33 Innovative Recipes to Honor Black History Month

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Black History Month is here. Started in 1976, it is a time when we make space to pay homage to the rich, deep history of African Americans and celebrate their brilliance, perseverance, and invaluable contributions in our society. One aspect central to this history is food, which is as diverse and nuanced as the Black experience itself.

Since 2017, Black food bloggers and content creators have come together to celebrate this joyous occasion by contributing recipes to the Black History Month Virtual Potluck. This year there is an exciting change: The potluck is now branded under Eat the Culture. Founded by Meiko Temple of Meiko and the Dish, Eat the Culture was established to create community-centered spaces that nurture, support, and amplify Black culinary creators. In addition to collaborations like this potluck, the organization also offers educational resources, virtual courses, and live events to help creatives elevate their craft and amplify the culinary heritage across the African diaspora.

This year’s Black History Month Virtual Potluck features more than 30 Black culinary creators who were invited to share dishes inspired by the theme “Afrofuturism Through Food.” A philosophical concept that emerged in the 1990s, Afrofuturism explores the Black diaspora via the intersection of imagination, culture, future, technology, and liberation. These inventive recipes stretch the confines of traditional Black diasporic ingredients, both celebrating the culinary ingenuity of our past and progressing us toward an innovative culinary future.

Participating blogger Marta Rivera Diaz of Sense & Edibility shares, “Most of the country and world sees Black food as limited to a particular region, language, or appearance. Afrofuturism grasps the notion of Black food as art and blazes the path ahead for even further culinary discoveries.”

From Fonio Bundt Cake With Hibiscus Glaze and Salmorejo (Stewed Crab) Over Garlic Grits to Collard Green Hand Pies and Sorrel Martini Popsicles, this list includes mains, sides, drinks, and desserts that showcase our community’s vibrant origins, as well as the notable impact we continue to have on foodways in America and throughout the world.

Dive in to all the recipes below—and be sure to follow #BHMVP2022 on Instagram and Facebook to engage with the talented creatives and bloggers as they share additional content throughout the month.

1. Fonio Pound Cake with Hibiscus Glaze

“This Fonio Pound Cake With Hibiscus Glaze is an ode to my African roots and my love of experimenting with new flavors in unexpected ways. Don’t sleep on trying this one if you are looking for a new kitchen adventure! I have been participating in this Black History Month Virtual Potluck for a few years now. Each year, I learn new things about the African diaspora and the culture through the amazing food.” —A Classic Twist

2. Collard Green Hand Pies

“When I think of Afrofuturism, the collard green reigns supreme. Afrofuturism, to me, is examining our food choices and our impact. It’s fighting food insecurity, eliminating food deserts, eating seasonal fruits and vegetables, being mindful of climate change, and ensuring that ingredients are accessible and easy to source for people across the diaspora. It’s looking toward ingredients that can be grown in urban gardens and dense cities. It’s remembering our foodways, but also using the ingredients in new ways. This collard green hand pie recipe takes a traditional, accessible, affordable, and beloved ingredient and works it into something new.” —A Girl Called Adri

3. Sweet Potato Wedges With Peanut Dipping Sauce

“To this day, both sweet potatoes and peanuts are important cultural foods across the African diaspora. For me, Afrofuturism is about Black people having a platform to thrive in their own culture. I developed this recipe as a celebration of Black history and a way to connect with forgotten African ancestry through food.” —Big Delicious Life

4. Sweet Potato Biscuits

“Growing up, biscuits were our after-church meal. My mother would crack open the can, throw them in her Corningware dish, then cook them until they were golden brown. My sister and I would then fight over who got the middle biscuit, both preferring the soft edges. While my working mother did not have the time to create homemade biscuits, she still curated a tradition that holds a special place in my heart.” —Black Girls Who Brunch

5. Fried Plantains With Poulet DG

“Fried Plantains With Poulet DG (Directeur Général) is a super flavorful African meal featuring fried plantains, chicken, and vegetables in a tasty herb sauce inspired by French cuisine. Fancy and delicious, this dish is traditionally reserved for special occasions. Cameroonians (my peeps) call this the ultimate chicken dish because it’s so much better than other chicken meals.” —Black People’s Recipes

6. Bobó de Camarão (Brazilian Shrimp Stew)

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“Bobó de Camarão is a Brazilian shrimp stew from the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia, a region rich in history, flavors, and beauty. Bahia is at the center of Brazil’s culinary scene and is home to our most popular and iconic dishes like moquecas, vatapás, this bobó de camarão, and many others. It’s a real culinary treasure! Bahia is known as Brazil’s most African state because of its strong cultural influence that truly defines local cuisine and lifestyle.” —Brazilian Kitchen Abroad

7. Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart With Candied Peanuts

“Peanuts are used in so many different cultures in Africa. From curries to desserts, it’s truly a staple ingredient. In addition, the cacao bean, which is the basis of chocolate, is grown in West Africa. I wanted to tie these ingredients into this salted caramel chocolate tart and also merge in some of my favorite things to make that I grew up eating.” —Britney Breaks Bread

