Air fryer fried chicken
Source: The Soul Food Pot

Food for the Soul: 4 Healthy Soul Food Recipes That Are Definitely Invited to the Cookout

Soul food can be healthy too — it's true! Here are some of the best soul food recipes that put a healthy spend on grandma's favorite dish.


Feb. 7 2024, Published 7:35 p.m. ET

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For many, soul food is a symbol of comfort and celebration. However, there is a growing movement to reimagine classic dishes by replacing traditional ingredients with health-conscious options.

Healthy soul food recipes prioritize nutrient-dense ingredients without comprising flavor. By incorporating fresh vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, soul food lovers can indulge in delicious meals that are also nourishing to the body.

Here are some of the best healthy soul food recipes for those looking to switch things up.

Macaroni and Cheese

macaroni and cheese
Source: Black Doctor

Macaroni and cheese

Black Doctor's macaroni and cheese concoction should be placed in the healthy soul food hall of fame. Each serving has 10 grams of protein and less than 250 calories.

Similarly, the ingredient list is very simple. It only requires seven items, most of which may already be in your fridge. The recipe makes a 13x9 inch pan of mac and cheese, which should be baked in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes.

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What you'll need:

2 cups (8 oz) whole wheat elbow macaroni

2 cups (8 oz) reduced fat cheddar cheese

1/2 cup low-fat 1% or 2% milk

2 large lightly beaten eggs

1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Click here to check out the full recipe!

Air Fryer Southern Fried Chicken

air fryer chicken
Source: The Soul Food Pot

Air fryer fried chicken

Shaunda Necole, creator of The Soul Food Pot, altered a traditional southern fried chicken recipe and gave it a healthier twist.

She seasons the chicken and flour before battering and coating the meat in buttermilk, but then things take a turn. Shaunda suggests lightly brushing the chicken with peanut oil or vegetable oil before placing it in the air fryer at 360 degrees for 30 minutes.

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What you'll need:

6 pieces of chicken

2 cups of all-purpose flour, divided

1 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

1 1/2 teaspoon of paprika

¾ teaspoon of red pepper

1 tablespoon of poultry seasoning or all-purpose seasoning

1 1/1 teaspoon of salt

3/4 teaspoon of black pepper

1 egg

Peanut oil or vegetable oil cooking spray

Click here to check out the full recipe!

Vegan Collard Greens

collard greens
Source: Marisa Moore

Vegan collard greens

Some may be hesitant to try vegan options, but this healthy collard green alternative is a small step in the right direction. Created by blogger Marisa Moore the vegan collard greens include much of what you might expect from a soul food dish. The dish incorporates traditional herbs and spices to give it a savory taste without the addition of ham hocks or turkey necks.

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What you'll need:

Fresh collard greens bunch



Broth or stock

Sugar (optional but helps with any bitterness)

Red pepper flakes or fresh hot peppers

Apple cider vinegar, for serving

Click here to check out the full recipe!

Protein Banana Pudding

banana pudding
Source: Power Athlete

Protein banana pudding

Sneaking protein into your banana pudding can be a good way to ramp up the health benefits of this delicious dessert.

Power Athlete’s protein-packed pudding can be made with six ingredients in less than 10 minutes. The trick is to add a scoop of vanilla protein powder to the pudding mixture to give it a nice health boost.

What you'll need:

3/4 cup plain yogurt

1 TBS sugar-free banana pudding

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

1/2 banana, sliced

4 gluten-free vanilla wafers

Cinnamon to sprinkle

Click here to check out the full recipe!

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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