Sweet Potato Soul, a new vegan cookbook

Finally, I was able to request a book from Blogging for Books that I could actually post up here.  (My last few Blogging for Books reviews have been novels and non-fiction that had nothing to do with food.)

Publisher’s Blurb

Jenné Claiborne grew up in Atlanta eating classic Soul Food—fluffy biscuits, smoky sausage, Nana’s sweet potato pie—but thought she’d have to give all that up when she went vegan.  As a chef, she instead spent years tweaking and experimenting to infuse plant-based, life-giving, glow-worthy foods with the flavor and depth that feeds the soul.

The result? Her first cookbook, Sweet Potato Soul, offering 100 vegan recipes that riff on Southern cooking in surprising and delicious ways, beautifully illustrated with full-color photography. Jenné revives the long tradition of using fresh, local ingredients creatively in dishes like Coconut Collard Salad and Fried Cauliflower Chicken. She improvises new flavors in Peach Date BBQ Jackfruit Sliders and Sweet Potato-Tahini Cookies. She celebrates the plant-based roots of the cuisine in Bootylicious Gumbo and savory-sweet Georgia Watermelon & Peach Salad. And she updates classics with Jalapeño Hush Puppies, and her favorite, Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls.

Along the way, Jenné explores the narratives surrounding iconic and beloved soul food recipes, as well as their innate nutritional benefits–you’ve heard that dandelion, mustard, and turnip greens, okra, and black eyed peas are nutrition superstars, but here’s how to make them super tasty, too.

From decadent pound cakes and ginger-kissed fruit cobblers to smokey collard greens, amazing crabcakes and the most comforting sweet potato pie you’ll ever taste, these better-than-the-original takes on crave-worthy dishes are good for your health, heart, and soul.


What I thought…

The first forty pages are a how-to, what and why to vegan cooking, and obviously the Southern soul food way.

  • There’s the definitive guide to the many different varieties of sweet potatoes.
  • There’s the “Why is it good for you” rationale.
  • There’s the can’t-live-without “Tools to Stock your Soul Kitchen” list.
  • There’s “Southern Pantry Staple” recommendations.
  • There’s witty vegan quotes from the likes of Erykah Badu and Natalie Goldberg and Bob Jeffries.

While  I found these introductory pages intriguing and informative, I was ready to get to the meat of the book (pardon the ironic pun).

I think I could embrace vegetarianism and a lot of our meals tend to be meat free.  But, embracing the vegan lifestyle has always caused me to pause—there’s that whole fake cheese thing to get past.   Claiborne’s book makes me think, however, that I could embrace a plant prone diet.

Sweet Potato Soul is divided into the following sections:

  • breakfast, salads & soups
  • greens & sides
  • mains
  • sweets & drinks
  • pantry staples & sauces

I really wanted to pull a recipe from each section like Sweet Potato Granola (48), Coconut Corn Chowder (94), Black-Eyed Pea Hummus (110), Southern Buddha Bowl (131), Blackberry Mint Julep (196), or Peach-Date BBQ Sauce (207).   All of these recipes mentioned here could easily be put on a non-vegan table with no complaints.  I would highly suspect that that corn chowder shows up posted here soon.

It’s rare that I get a cookbook that I want to go through recipe by recipe and try them all.   Claiborne and Sweet Potato Soul makes me want to do just that, especially this spring and summer when ingredients will be fresh, ripe and delicious.

photo taken from Claiborne’s blog, Sweet Potato Soul

Claiborne has blogged for years at Sweet Potato Soul.  

As a non-vegan, I rate this cookbook FIVE STARS!


I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  All opinions, exclamations, gushings and rants are my own.  For my other Blogging for Books reviews, click here.


I’m linking up with Foodies Reads for February.


20 comments to Sweet Potato Soul, a new vegan cookbook