Vegan Soul Food Cookbooks

We have looked at many veganized cuisines, such as Mediterranean, Asian, Mexican, Vegan Cooking for Carnivores, the well-known Café Gratitude’s Cookbook, Love is Served, and so on, but soul food has not been lagging behind. On the contrary, there are some seriously amazing vegan soul food cookbooks with mouthwatering recipes. Soul food is cooking with the heart and soul, and when you cook such delicious meals with heart and soul, compassion easily finds a place in this cuisine as well.

vegan soul food cookbook

Soul food restaurants have also sprung up in many states. According to PETA, the best soul food restaurants are in Minneapolis; Oakland, CA; Wilmington, Delaware; Boise, Idaho; and Charlotte, Carolina. For those who can’t travel right now, we still have cookbooks that will allow you to recreate these tasty recipes. 😉

So, let’s look at these awesome cookbooks and see which one is still missing from your kitchen shelf.

Vegan Soul Food Cookbook: Plant-Based, No-Fuss Southern Favorites – by Nadira Jenkins-El

The author, Nadira Jenkins-El is a vegan chef and holistic nutritionist. In 2014, she founded Global fusion, a vegan and gluten-free bakery and confectionery. She also co-owns and operates the Cutting Board Bakery and Café in Mesa, Arizona.

This cookbook offers easy recipes that do not require any butter, meat, or sugar, still spoiling you with the delicious flavor of soul food.

Recipes such as barbecue riblets and Cajun fried “chicken” provide great taste while you’re eating smarter and healthier. Besides recipes, this book also includes nutritional facts and tips for stocking your kitchen.

The Vegan Soul Food Cookbook has received excellent reviews on Amazon, with much praise for the recipes; but two reviewers mentioned that most recipes do not have images. The few negative reviews are greatly outnumbered by the many wonderful reviews on Amazon. If you don’t mind the lack of photos, then this is a good cookbook to have.

Sweet Potato Soul: 100 Easy Vegan Recipes for the Southern Flavors of Smoke, Sugar, Spice, and Soul – by Jenné Claiborne

The author, Jenné Claiborne, was raised in Atlanta. When she went vegan she thought she had to give up homemade foods such as sweet potato pie and fluffy biscuits, but she soon realized that that wasn’t the case at all. As a chef, she tweaked and tried out many new recipes to give life to plant-based soul food with a rich flavor and depth.

soul food

She created appetizing meals such as Coconut Collard Salad, Fried Cauliflower Chicken, Crabcakes, Sweet Potato – Tahini Cookies, BBQ Jackfruit Sliders, Bootylicious Gumbo,Jalapeño Hush Puppies, and Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls (sounds yummy!)

This book has received raving reviews of VegNews, Bon Appetit, Washington Post, and more; and the Amazon reviews are also an excellent 5 stars.

Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine – by Bryant Terry

Bryant Terry is known as one of the most foremost voices in food activism and justice. His recipes are plant-based, farm-to-table, and real food, without heavy salt or refined sugar. The book focuses a lot on local, seasonable, and sustainably raised food.

bryant terry review

By reworking and remixing African, Caribbean, African American, Native American and European ingredients, techniques, and meals, it is no wonder that Vegan Soul Kitchen has re-invented African-American and Southern cuisine and has now for 25 years been named one of the best vegetarian/vegan cookbooks by Cooking Light Magazine.

Moreover, much praise from other newspapers has rained down on Vegan Soul Kitchen. The New York Times, Los Angeles Sentinel, Detroit Metro Times, South Florida Sun Sentinel, The Root, Publisher’s Weekly, and others + many authors of other cookbooks are raving over the Vegan Soul Kitchen and the delectable recipes Bryant Terry has created.

Amazon reviews are also wonderful. I noticed two comments that complained that there were few photos and that those images were in black and white. All in all, though, this book is highly recommended if you like to re-create fresh, healthy, and creative African American cuisine.

Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed – by Bryant Terry

This cookbook is an Amazon #1 bestseller, another one by Bryant Terry. Afro-Vegan takes you on a food journey, giving you insights into the food that has traveled from Africa to the American continent.

Delish recipes such as Creamy Coconut Cashew Soup with okra, corn, and tomatoes; Crispy Teff and Gritt Cakes with eggplant; the Caribbean inspired Cocoa Spice Cake with Crystallized Ginger and Chocolate Panache, and many more (over 100) mouthwatering creations are presented in this book.

Like his other cookbook, this one has great reviews, 1025 Amazon ratings, and in total 4.5 stars.

Final Thoughts

As a writer I am also very active on Twitter and I see and comment on many posts in the Twitter writing community. That was where I was first made aware that African American writers are grossly underrepresented. I was a bit shocked. I thought, a writer is a writer, shouldn’t the focus be on the story he or she has to tell? If the book is good, then what does it matter where a writer comes from or what skin color he or she has? Perhaps – despite everything that has been happening – I sound a little naive, but those were my initial thoughts.


So, when I came across information about soul food cookbooks, I read a similar comment again: “The food industry has a long way to go in terms of inclusion, especially when it comes to celebrating soul food and taking Black chefs seriously.” (source: yahoo News)

This is why I decided to include a post about soul food, to share African American cookbooks, and celebrate this delicious food. I am pretty sure that I am going to order one of these books. Although I have eaten soul food before, it was only on rare occasions (I live in Mexico), and I loved it! I can’t wait to try out some of these recipes at home.

