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40 Healthy Southern Recipes

Slow down and enjoy these healthy Southern recipes around the kitchen table with family and friends.

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Spicy Shrimp with Rice

No one will doubt that “light” cooking can be tasty when you put a helping of this zippy shrimp in front of them. The seafood is seasoned just right with garlic, pepper and hot sauce. — Jeannie Klugh, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

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Vibrant Black-Eyed Pea Salad

My black-eyed pea salad reminds me of a Southern cooking class my husband and I took while visiting Savannah, Georgia. People go nuts for it at picnics and potlucks. —Danielle Lee, Sewickley, Pennsylvania
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Carolina Style Vinegar BBQ Chicken

Carolina-Style Vinegar BBQ Chicken

I live in Georgia, but I appreciate the tangy, sweet taste of Carolina barbecue chicken. In fact, my sons are more likely to show up to dinner if they know I'm serving this slow cooker recipe. —Ramona Parris, Canton, Georgia
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Yogurt Cornbread

My husband doesn't like traditional Texas corn bread, so I came up with this recipe. This is the only kind he'll eat. Yogurt makes this variation different from most. —Amanda Andrews of Mansfield, Texas
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Oven-Fried Green Tomato BLT

For years I have used this same idea to cook eggplant slices, and recently I decided to try it on green tomatoes. It worked! Now my family loves them in BLTs. —Jolene Martinelli, Fremont, New Hampshire
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Corn Okra Creole

This dish is representative of my area of the country, and particularly the Texas-Louisiana border. The okra, corn and Creole seasonings are all popular here. —Ruth Aubey, San Antonio, Texas
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Air-Fryer Sweet Potato Fries

I can never get enough of these air-fryer sweet potato fries! Even though my grocery store sells them in the frozen foods section, I still love to pull sweet potatoes out of my garden and chop them up fresh! —Amber Massey, Argyle, Texas
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Texas Tabbouleh

I used to live in Texas and since moving away, missed those classic Tex-Mex flavors that were always such a big part of my meals. I decided to create a fresh and healthy salad that reminds me of traditional pico de gallo. My friends especially love it because it's so different; it's always a pretty popular dish at our gatherings. —Tammy Davis, Arlington, Virginia
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Shredded Barbecue Chicken Over Grits Exps Pcbbz17 49663 D03 23 4b 3

Shredded Barbecue Chicken over Grits

There’s nothing like juicy meat over steaming grits. And the pumpkin in these grits makes them taste like a spicy, comforting bowl of fall flavors. Your family will come running to the table for this one. —Erin Renouf Mylroie, Santa Clara, Utah
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Succotash

You can't get more 'Southern' than succotash. This recipe comes from my mother, who was a fantastic cook. —Rosa Boone, Mobile, Alabama
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Cajun Shrimp

These zippy shrimp bring a lot of pizazz to the table. Use as much or as little cayenne pepper as you'd like, depending on your family's tastes. We love ours served alongside rice pilaf. —Donna Thomason, El Paso, Texas
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Marinated Sweet Potato Salad

My dad has been growing sweet potatoes for more than two decades. My brother and I have been partners in the operation for the last several years. This recipe, from our mom and our wives, is a terrific way to serve our favorite vegetable. —Tim Jack Edmondson, Vardaman, Mississippi
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Carolina Marinated Pork Tenderloin

You'll need just three ingredients to make a melt-in-your mouth marinade friends and neighbors will rave about. —Sharisse Dunn, Rocky Point, North Carolina
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Pork and Beef Barbecue

It's the combination of beef stew meat and tender pork that keeps friends and family asking for these tangy sandwiches. Add a little lettuce and tomato for a crisp contrast. —Corbin Detgen, Buchanan, Michigan
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Chipotle Sweet Potato Salad

I love the velvety taste and texture of sweet potatoes. A friend served sweet potatoes cooked with peppers and they tasted delicious together. I took those flavors and developed them into this creamy, smoky potato salad. —Carolyn Eskew, Dayton, Ohio
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Texas Beef Barbecue

A boneless beef roast simmers for hours in a slightly sweet sauce before it's shredded and tucked into rolls to make hearty sandwiches. This is a family favorite. —Jennifer Bauer, Lansing, Michigan
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Sunday Pork Roast

Mom would prepare pork roast for our family, friends and customers at the three restaurants she and Dad owned. The herb rub and vegetables give it a remarkable flavor. It's one of my favorite pork roast recipes. —Sandi Pichon, Memphis, Tennessee
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The South in a Pot Soup

With black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes, ground beef and comforting spices, this soup has every wonderful memory from my childhood simmered together in one tasty pot. —Stephanie Rabbitt-Schapp, Cincinnati, OH
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Slow Cooker Country Captain Chicken  Exps Thso18 220748 B04 20 2b 5

Slow-Cooker Country Captain Chicken

Legend has it that the recipe for country captain chicken was brought to Georgia in the early 1800s by a British sea captain. Although it's traditional to serve this over rice, it's also delicious with noodles or mashed potatoes. —Suzanne Banfield, Basking Ridge, New Jersey
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Cornmeal Oven-Fried Chicken

