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Happy Juneteenth! Today, we remember the hard-fought battle for freedom that finally came to full fruition throughout the United States on June 19, 1865.

The holiday marks a pivotal moment in American history, nearly two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, TX, bearing the news of freedom, igniting jubilant celebrations among the formerly enslaved.

At Oldways, we believe food is a powerful tool for fostering connection – with others and with our own roots. We have put together a collection of recipes to honor this moment of deep historical significance:

African Heritage Recipes


Grilled Snapper and Mangoes with Lime Cilantro Viniagrette

An island-inspired dish, red snapper is grilled and topped with sweet mango and a tangy citrus sauce. It is best enjoyed with green beans and red peppers. If you’re celebrating Juneteenth with loved ones, this is a main dish that is sure to impress while putting heritage-based flavors on full display.

Pumpkin Soup

Oldways Hearty Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin is an ingredient that has established itself as an African heritage diet staple. Several varieties of this versatile, sweet ingredient can be found throughout the Caribbean. We used curry and cinnamon spices and skipped the fire-hot peppers to make this milder, warmer version of curry pumpkin soup.


Smokey Greens

Greens are at the base of the African Heritage Diet Pyramid. In this dish, they are the star of the show. Smoked paprika and liquid smoke add a robust flavor to the collard greens and are an excellent way to infuse smoky flavor without adding smoked ham or bacon.

Plus, it’s easy to whip up a large batch of this dish if you’re sharing a meal with loved ones.

Red Foods


One culinary fact about this holiday is the tradition of enjoying red foods, symbolizing resilience and perseverance. Such foods are commonly served during Juneteenth gatherings. These dishes not only delight the palate but also fit into meals throughout the whole day and feature shades of red to honor this symbolic food tradition:

sun-dried tomato hummus

The Ultimate Freekeh Breakfast

The bright strawberries bring a beautiful red coloring to this hearty Juneteenth breakfast option. Both cracked and whole freekeh make for an excellent breakfast cereal – cooked freekeh will keep in your refrigerator for up to five days, so it’s a great meal-prep option to have readily available each morning.


This dish can be eaten warm – like oatmeal – or cold with yogurt. Be creative with what you add: fruits, cinnamon, raisins, honey and nuts.

Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

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This orange-red recipe makes an excellent addition to an appetizer table. Sun dried tomatoes bring deep, delicious flavor and a rich terra cotta color to this creamy hummus. And the best part? Almost everything in this recipe can come right from your pantry.

Summer Salad with Watermelon, Feta, and Olive Oil

This summer salad is refreshing and light – no cooking required! The watermelon brings a beautiful pink-red hue to the table, and the combination of sweet watermelon with salty feta and fresh herbs is perfect for the warmer June weather.

Corn and Pepper Relish (with fish of choice)

This dish has a vibrant pop of color thanks to the red pepper and is the perfect complement to anything you may have on the table for Juneteenth: it is great as a salsa with chips or spooned generously over grilled seafood or barbecued pork chops.

In addition to making some of these dishes, Juneteenth can be observed in other ways: through media, fundraising and donating, and creating a deeper connection with food-based heritage. For a deeper dive into the historical and cultural significance of African Heritage foodways, immerse yourself in our self-paced A Taste of African Heritage e-course, a 6-lesson cooking series. Through the month of June, use code TAKE5JUNE for $5 off the course.

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