24 Juneteenth Food Ideas for 2023
Juneteenth is a time of remembrance and celebration. It is the longest-running African American holiday and it commemorates the abolition of slavery in the United States.
It is an abbreviation for “June Nineteenth,” the day in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and ensure the freedom of all enslaved people. The troops arrived two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. On June 17, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. signed a bill making Juneteenth a legal public holiday.
One of the best ways to celebrate Juneteenth is to have some delicious traditional food. You will get tons of inspiration for Juneteenth food ideas right here to kick off your traditional Juneteenth celebrations in style.
Learn more about the history of Juneteenth in this article.
What food should be served to celebrate Juneteenth?
In every historical Juneteenth celebration, red food has played a significant role. Africans brought their cultural customs with them, which were reflected in the food served at the event.
1: Red Rice
Red rice is a traditional dish that has its root in West Africa. It is packed with nutritional value that helps to keep your body strong and healthy. It is made with tomato sauce and could go with bacon, sausage, or barbeque meat.
2: Red Velvet Cake
The incredibly delicious red velvet cake is the most popular dessert at any Juneteenth celebration. Although food coloring gives it its vivid red hue, chocolate is the major component. However, the ratios must be just correct.
3: Red Hibiscus Drink
The hibiscus flower is indigenous to West Africa, where hibiscus tea is still produced today. When you boil the hibiscus flowers for about 10 minutes, add ice, and sugar to taste, the distinctive taste that has always been a feature of Juneteenth festivities comes to life.
4: Red Punch
This is certain to become your new favorite beverage with a mixture of fresh strawberries, pomegranate, and pineapple juice, whether or not it contains alcohol.
5: Strawberry Soda
This Juneteenth drink is delicious and simple to prepare. You can quickly prepare a large pitcher of strawberry soda and create enough for everyone by using fresh strawberries, lemonade mix, mint, and strawberry or lemon-lime soda.
6: Southern Sweet Tea
You can easily prepare this calming and reviving drink any time of day with only 5 basic ingredients. A few lemon slices or a sprig of mint, along with a shot of your favorite drink for some fun, is required to improve the flavor.
7: African Fish Roll
This is a well-liked street snack in West Africa, especially in Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon. Crunchy, somewhat sweet, spicy, and unbelievably delicious describe these fried fish pies! It’s very simple, using puff-puff-like dough that is flattened out and then stuffed with sardines.
8: Blackened Catfish and Shrimp Sauce
delicious shrimp sauce is the ideal complement to flavorful catfish that has been blackened. Only 15 minutes are needed from the burner to the serving station for this quick and simple dish. This is fantastic served with cornbread or hush puppies and some collard greens on the side.
9: Southern Fried Chicken
This traditional Southern chicken dish is seasoned with spices and herbs, then soaked in buttermilk to enhance the flavor. It is crunchy on the outside and juicy and tasty on the inside. This fantastic recipe will be improved greatly by using a cast-iron skillet.
10: Easy Peach Cobbler
A mouthwatering summer treat created with juicy, soft fresh peaches with a biscuit-like crusty topping that screams Southern comfort food. It is ideal for your Juneteenth celebration.
11: Candid Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes that are perfectly cooked are covered in a rich, buttery, brown sugar glaze that has a tangy note of orange and lemon. It can be served as a holiday side dish or as a dessert and brings a lovely burst of color to any festive meal.
12: Watermelon Salad
This cool watermelon salad is loaded with cubed, sweet watermelon, cucumbers, red onions, feta cheese, and mint leaves, all tossed in a straightforward but surprisingly tasty combination of sweet, acidic, and spicy dressing.
13: Stewed Spinach
A straightforward method for enjoying spinach that is packed with healthy greens and delivers just the right amount of heat. Greens can be served quickly and simply with shrimp, smoked turkey, and Creole seasoning. If a smoked turkey is not available, bacon can be used instead.
14: Southern Style Cornbread
Southern cornbread cooked from home with cornmeal, flour, eggs, butter, buttermilk, and a little sugar is crumbly, moist, and buttery. Wonderful as a snack or side dish for ribs, stews, soups, and bean meals. This quick and simple Southern favorite is always a winner.
