Juneteenth, also known as “Freedom Day,” signifies a crucial time in American history, especially in Texas, where the day of observance began in 1865 to acknowledge the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation several years earlier, freeing enslaved people. To celebrate and reflect on such a momentous occasion, families and friends gather to share good times and, of course, good food! Here, we’ve collected a complete menu for your Juneteenth get-together, all contributed by some incredible Black chefs to honor African American culture.
Juneteenth Rum & Hibiscus Ginger Cooler
This spiked spritz featured in Sunset from Hey Sistah is the perfect drink for a hot summer day. The homemade hibiscus ginger simple syrup is what takes this cocktail to the next level and is well worth the extra effort.
Spinach Salad with Blackened Chickpeas
James Beard Award–winning chef Bryant Terry highlights the plant-centric ways of eating favored by our ancestors in his recipes, like this flavor-forward spinach salad with spicy and crunchy chickpeas. Making your own blackened seasoning and creamy dressing might seem daunting, but Terry breaks it all down into easy-to-follow steps in this recipe shared by PETA.
Grilled Hot Links & Chow Chow
Hot dogs with mustard and ketchup are a summer cookout staple across the country, but for Juneteenth, they’re dialed up a notch—or two or three!—by Meiko and the Dish by using spicy red hot links and tangy chow-chow relish. The combo of vibrant flavors and available seasonal ingredients in the slaw pay tribute to preservation methods used in times of scarcity.
Our Juneteenth feast would not be complete without the addition of collard greens, and this veganized version from Chef Brooke Brimm, author of Vegan Soul Food Holiday Recipe Guide, is perfect for when you can’t get your hands on—or don’t want to get your hands on!—a ham hock. Plus, the side dish can be made in an Instapot so it’s ready in a flash!
Banana Pudding Custard Pie
This silky and delectable after-dinner treat from Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen by Alexander Smalls combines two of our favorite desserts into one: pie and pudding! Cleverly using crushed vanilla wafers for the crust to give it the classic look and taste, Smalls shares his tips for making the custard by controlling the heat on the stove—it should be intense enough to advance the cooking process, but not so hot that it scorches the custard.
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