I am still deciding whether I will get the Afro-Vegan or Sweet Potato Soul cookbook. How about you? Have you ever tried soul food? Do you have a soul food cookbook and/or would you like to add one to your shelf?

Feel free to leave me a comment below. 🙂

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25 thoughts on “Vegan Soul Food Cookbooks”

  1. Thank you here. You just summed it all up here with these suggestions that there is always something for everyone. What you shared here is really good because I have some vegan cousins that always come over for Christmas. So, having the right knowledge on what to have out on the table for them when they come for the next Xmas would really be nice. Thanks

  2. It can be difficult sometimes to get what to eat as a person who’s vegan, that is why it is of importance for them to have this kind of cookbook that’ll help them out in the order of what to eat. It’s very thoughtful of you to share this book, it’ll be very resourceful and helpful.

  3. Never heard of vegan soul food before and some of the books you shared to help me understand it is good and I feel it would be nice for m to try one of them. I just started by vegan journey so it would be perfect to have a cook book. Seems like this one here has some good reviews by people who have used it in the past.

    • Hi Suz,

      Congratulations for going vegan! There are many amazing cookbooks out there. The ones I shared here have indeed excellent reviews and are highly recommended.

      Have a great day!

  4. Hello Christine, Thanks for sharing this wonderful article. The vegan diet is a very nice diet and I have been considering adopting it. For some time now, I have been going round the Internet learning about the vegan diet and so far, I am impressed. These are very wonderful recipes that I would like to try. I will bookmark this post for reference sake.

  5. Hi Christine,

    This is a really great article! I love soul food but I’ve never tried the vegan version. My roommate used to make cajun fried chicken when I was in medical school. What an excellent variety of cookbooks you have here.

  6. Christine,

    All of these books look great. I actually am a huge fan of soul-food since I’ve lived in the South before for a number of years as well as in other places that have plenty of variety when it comes to restaurants available.

    In Alaska, we lack a lot of variation when it comes to restaurants available, but Alaska is a weird place all on it’s own.

    My husband is from the South as well, and often asks me to cook him food from when he was young. He feels nostalgic when it comes to the foods he was able to get in MS versus up here.

    I love that so many people are looking for meat alternatives too, and they’re publishing the cookbooks for people to duplicate.

    Thanks for the great article!

  7. Years ago I thought vegans were such difficult people, why couldn’t they be vegetarian – like me – and be happy. I know, shame on me! It’s the human reaction to everything that is strange and unknown.
    At some point an acquaintance said she would introduce me to vegan and she had cooked the most wonderful 6 course (!) meal you can imagine. Delicious.
    I am still not a 100% vegan, in fact I am not even vegetarian anymore, because I had too many nutrient deficiencies so I eat organic chicken or turkey once a week (sorry vegans). But this soul vegan food definitely sound like a good addition to my diet. Thanks!
    Have you decided yet which book you’re going to choose, Christine?

  8. You’ve offered a variety of products here and I’m very thankful for that! It seems like I’ll be purchasing a cookbook here because 1. I don’t even know how to cook so I’m trying to get into it haha, and 2. My girlfriend is moving in and she’s a vegan. She knows how to cook but I want to surprise her with something she will like and eat, even if she doesn’t expect if from me. Thank you so much for this review

    • Hi Misael,

      Your girlfriend will love and appreciate the surprise and the effort you make 🙂 It will be a great welcoming gesture! I love cooking, and I think it will be great for you to learn how to cook, you’ll enjoy it. I love the creative process of it. 

  9. I am very interested in cooking up some vegan soul food. Adding the Vegan Soul Food Cookbook to my kitchen’s library of cookbooks will expand my cooking ideas, so I’m definitely getting the book. I always look for healthier ways to cook meals and this will be a great addition to my kitchen.

  10. I love everything about soul food. It is just comforting and it is literally warming my soul especially right after a hard day at work. I am not completely a vegan yet but I always eat plant based every time when I cook at home. Vegan Soul Food Cookbook looks good to me. I do not think that I am going to need picture for that. As long as the recipe is delicious, I am all for it. Thanks for reviewing all the cookbooks. 

    • Hi Nuttanee,

      True, I do not always need pictures either. I think it is more exciting to create the recipe and then see the end result 🙂

      Thanks for your comment!

  11. These recipes sound delicious and they are healthy. It’s amazing what cooks are creating these days with different types of foods. They are truly artists of the kitchen. I will have to check these cook books out. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Hi Christine,

    I’ve been slowly alternating my food to plant-based ones lately and I believe I’d get the sweet potato soul book to make them myself at home.

    Thank you also for recommending black authors! Bless you for highlighting their amazing works.


  13. My mouth is watering just reading these foods, they all sound delicious. I wonder how healthy they are, maybe the hint is in ‘soul food’ hehe. It’s great to see such variety in terms of foods that can be made.

    The sweet potato books are definitely ones I’d be eyeing up.

  14. Watching the Nadira Jenkins-El video is apetising 🙂 I must get her book – I found all of three of these recipes, vegan books and chefs unique in their own way because I like to incorporate variety in my cooking in addition to what I can learn. I will be adding these books and channels to my library! Thanks for such an interesting niche post!

  15. Great website and a wonderful article. The way to a man’s heart passes through the kitchen, for sure.

    I love the way you write and the use of colorful and suitable pics everywhere. Great strategy to keep visitors coming back for more.

    I also encourage the cause of vegan food and vegetarianism. It’s the only way we can be kinder to the lovely creatures around us. 

    Thank u for a great piece of writing.




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