15: Black-eyed Peas Fritters
These mouthwatering spicy, crunchy, fritters are created with fresh black-eyed peas, hot pepper, onions, and salt. The fritter made in the African style is bigger and loaded with delights like shrimp.
16: Black-eyed Pea Salads
Cauliflower rice, calrose rice, butter chicken, chicken enchiladas, pineapple chicken, Hawaiian beef stew, beef vindaloo, and grilled chicken are the best meals to pair with black-eyed peas. They also go well with mashed sweet potatoes, meatloaf with brown gravy, roast turkey, roasted pumpkin, and paprika chicken, among other dishes.
17: Brilliant Beet and Black Bean Dip
With corn chips or freshly chopped vegetables, this very tasty red and black dip is the ideal Juneteenth snack. Beets’ earthiness and black beans’ substance combine to create a meaty dip that is equally appealing to vegans and carnivores lovers.
18: Strawberry Watermelon Juice
You can prepare this healthy combination in about 10 minutes. It combines the sweet, juicy sweetness of watermelon with pulpy bursts of luscious strawberries, balanced with a little sharpness from a lemon. Although you can use water, coconut water makes it far more effective in quenching your thirst.
19: Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri
The Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri is a traditional and well-liked fruity cocktail composed of white rum, lime juice, frozen sweet strawberries, and ice. It’s a delicious, impressive, and vivid drink that is great for a hot Juneteenth day.
20: Biscuit and Sausage Gravy
Buttermilk biscuits are buttery, fluffy, and adaptable morning meals that can be buried in creamy and spicy sausage gravy or slathered in butter and jelly. They are frequently served at Juneteenth celebrations and are both exceedingly simple and delicious.
21: Pulled Pork
It has the ideal amount of fat, resulting in delicate, melt-in-your-mouth meat, but it must be cooked slowly to allow the protein to digest correctly.
22: Jamaican Sorrel Drink
The best and most revitalizing drink available is vibrant crimson and tasty. Because hibiscus or Jamaican sorrel is already sour, it only requires a small amount of sugar or honey. This sweet and sour beverage is a tasty substitute for lemonade and is also nutritious.
23: Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole
A simple breakfast casserole that can be prepared ahead of time and baked till hot and bubbly with bacon and tender hashbrowns in a creamy, cheesy sauce. It’s the ideal thing to prepare the night before, then bake it, and enjoy the wonderful aroma that permeates the house.
24: Caribbean Jerk BBQ Ribs
The ideal combination of onion, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg, spiced up with hot sauce, makes up the Jamaican Jerk spice. The Caribbean Jerk BBQ Rib is yummy and delicious.
Why is red food eaten during Juneteenth celebrations?
Red dishes have always played a significant role in Juneteenth celebrations. There are several historical justifications presented for this.
The history of struggle and bloodshed that Black Americans who were once in slavery endured is first remembered by the color red, according to popular belief.
In addition, many historians think that the color red was a significant denotation of key celebrations in the West African countries where many previously enslaved people originated, a tradition that was carried over into Juneteenth customs following emancipation.
The historical importance of red-colored food also traces back to the times of slavery. Eating red-colored goodies was exciting because many of the more prevalent meals were white, green, or brown.
In the 19th century, this made certain bright food worth celebrating and in the later half of the 1800s, following the Civil War, Black Americans would occasionally tint their meal red with cochineal, a pricey South American pigment.
The fact that Texas was one of the last states to take part in the American slave trade, however, made the hue even more noteworthy. A large number of enslaved Africans were traveling from the continent and the Caribbean to Texas. The Yoruba and Kongo cultures, who would have arrived through the latter years of commerce, are strongly identified with the color red.
If you want to observe the festival wherever you are, the customary delicacies eaten during this celebration are red and black. Black represents the hue of our skin while red has different historical justifications.
However, Red, White, and Blue are the designated festival colors to represent that those who were once in slavery are still Americans.
A lot of food is consumed during the celebrations, alongside parades, parties, singing, dancing, and acts of worship.
Are you celebrating Juneteeth this year? What food are you going to prepare? Share with me in the comment section.