This Juneteenth probably won’t look the same as it has in the past. Expect to see fewer cookouts, outdoor music concerts, parades, and festivals. This year we have to improvise and find ways to honor our innate spirit of perseverance and celebrate the resilience our ancestors demonstrated in their plight to freedom.
And for that reason, almost 70 Black food creatives have to come together to share recipes in a digital cookout, inspired by this holiday and the African diaspora, all to continue our legacy of communion, albeit virtually, and share our history with the world.
Juneteenth is a holiday celebrated within the Black community to commemorate the end of enslavement of many of our ancestors. June 19, 1865 marks the release of the last 250,000+ slaves suppressed to remain in slavery almost two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.
The traditions of this day of Independence are rooted in outdoor activities and gatherings centered around food, music, and communion. However, in the face of surfacing news of injustice and violence against Black people and the COVID-19 crisis, it’s no wonder that many find it challenging to muster the energy to celebrate anything these days.
Personally, I found that one of the only things that has given me solace is cooking foods I grew up eating. It gives me comfort. And many of the other participants in this virtual cookout share the same story, tying our identity, Blackness, and peace to our foodways.
This Juneteenth may not be like the past, but we still have reason to celebrate the diversity, complexity, and ingenuity of diasporic comfort foods, many of which are abundantly represented in this amazing list of recipes. We hope that those who read this are given a reason to smile and are inspired to “virtually” celebrate Juneteenth with us.
In honor of Juneteenth, here are the 68 Black bloggers and recipes to fall in love with from this year’s virtual cookout.
“A keto-friendly take on a beloved comfort favorite: catfish. The breading is replaced with a delicious blackened seasoning that’s so good, you won’t even care that it’s low-carb! This tender, flaky, spicy, and delicious blackened catfish will soon be one of your favorites!” —A Girl Called Adri
“Sweet Potatoes or yams are a favorite holiday staple for African Americans. This recipe takes a typical spice cake up a notch by adding sweet potatoes and creating a delicious moist cake that is great year round.” —Black Girls Who Brunch
“Collard greens is a classic dish loved by the African diaspora all over the world. This Brazilian version is a crisp, garlicky side dish full of bacon bits. It's an easy collard greens recipe, perfect as a mid-week side dish or that celebratory cookout your familia will love all year round!” —Brazilian Kitchen Abroad
“This buttermilk fried chicken recipe is as nostalgic as much as it is crispy and delicious! With the sour cream and honey sauce, it takes me right back to summer days hanging with family and breaking bread at cookouts.” —Britney Breaks Bread
“Listen, this homemade chicken and waffles recipe has never looked better; super crispy and perfectly flavored buttermilk fried chicken paired with fluffy and tender golden waffles! The most perfect pairing!” —Butter Be Ready
“Watermelon is a seasonal favourite and it is married with other great ingredients to add another great dish for the celebration of Juneteenth. Watermelon is a traditional staple at the Juneteenth table.” —Chef and Steward
“This classic Southern icebox pie recipe, having traveled with my grandmother up north to Ohio during the Great Migration, then to my father, and then passing down to me, is a perfect representation of the spirit of Juneteenth -- celebrating our joys in the face of struggle, remembering where we came from, and sharing love, food, and good times across the generations.” —Chenée Today
“Crawfish Etoufee is a Cajun/Creole roux based recipe that masterfully blends spices and crawfish into a creamy sauce. Typically served over rice, this is another soulful dish to add to your recipe box.” —Christy Irene
“Fried fish is a summertime treat of the African Heritage Diet. I combined two joyful childhood memories to create the easily achieved Guaymas Shrimp. Happy Juneteenth to all us descendants of Black Texans!” —Collards Are The Old Kale
“A fun take on my Aunty's sweet iced tea without the tea. This Mint Peach Spritzer can be served as virgin cocktails or you can spice things up a bit with champagne, Prosecco or vodka.” —Confessions of a clean foodie
