The origins of soul food begin during slavery with the foods slaves were given by landowners to prepare for themselves. Of course, their cooking was heavily influenced by their African heritage. However, today it has become almost synonymous with Southern cooking. In addition, along the Mississippi, it has mingled with Cajun style cooking from New Orleans. I decided to create these easy soul food recipes for Sunday dinner or soul food weeknight meals.
These easy soul food recipes are based on menu items in local Memphis and Clarksdale restaurants which we had planned to visit during our Blues Road Trip. Although we didn’t get to go on the trip I wrote about some of the historical places we had planned to visit in honor of Black History Month. For more country dinner ideas read my additional post on southern soul food recipes.
This post contains sponsored links. Please read full disclosure if you would like additional details.
Where Can I Find...?
Easy Soul Food Recipe for Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
This delicious dish is influenced by Louisiana soul food recipes. Since visiting New Orleans several years ago, my husband and I have worked on recreating those Cajun flavors at home to make easy southern style dinners.
Fresh Ingredients for Gumbo
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- large chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons of Creole seasoning (onion powder, garlic powder, sweet paprika, cayenne pepper)
- 2 pork sausage links casings removed
- 1/2 pound smoked sausage sliced
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- 14 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 5 cups chicken stock
- tablespoon dried thyme
- package frozen okra (or you can use leftover fried okra)
- tablespoon Worcestershire
Directions for Gumbo Louisiana Cooking Recipes
- Begin by making a roux by heating the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Then whisk in flour and reduce heat to medium. Cook until brown, about 5 minutes.
- Once the roux is brown, add the onions. Lower heat to medium-low and continue stirring for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile season the chicken with Creole spices. When the onions are tender add the chicken.
- After that add the pork sausage, crumbling as you mix it in.
- Once that is cooked, add the smoked sausage and stir well.
- Then add the celery, peppers, tomatoes and garlic. Raise heat to medium high and continue stirring for about 3 more minutes.
- Then add stock and thyme.
- Boil and then reduce heat. Simmer 45 minutes.
- Next add the okra and Worcestershire and cook for an additional 45 minutes.
- When ready serve with fresh herb bread or rice.
Easy Soul Food Recipe for Shrimp Po’ Boy with Slaw
Ingredients for Southern Fried Shrimp Po’Boy
- pound peeled and deveined shrimp
- 1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce
- cup cornmeal
- teaspoon smoked paprika
- package southwest salad mix
- thick crusty bread
- Make the southwestern salad mix ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use. Make sure to leave off toppings. Save them for some other use.
- Then heat about 1/4 cup cooking oil in a deep frying pan.
- Meanwhile, rinse and pat shrimp dry.
- While oil is heating, mix paprika with cornmeal.
- Then toss shrimp in hot sauce.
- After that, one at a time, shake off excess sauce from shrimp and lightly coat in cornmeal mixture.
- When oil is hot, stir fry shrimp for about 3 minutes until cooked through. Drain on paper towels.
- Cut bread in half lengthwise and lightly toast in the oven for about 5-10 minutes.
- Once it is toasted, top bottom half with shrimp and salad mix. Replace top half of bread and cut sandwich into serving portions.
Of course, you can add extra hot sauce on your sandwich or garnish with pickles. We served ours with Cajun cauliflower.
I have included these sponsored links recommended by my husband if you want an authentic blues experience while eating your soul food:
Easy Soul Food Recipe for Cajun Cauliflower
Ingredients for Southern Cauliflower Soul Food Recipe
- large head of cauliflower cut into flowerets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- tablespoon sweet paprika
- teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 on the roast setting.
- While the oven is heating, toss cauliflower with oil. Then mix seasonings together. After that, toss that with the cauliflower.
- When ready spread in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Once the oven is hot, place baking sheet in oven and cook for about 20-25 minutes flipping cauliflower about halfway through cooking time.
Easy Soul Food Corn Bread
We served this with rotisserie chicken and a creamy cucumber tomato salad, but good corn bread goes well with any meal. For more traditional dinner ideas, serve this corn casserole with old school soul food recipes for collard greens and fried chicken.
Ingredients for Soul Food Corn Bread Recipe
- 5 tablespoons butter
- cup cornmeal
- cup flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 cup milk
Directions for Soul Food Corn Bread Dressing
- To begin, preheat the oven to 425F. Then place 2 tablespoons of butter in a pie or cake pan and place in the oven to brown.
- Meanwhile, melt remaining butter and mix together with eggs and milk.
- Once the wet ingredients are mixed, mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a separate bowl.
- After that, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
- When the batter is ready pour it into the baking pan and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Easy Soul Food Recipe for Banana Pudding
My son wanted me to include this one. It is one of his favorite desserts.
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- 4 cups milk
- 4 egg yolks slightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons butter softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Box of Vanilla Wafers
- 3 firm bananas
- Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Then gradually add the milk and eggs stirring with a whisk.
- Once the ingredients are mixed well, cook over medium heat until boiling and mixture thickens. Continue stirring so mixture doesn’t stick to the pan or clump. Boil for 2 minutes.
- When pudding has thickened, remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter.
- Meanwhile, layer vanilla wafers in a square glass pan. Then top with sliced bananas.
- After that, pour half of the pudding evenly over the layers. Then repeat layers of wafers, bananas, and pudding.
- To complete, top with cookie crumbs. You can serve topped with whipped cream or cool whip.
I hope you enjoy these easy soul food recipes. Please let me know if you make any improvements or variations. For the full effect I like to listen to the Blues while I cook. I include some music that my husband recommends in some the sponsored links listed above. Also if you get around to visiting Clarksdale, Mississippi check out the Ground Zero Blues Club owned by Morgan Freeman for some good food and Blues.
Donna Emperador is a travel and food blogger and copywriter. Donna believes in learning about different cultures while sharing good food and cocktails. She has lived in South Florida for over 20 years and enjoys spending time exploring the road to find unique places to share with readers. She can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.