8. Vegan Coconut Cake With Lime Glaze

“With this recipe, I aim to evoke the cherished tradition of soul food desserts like coconut cake, while looking ahead to a future that is more plant-based and health-conscious. Whereas soul food is often associated with decadent comfort foods heavy with meat and dairy, traditional foods throughout the African diaspora include colorful whole food ingredients, and fit perfectly with a plant-based diet.” —Chenée Today

9. Fried Green Tomato BLT

“My Fried Green Tomato BLT is the greatest twist on a classic BLT sandwich! Imagine juicy Southern fried green tomatoes topped with a spicy remoulade sauce, savory applewood-smoked bacon, avocado mash, and crisp romaine…all nestled between perfectly toasted sourdough slices. It’s the ultimate Southern-style BLT!” —Coined Cuisine

10. Shrimp Po’Boy Salad

“While it was a white male–owned restaurant establishment serving striking white males in the 20th century that supposedly invented the sandwich, historians maintain a sandwich of succulent, fried oysters on a style of baguette known as po’ boy bread was popular New Orleans street fare in the late 19th century. The people baking the bread and preparing the actual sandwiches graced with inexpensive cuts of meat were quite likely Black.” —Collards Are The Old Kale

11. Warm Brewed Zobo Drink

“This is a slight twist on the traditional West African hibiscus tea drink, which is one of the most popular Nigerian drinks—the predecessor to similar beverages in the diaspora, and typically served ice cold. Today, we’re drinking it warm with the thinking that global warming could possibly shift the warm, tropical weather we currently associate with West Africa to chillier temperatures in the future. This also ties to present day in that people descended from the Continent live all over the world in all kinds of climates.” —Dash of Jazz

12. Sorrel Martini Popsicles

“Some say hearing the telltale beginning notes of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ is their first sign of Christmas, but for Jamaicans, making or receiving the first batch of sorrel is the first sign. I used to wake up to a floral scent with a hint of fresh spices, and knew what time it was. It was almost Christmastime! My mom would be downstairs steeping the sorrel with no less than a dozen empty bottles in front of her. She would fill up half of the bottles mixed with rum, and half with only sorrel in all of its delicious glory.” —Dish It With Tisha

13. Fish Patties With Pontchartrain Sauce

“This elevated fish cake, paired with a rich, savory sauce, establishes a connection between the flavors of our past and those of the present. To forge an intersection of culture and cuisines, I combined techniques used in South African–style cooking (the fish patties) and paired it with a popular sauce in Creole cooking (the Pontchartrain sauce).” —Dude That Cookz

14. Stuffed Shrimp & Grits Collard Green Rolls

“When deciphering a modern take on recipes that reflect Afrofuturism and the African diaspora, I wanted to develop a recipe that had classic and traditional flavors, with a modern take. Stuffed Shrimp & Grits Collard Green Rolls is what came to mind, and each component of this recipe represents a medley of the history of the African diaspora.” —FIOR

15. Spicy Berbere Lentil Chili

“The berbere spice gives the stew a spicy, rich mouthfeel. In place of the standard toppings, like sour cream and cheese, I sprinkle on spiced groundnuts for crunch and texture. Groundnuts (I used peanuts) are a staple across many African countries for soups and stews. Over crackers, I choose sweet plantains and savory injera crisps to complement our bowl of chili. This recipe will feel like the comforts of tradition while embracing change.” —Flights and Foods

16. Sankofa Bowl With Suya Duck Breast

“Black food is often treated as this static, unevolved culinary tradition grounded only in iconic soul food dishes. Black food is indeed that, but it is also so much more. In more recent times, through the contributions of Black culinary scholars and historians, origin stories of Black food have gotten attention, but it is still early. Attention to the future of Black food has basically been nonexistent. This is why this year’s focus on Afrofuturism is so important, as it explores the intersection of the past, present, and future in a way that showcases both the diversity of Black food and the shared connections across the entire African diaspora.” —Food Fidelity

17. Brown Stew Pineapple Chicken With Roasted Groundnuts

“My concept for Afrofuturism involves allowing us to reclaim the narrative around two main ingredients. This dish pays homage to their versatility and inclusion in a number of African and Caribbean dishes, and at the same time shed light on their complex histories and ties to the American South. At the same time, this dish represents how the Black experience will continue to evolve and be reimagined through food and culture.” —Geo’s Table

18. Champurrado Custard

“The recipe is meant to demonstrate the global reach of the African diaspora by showing how these indigenous African ingredients were adapted in Mexico. Although these African ingredients may get a modern twist with my version of the traditional champurrado, you can still trace the dish’s heritage.” —Global Kitchen Travels

19. Caribbean Fish & Chips With Tamarind Sauce

“This recipe for paleo Caribbean fish and chips uses ingredients from the African diaspora like green bananas instead of potatoes, tamarind, and green seasoning. This move asks us to recognize the Caribbean and African peoples and economies that have made Britain possible.” —Heal Me Delicious

20. Curry Crab–Stuffed Dumplings

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“A twist to the traditional curry crab and dumplings dish. Though less work to eat, it still retains the same amazing flavor. Dumplings stuffed with a flavor-filled crab in creamy curry gravy. You cannot think of Tobago and food and not think of our signature dish, curry crab and dumplings.” —HomeMadeZagat