“A Jamaican beef patty recipe that made my Jamaican father proud. This Jamaican beef patty recipe will give you the flavor and flaky crust that makes this dish such a staple in Jamaican culture. For Juneteenth, I'm acknowledging the roots of my culture that make me who I am today. For me, one of the best ways to express my love for my culture is with food. Grab a bottle of Ting or Red Stripe and some cocoa bread to eat with these delicious beef patties!” —Cooking to a T
“This tropical take on my Grandmother's classic pound cake recipe will be a welcome addition to your Juneteenth celebration table. In Texas, we tend to celebrate Juneteenth with cookouts and block parties so I recommend pairing this with a scoop of ice cream to help cool you off!” —Dash of Jazz
“An ode to the Juneteenth celebration staple, Red Soda Water, this Blackberry Ginger Soda is a refreshing blend of crisp ginger ale, blackberry syrup, club soda, and festive blackberry ice cubes. Add this to your Juneteenth soiree and toast with this!” —DMR Fine Foods
“Pound cake is a staple dessert in most in which the recipe in most families has been passed down generation to generation. The use of cream cheese in place of milk is what makes this favorite family cake so moist.” —Dom N' The City
"This berry fruit salad is an easy 6 ingredient recipe! All your favorite fresh berries, a honey orange juice dressing, and fresh mint. The orange juice dressing makes this berry fruit salad so refreshingly delicious!" —Domestic Dee
“A staple in every Cajun and Creole household, the tradition of beans and rice is handed down from the African influence in Southern Louisiana. These Cajun White Beans combine beef sausage, coconut milk and Cajun seasonings resulting in the perfect pot of flavorful and tender beans.” —Dude That Cookz
“Have you ever eaten a meal that brought tears to your eyes? Only one meal does that for me; smothered okra. There is no meal that makes me think of both of my grandmothers more than smothered okra.” —Food Is Love Made Edible
“Comfort food at it's finest. A Vegan friendly update to the Southern Classic: Braised, Cabbage and Johnny Cakes. You won't even realize you're missing the bacon. The peppers and liquid smoke are stealthy flavor boosters!” —FoodLoveTog
“Potato Salad with a little Caribbean flare. Curry powder, ground ginger, allspice and Olive Oil Miracle Whip make for a sweet and savory flavor profile that elevates this classic dish to new heights.” —Geo's Table
“Originating in West Africa, callaloo is a nutrient-dense dish that is common across the African diaspora. In Trinidad, callaloo is a quintessential part of Sunday lunches. In this recipe, carrots and butternut squash braise alongside dasheen leaves, okra, green onions, garlic, onion, cilantro and thyme in coconut milk.” —Heal Me Delicious
“These Crockpot Smoked Red Beans are the perfect savory side dish for your Juneteenth celebration bbq. One of it’s origin stories comes from the enslaved people on Louisiana’s sugar plantations 300 years ago. On Juneteenth, we eat it to celebrate their ingenuity and lives.” —Jamieson Diaries
“Juneteenth is normally celebrated with a menu of red foods to represent the perseverance of the enslaved. This Juneteeth I honor that tradition with my Strawberry Cornbread Skillet Cobbler, a bright blend of juicy summer strawberries, mint, and citrus nestled under a bed of pillowing golden cornbread. This pie is ridiculously easy to make and perfect for all summer gatherings” —Meiko And the Dish
“Rich, comforting, healthy and satisfying, this vegan twist on a traditional Congolese dish is made with lots of greens, red onions, peanut butter and habanero for a touch of heat. Serve it alongside golden plantains and rice.” —Murielle Banackissa
“Black American culinary tradition is rooted in barbecue. Modern times call for modern measures: When you don’t have time to set up the smoker or fire up the grill, these Easy BBQ pork ribs come to the rescue.” —Nik Snacks
“When it comes to this Ultimate Vegan Mac + Cheese recipe, it is by far more than a fork full of goodness! Super creamy, 'cheesy', and loaded with flavor, this 'Mac + Cheese" is made from gluten-free macaroni, savory seasonings, nutritional yeast, and cashews soaked overnight (which makes the cream cheese base). A beautiful twist on a classic dish that it sure to be a staple in your household. Completely vegan and gluten-free.” —ORCHIDS + SWEET TEA
