7 Delicious Southern-Inspired Recipes That Are Actually Good For You

These recipes use wholesome ingredients and lots of Southern flavor
7 Delicious Southern-Inspired Recipes That Are Actually Good For You

Southern food uses lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

There are few things as delicious as Southern fried chicken — breaded and deep-fried to crispy, golden-brown perfection on the outside, yet amazingly moist and juicy on the inside — or creamy, butter-drenched grits topped with shrimp. And, don't forget rich collard greens; sweet, fluffy skillet cornbread; and flaky biscuits made with lard. The downside of all this deliciousness? The popular misconception that all Southern food is unhealthy. Sure, there are lots of breaded, battered, deep-fried, or butter- and cream-drenched recipes (and we love them!), but there are an equal number of dishes that are loaded with fresh and wholesome ingredients. We want to set the record straight; delicious recipes that are big on Southern flavor can also be fresh, healthy, and wholesome.

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Though we often think of dishes from the Southern United States as indulgent comfort foods, there are a number of lighter options. Because of the warm temperatures they enjoy much of the year, the Southern states have an almost 12-month growing season and an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Many Southern dishes are seasonal, and revolve around wholesome ingredients like collard greens, peaches, oranges, okra, fresh sweet corn, sweet potatoes, colorful green tomatoes, black-eyed peas, and shrimp. They have lots of authentic flavor without being deep-fried or cooked with large amounts of butter, cream, or lard.

If you love Southern food and want to make sure you’re eating healthy, remember that it’s not all candied sweet potato casserole and buttermilk fried chicken. Lots of Southern recipes are based on good-for-you ingredients like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and lean proteins and still use authentic Southern spices, seasonings, and flavor profiles. Need a few delicious and reliable recipes that are based on Southern ingredients and flavors to get you started? We've got seven you're sure to love.

Braised Collard Greens


These delicious greens get extra flavor from simmering in chicken stock, onions, and garlic so they don’t need as much bacon as other recipes. You get all of the taste you love with way less fat and calories.

Cayenne Grilled Peaches


These sweet and spicy grilled peaches make the perfect dessert and, since they’re not served in a cobbler or pie, you’ll eat less sugar and fat and more fiber-rich fruit.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.


This story was originally published on April 3, 2015.