21. Nigerian Chapman Cocktail

“In the spirit of Afrofuturism, I have decided to put a spin on this refreshing drink, taking it from a simple punch full of sugary sodas to an elegant cocktail. My Nigerian chapman cocktail focuses on freshness.” —Immaculate Ruému

22. Dragon Fruit Pineapple Rum Punch

“As the poet Theresa tha S. O. N. G. B. I. R. D. so eloquently stated, ‘Black is an adjective, adverb, color, and noun.’ For this year’s Black History Month, I’ve joined a collaboration with Eat the Culture to contribute a recipe centered around Afrofuturism. I decided to create this beautiful and refreshingly delicious Dragon Fruit Pineapple Rum Punch. It’s a dose of South Africa meets the Caribbean, and I can’t wait for you all to try it!” —Jamieson Diaries

23. Smothered Okra & Tomatoes

“I kept all the amazing New Orleans flavors of classic stewed okra and tomatoes intact but gave the presentation a unique and futuristic twist in keeping with our theme. My interpretation features a smaller portion with the same mouthwatering flavor profile, but with an elevated presentation far from what my grandmother would expect her smothered okra and tomatoes to look like.” —Kenneth Temple

24. Brown Butter Sombi (Coconut Rice Pudding)

“The recipe structure mirrors the concept of gentrification, the process whereby the character of a poor urban area is changed by wealthier people moving in and typically displacing current inhabitants in the process. The hard brûléed upper shell represents the covering of cultural roots to create space and opportunity for the more affluent. Sombi is a traditional rice pudding dish with roots in Senegal.” —Meiko And The Dish

25. Coffee & Bourbon-Braised Short Ribs

“Coffee was birthed out of the continent of Africa and has without a doubt become a staple worldwide. This recipe is a savory fusion of rich flavors of beef slow-cooked with notes of espresso coffee and bourbon, joined by stewed greens and golden grit cakes. This dish is a culinary collage of traditional soul food with modern ingenuity and social flair.” —My Pretty Brown Fit + Eats

26. Fig Cake With Tamarind Glaze

“This recipe features two foods specific to the African diaspora—figs and tamarind. These two ingredients really amp up the flavor profile of a classic butter cake. The story of this recipe is combining the unique ingredients from the past into a common present-day recipe that can be enjoyed by many.” —My Sweet Precision

27. Coconut Lime Cornmeal Tres Leches Cake

“This recipe fits within the context of Afrofuturism because it’s a fusion of cultures, but also my hope is to uplift and show solidarity with Afro-Latinx brothers and sisters, and more specifically Mexicans of African descent, which have been largely ignored and unrecognized.” —Savor and Sage

28. Salmorejo de Jueyes (Stewed Crabmeat) With Coconut Grits Cakes

“Salmorejo de Jueyes (Stewed Crabmeat) With Coconut Grits Cakes is a beautiful medley of cultures. While most people are fawning over shrimp and grits, I’m serving up saucy Puerto Rican crabmeat with a heavy African influence. The result is an entrée that makes you think of ancestry, privilege, and where we have yet to go culturally, economically, and socially.” —Sense & Edibility®

29. Mango Upside-Down Cake With Coconut Cream

“This Upside-Down Mango Cake With Coconut Cream recipe is inspired by my love for baking and West African fruits. Mangoes and coconuts grow freely in Nigeria as well as other African countries.” —Sims Home Kitchen

30. Sous Vide Southern Oxtails

“My all-time favorite dish my mama, a wonderful Southern cook, would make me as a child was her Southern smothered oxtails with coconut rice. And while oxtails will never be a beauty pageant winner, they are the most delicious dish you’ll ever have, in my opinion.” —Sweet Tea + Thyme

31. Yam Gnocchi With Oxtail Pepper Soup

“When it comes to the Black food experience, there’s no one size fits all, as you can find Black people and Black culture across the diaspora. Due to this, Black culture through time has embraced many other foodways, while preserving some traditions and practices from its African roots. From Creole gumbo to Dominican Republic mangú, you’ll see how Black food has evolved by adopting the practices of the residing region, while also keeping its connection to Africa.” —The Food Disciple

32. Brown Butter Brûlée Bean Pie

“I think it is important for people to respect and know the history of the old ways of food tradition, but be brave enough to push the envelope on execution, fusion, and flavor as it relates to food and food history. I was just introduced to the bean pie two years ago and, for most of my life, I thought sweet potato pie was the end-all-be-all when it came to custard desserts within the Black community. All of a sudden, here I was at the farmers market, with a life-changing moment of biting into my first bean pie. ” —The Queen of Yum

33. Black-Eyed Pea Hummus

“Our contribution to this year’s gathering includes black-eyed pea hummus, cornbread crackers, and collard green chips. Shad and I are Atlanta natives, the heart of the South. Good soul food is at the core of our family traditions and gatherings.” —The Vgn Way

Which recipe do you want to make first? Let us know in the comments!

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