Sweet Potato Soul

Jenne Claiborne’s adoration for the South is evident in “Sweet Potato Soul: 100 Easy Vegan Recipes for the Southern Flavors of Smoke, Sugar, Spice, and Soul.” This chef, blogger and self-proclaimed “Georgia Peach” loves creating southern dishes for her blog, Sweet Potato Soul, and YouTube Channel with the same name.

Claiborne shares her fondness for sweet potatoes in her latest cookbook which features flavorful recipes minus the meat and dairy products processed from animals. She embraced the vegan lifestyle in 2011 while working for a vegan restaurant in New York City. There, she realized that she wanted no part of a system that exploits and abuses animals. She would rather get her nutrients from plants instead. The Varieties of Sweet Potatoes segment of the book adds cohesion to her anecdotes.

Throughout the book, she places an emphasis on cooking soulful meals without forgoing taste and nutrition. She also discusses the origins and histories of some fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains that she uses to create appetizing dishes. Some visual favorites include the sweet-potato pecan cinnamon rolls, the Georgia watermelon & peach salad and smoky black-eyed pea cakes.

Although colorful images capture the food’s appeal, not every recipe has one. However, the manageable ingredient’s list and the easy-to-follow instructions make up for them. The six sections also help cooks to navigate through the paperback. They consist of breakfast, soups & salads, greens & sides, mains, sweets & drinks, and pantry staples & sauces. Don’t let the multiple fonts play tricks on the eyes while scanning this area. Find classic desserts such as the Georgia pecan pie and Nana’s sweet potato pie to excite the palate or jazz up dinner with the New Orleans-Style red beans & rice, jackfruit jambalaya and bootylicious gumbo. Claiborne assures foodies with her charm and personality that everyone will enjoy the reimagined fare.

She convinces me. I’m heading to the test kitchen to bring out my inner vegan. What should I prepare? The hot pepper pecans, the black-eyed pea hummus or the turmeric & ginger lemonade? Well, I fixed the lemonade. The recipe includes four main ingredients; cane sugar, lemons, ground turmeric and fresh grated ginger. I used the ground turmeric and the grated peeled fresh ginger selections and enjoyed the balance of sweet and sour with a hint of spice. This refreshing beverage just upped the drinking game. I’m adding this caramel colored beauty to my brunch menu and sharing it with family and friends.

“Sweet Potato Soul” offers 100 vegan options inspired by southern cuisine and perfected to feed the soul.  Claiborne fills the pages with the necessary tools to live a delicious life, sans animal products. Therefore, “Sweet Potato Soul” comes recommended for home cooks, professional chefs and those who are ready to make a lifestyle change.

“Sweet Potato Soul” is available on Amazon.


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Rekaya, aka The Food Temptress, is a freelance journalist, author and co-host of the sports podcast “Black Girls Talk Sports.” She has written content for Amtrak, Writer’s Digest Books and various lifestyle magazines. She also has penned seven books in multiple genres. In her spare time, she enjoys developing recipes and exploring Virginia’s 200+ wineries.