This cornmeal fried chicken dish perks up the dinner table. Its flavorful cornmeal/bread-crumb coating is a good variation form the usual. —Deborah Williams, Peoria, Arizona
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Delicious Oven Barbecued Chicken

A friend made this saucy chicken for us when we had our first child. I pared down the recipe to make it lower in fat and calories. Now it's a family favorite, and even the kids ask for this baked bbq chicken breast. —Marge Wagner, Roselle, Illinois
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Texas Black Bean Soup

This hearty meatless stew made with convenient canned items is perfect for spicing up a family gathering on a cool day. It tastes as if it's made with love and yet it requires so little time and attention. —Pamela Scott, Garland, Texas.
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Shrimp and Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

When I meet former co-workers for lunch at our favorite restaurant, we always order this salad. I wanted to share it with my husband, so I made it my mission to re-create it. Mission accomplished! —Lisa Bynum, Brandon, Mississippi
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Farmhouse Apple Coleslaw

A friend from church gave me this apple coleslaw recipe that her grandmother handed down to her. The flavors complement each other well, while the fruit creates a refreshing change of pace from the usual coleslaw. —Jan Myers, Atlantic, Iowa
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Carolina Shrimp Soup

Fresh shrimp from the Carolina coast is one of our favorite foods. We add kale, garlic, red peppers and black-eyed peas to complete this wholesome, filling soup. —Mary Marlowe Leverette, Columbia, South Carolina
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Roasted Fresh Okra

If you have picky eaters who worry about texture, roasted okra is marvelous. It's OK to crowd the pan. Okra shrinks as it cooks. —Anna Katsoulis, Greenville, North Carolina
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Chorizo & Grits Breakfast Bowls

Growing up, I bonded with my dad over chorizo and eggs. My fresh approach combines them with grits and black beans for this chorizo breakfast bowl. Add a spoonful of pico de gallo for extra pop. —Jenn Tidwell, Fair Oaks, California
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Black-Eyed Peas with Collard Greens

Time to gather round the table, y'all! This dish has special meaning on New Year's Day, when Southerners eat greens for future wealth and black-eyed peas for prosperity. —Athena Russell, Greenville, South Carolina
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Kentucky Grilled Chicken

This Kentucky grilled chicken is perfect for an outdoor summer meal, and my family thinks it's fantastic. It takes about an hour on the grill but is worth the wait. I use a new paintbrush to "mop" on the basting sauce. -Jill Evely, Wilmore, Kentucky
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Southern Seafood Gumbo

I tasted a similar dish at a local restaurant and later duplicated it pretty closely. I trimmed it down a bit and no one in my family seemed to mind. —Susan Wright, Champaign, Illinois
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Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

I was raised as a southern girl, with the love of barbecue built into my DNA. This slow-cooker recipe allows me to enjoy the flavors I grew up eating, while still following a healthy diet. —Heidi Mulholland, Cumming, Georgia
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Collard Greens & Beans

I never tried collard greens until a friend gave me this recipe that calls for bacon and pinto beans. Now I look forward to serving this Southern staple on Thanksgiving. —April Burroughs, Vilonia, Arkansas
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Grandma's Classic Potato Salad

When I asked my grandmother how old this classic potato salad recipe was, she told me that her mom used to make it when she was a little girl. It has definitely stood the test of time. —Kimberly Wallace, Dennison, Ohio
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Southern Pork & Rice

At our house, we're big on healthy eating. These ultra tender chops with colorful rice and black-eyed peas are a meal fancy enough for a dinner party. —Annie Holmes, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
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Southern Loaded Sweet Potatoes

For a taste of a southern classic, we make sweet potatoes stuffed with pulled pork and coleslaw and manage to sidestep the calorie overload. —Amy Burton, Cary, North Carolina
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Tangy Texas Salsa

I'm a "transplant" from Wisconsin currently living in Texas. Even after 20 years, I can't get enough of our wonderful local citrus. This is one way to work it into a main dish. The combination of tangy fruit, spicy jalapeno and distinctive cilantro is perfect over any meat, poultry or fish. We also dip into it with chips. —Lois Kildahl, McAllen, Texas
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Sausage and Egg Grits

I always mix my sausage, grits and eggs together so I thought it would be great to make a casserole that did the same. It’s loaded with downhome flavor without using any butter! —Jeannine Quiller, Raleigh, North Carolina
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Smoked Brisket

This smoked brisket recipe is always a crowd favorite—it really melts in your mouth! —Jodi Abel, La Jolla, California
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Air-Fryer Okra with Smoked Paprika

Smoked paprika gives this air-fryer okra even more roasty oomph. When you want to cook okra without frying it, roast it with lemon juice for a lighter version. —Lee Evans, Queen Creek, Arizona

Peggy Woodward, RDN
Peggy is a Senior Food Editor for Taste of Home. In addition to curating recipes, she writes articles, develops recipes and is our in-house nutrition expert. She studied dietetics at the University of Illinois and completed post-graduate studies at the Medical University of South Carolina to become a registered dietitian nutritionist. Peggy has more than 20 years of experience in the industry. She’s a mom, a foodie and enjoys being active in her rural Wisconsin community.
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