuasions.”

Detroit Metro Times, 3/11/09
“Will convince you that soul food can be delicious without the animal fats and sodium associated with it.”

EbonyJet.com, 3/20/09
“Bryant teaches us that we can eat healthy and soulful, while creating just and sustainable food systems.”

The Root, 3/25/09
“At a time when more people are trying to eat well on a budget, the timing of [Terry’s] contribution couldn’t be better. Not only does Vegan Soul Kitchen prove that vegan soul food isn’t an oxymoron, it shows what’s possible for cooks who want to align their souls with their appetites, feeding their bellies along with their spirits.”

Edible Memphis, Spring 2009
“Bryant proves that soul food can be healthy and worthy of anyone’s (not just the vegans’) table. Not a Vegan? Pick up the book anyway. It’s loaded with 150 easy, flavorful recipes that are economical and healthy.”

East Bay Express, 4/22/09
“Terry draws upon his roots to create seasonal, healthy, animal-free alternatives to butter-drenched soul-food staples. Unlike many vegan cookbooks that call for hard-to-find specialty ingredients, most of Terry's recipes require a few simple ingredients that can be purchased at farmers markets and mainstream grocery stores.”

VegNews, 5/2/09
“With 150 recipes, this can’t miss classic will have you kissing your Collard Confetti without missing a beat.”

GoodCooking.com, 5/11/09
“This is a fun book that is well written with good recipes to boot. It will make a nice addition to your cookbook collection as long as Grandma doesn't swipe it to try a few recipes for herself!”


Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1st Da Capo Press Ed edition (March 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738212288
  • ASIN: B002BWQ4JQ
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,415,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"This young food activist makes southern cooking healthy and cool."

--New York Times

Bryant Terry is a chef, educator, and author renowned for his activism to create a healthy, just, and sustainable food system. In regard to his work, Bryant's mentor Alice Waters says, "Bryant Terry knows that good food should be an everyday right and not a privilege."

Bryant is the author of the critically acclaimed Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine, which was named one of the best vegetarian/vegan cookbooks of the last 25 years by Cooking Light Magazine. Bryant also authored The Inspired Vegan, and he coauthored Grub (with Anna Lappe), which The New York Times called "ingenious." Bryant's work has been featured in The New York Times, Food and Wine, Gourmet, Sunset, O: The Oprah Magazine, Essence, Yoga Journal, and Vegetarian Times among many other publications. As an exclusive speaker signed with the Lavin Agency, Bryant presents frequently around the country as a keynote speaker at community events and colleges, including Brown, Columbia, NYU, Smith, Stanford, and Yale.

Bryant is the host of Urban Organic--a multi-episode web series that he co-created--and he was a co-host of the public television series, The Endless Feast. He is a featured expert in the documentary Soul Food Junkies and the PBS educational film Nourish. Bryant has made dozens of national television and radio appearances, including being a guest on The Martha Stewart Show, Emeril Green, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, The Splendid Table, and The Tavis Smiley Show.

Bryant's education efforts and activism have earned him numerous accolades. In 2012, he was chosen by The U.S. State Department as one of 80 American chefs to be a part of its new American Chef Corps. That same year TheRoot.com included him on its list of "100 most influential African Americans," TheGrio.com included him on its list of "100 African Americans making history today," and the San Francisco Bay Guardian named him "Best Cookbook Cheftivist" in the Bay Area. In 2011 Bryant was included in Ebony Magazine's "Power 100 list," and in 2009, The New York Times magazine featured him among a handful of "food fighters." From 2008-2010 Bryant was a fellow of the Food and Society Fellows Program, a national Program of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Bryant was selected as one of the "Hot 20 Under 40" in the San Francisco Bay Area magazine 7x7 in 2008,.and in 2007 he received the inaugural Natural Gourmet Institute Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education along with author and Educator Marion Nestle.

In 2002 Bryant founded b-healthy (Build Healthy Eating and Lifestyles to Help Youth), a multi-year initiative in New York City designed to empower youth to be more active in fighting for a more sustainable food system.

Bryant graduated from the Chef's Training Program at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City. He holds an M.A. in History from NYU and a B.A. with honors in English from Xavier University of Louisiana. He lives in Oakland, California with his wife and daughter.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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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.
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By A.C. on June 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
I checked this book out from the library to see how I liked it before buying it. I've tried nine recipes, with mixed results.

The first three recipes were great. I made a meal out of the collard greens, mashed potatoes with cumin and caramelized onions, and rosemary tofu cubes. They were all very straightforward, easy-to-follow recipes (in a world in which vegan cookbooks seem to be taking a turn toward the futzy). I especially liked the collard greens -- the raisins were a nice addition, but I'm not sure the orange juice added anything. Nevertheless, it's my new favorite way to enjoy collard greens. The tofu was great, and really simple to make after the initial investment of dealing with fresh rosemary. The mashed potatoes were delicious (especially with the tofu), although next time I might try throwing a bunch of garlic in there.

The next meal I made was quinoa cornbread and succotash soup. I made the cornbread with whole-wheat pastry flour instead of the expensive quinoa flour that was called for, and it came out nice, although I definitely prefer maple-sweetened cornbread as opposed to agave-sweetened. The recipe was adapted from the amaranth cornbread recipe in The Voluptuous Vegan, and the original recipe will remain my go-to cornbread recipe. However, I did like Terry's idea to include toasted quinoa in the batter, and I think my future cornbread will benefit from this addition as it's the first time I had an enjoyable experience eating quinoa. I made the succotash soup to go with the bread (instead of making the cornbread croutons that the soup recipe called for). It was delicious but next time I'll only puree half of it, as I like a chunkier texture to my soup.
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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.
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