“This Strawberry Buttermilk Biscuit recipe takes a southern staple and gives it a sweet twist. Fresh strawberries are baked right into these fluffy buttermilk biscuits for a delightful spin on a classic southern recipe.” —Pink Owl Kitchen
“Southern Peach cobbler is a traditional dessert in the south and all over the world. Warm, sweet peaches with a decadent cobbler style crust is the perfect treat for any occasion.” —Razzle Dazzle Life
“If you’re looking for a light tomato pie for your gathering, then you’re in the wrong place. But if you want a guilty pleasure fulfilled in one bite of a pie that just so happens to contain hearty sliced tomatoes. Then you are exactly where you need to be.” —Rosalynn Daniels
“Dressed in a tahini vinaigrette, crisp cucumbers, the nuttiness of fonio, and filled with vibrant colorful vegetables, this black-eyed pea salad is a feast for your eyes and edible celebration of summertime joy.” —Savor and Sage
“Paying homage to my southern roots by sharing a staple known to have a designated place at every family "cookout". Let's add a twist to traditional deviled eggs with fresh herbs, lemon and hot sauce topped with buttered cajun shrimp!” —Seasoned To Taste
“To us, softshell crab is the one and only taste of summer. They are blue crabs that are in the midst of shedding their shells, rendering the entire crab, claws and all, edible. This dish’s double-dredge is the best way to amplify the subtle crab flavor and maximize crunchiness. And the fried garlic sauce just takes everything over the top.” —Slice & Torte
“Roasted sweet potato salad is a delightful twist on traditional potato salad! Consider switching it up and adding this side to your Juneteenth or any summer cookout menu. This dish can also be turned into a sandwich or finger food option. Simply add the potato salad mixture onto wraps, add in 4 toothpicks to hold in place and slice into quarters in between. (Note: Omit the bacon to make this dish vegetarian friendly)” —Slight Kitchen Werk
“Jerk chicken is almost as old as Jamaica itself and is believed to have been developed by enslaved Africans who escaped to Jamaica and combined their cooking techniques with the seasonings and spices of Jamaica’s native Arawak people. Jerk chicken is at its core a dish that symbolizes rebellion against oppression and the uniting of different cultures through food, a perfect compliment to the Junneteenth celebration!” —Sweet & Sorrel
“The classic color, red, is seen everywhere during the Juneteeth celebration. That’s what makes this entree so special. Served alongside coconut rice and sweet plantains, Red Red Stew is the perfect entree to celebrate the historic holiday. Here is my vegan take on the popular West African black-eyed pea dish!” —That Green Lyfe
“Jamaican Jerk Chicken is a staple recipe in Caribbean culture. It's one of the classics that the world is familiar with. This recipe shows you how to create the best, authentic jerk chicken marinade, and make a delicious Jamaican jerk chicken wing appetizer.” —The Hangry Woman
“The Juneteenth holiday consists of red foods & drinks as part of the celebration of freedom. Red as a symbol of perseverance. Foods like strawberry soda, kola nut tea, hibiscus tea, watermelon and strawberry pie are all customary items included in the festivities. We thought a vegan hibiscus strawberry ice cream was the perfect way to honor this tradition. ” —THE VGN WAY
“The earthiness of the sweet potato meets the warmth and comfort of traditional buttermilk cornbread and, right in the center of the Jubilee table, the richness of our African-American heritage takes the form of Sweet Potato Cornbread.” —Thedanareneeway
“This appetizer can be found in restaurants and parties across Ghana. Usually the kebabs are covered in a peanut seasoning, but this version here is made Whole30 by omitting the peanuts and using roasted cashews. All ingredients compliant with Whole30 and Paleo.” —Thisafricancooks
“This pie is rich in flavor and spiced just right. There’s nothing low-fat about this pie y’all. I tell ya right now though, you may just eat the whole thing to yourself. It’s that good!” —Whisk it Real Gud
Meiko is corporate America retiree turned full-time foodie and host. Besides her obvious love of cooking she obsessed with designing foodie apparel, celebrity gossip sites and hosting elaborate dining experiences. She shares her recipes, kitchen hacks and entertaining tips on the blog meikoandthedish.com. Check it out!
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