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Black History Month

30 Soulful Recipes to Celebrate Black History Month

African, Caribbean, Cajun, and soul food favorites that are easy to make at home. By: Amanda Williams
Black History Month

Black History Month began in the 1960s but was not formally recognized until 1976. Now observed during the month of February, it’s a time to celebrate the accomplishments and beauty of our Black ancestors. 

For me, like many, this month is a connection to my past, a bridge between generations, a way to honor my heritage, and a path to learn about new ones. All our stories have a direct connection to our ancestors, and they continue to live on through us-especially in our food. It’s a philosophy that feels especially relevant as we celebrate foods and traditions surrounding Black History Month.

Black culture is multi-hyphenated, with roots spanning across every continent. You can say that I am a prime example of that, with ties to Trinidad, Portugal, and West Africa, among other places. In terms of food, the impact of the African diaspora – that is, people of African descendant now living elsewhere around the world – is easy to see (and taste) in the United States. This is especially true in areas such as New Orleans, the Carolinas, Washington, DC, and Virginia, where many Black Americans first settled after the abolition of slavery.  

Black culture in America has a unique relationship with food and drink, one often connected by our shared experience of enslavement, immigration, systemic oppression, and tenacity. Many popular ingredients, such as okra, watermelon, cornmeal, rice, yams, peanuts, plantains, and collard greens, trace their roots to Africa and the Caribbean. These foods were brought over to provide sustenance for enslaved people and were later cultivated on plantations. Far more than just regional preferences, many of the dishes we now call American soul food represent the complexity of African American history. 

Many recipes that are part of Black American culture have been lovingly shared from one generation to another through stories, rather than a written record. These heirlooms are a testament to the strength and resilience of our community. More than delicious food we enjoy together, these recipes are a way for our history to live on and flourish.  

Immerse yourself in the flavors and experiences that have shaped Black history. From West Africa to the Caribbean to the Deep South, each regional dish carries with it part of our ancestors’ identities and tales of resilience, creativity, and community. 


Instant Pot® Stewed Chicken and Olives

Harissa paste gives a quick hit of flavor to this Moroccan-inspired stew made in the Instant Pot®. 

Get the recipe: Instant Pot Stewed Chicken and Olives 

Spicy Butternut Squash and Kale Stew with Peanuts 

This African-inspired stew, also called African Peanut Stew, is hearty, nutritious, and ready in under 30 minutes. 

Get the recipe: Spicy Butternut Squash and Kale Stew with Peanuts 

Spicy Chicken Tagine 

You don’t need a tagine, the conical clay oven used in traditional Moroccan cuisine, or hours of cooking time for this authentic tasting combination of chicken, couscous, and spices.  

Get the recipe: Spicy Chicken Tagine 

Moroccan Beef and Couscous Bowl 

 Another quick-cooking take on North African tagines, this couscous bowl satisfies with a savory-sweet pairing of dried fruit and cumin-rubbed steak. 

Get the recipe: Moroccan Beef and Couscous Bowl 

Grilled Carrots and Harissa Yogurt Sauce 

Spicy North African harissa and creamy yogurt turn carrots into an unforgettable, smoky-sweet side that’s ready in 15 minutes. 

Get the recipe: Grilled Carrots and Harissa Yogurt Sauce 

Moroccan Spiced Beef Lettuce Wraps 

A sprinkle of ras el hanout seasoning is the key for this Moroccan-inspired supper that features couscous, zucchini, and fresh mint. 

Get the recipe: Moroccan Spiced Beef Lettuce Wraps 


Paella with Codfish 

Cod fish, both fresh and the preserved, salted variety, is a traditional ingredient used around the world, including in West African and Caribbean cooking. Here, it’s the star of a seafood paella made for sharing with friends. 

Get the recipe: Paella with Codfish 

Fried Sweet Plantains 

Tender on the inside and caramelized on the outside, Caribbean-inspired fried sweet plantains (also called maduros) are great as a side, snack, or dessert.  

Get the recipe: Fried Sweet Plantains 

Air Fryer Fish Croquettes 

 Codfish cakes are enjoyed throughout the Caribbean. Our twist uses canned fish and is air fried for an easy lunch or dinner. 

Get the recipe: Air Fryer Fish Croquettes 

Soul Food 

Cornbread Pudding 

This is like a cross between corn pudding and cornbread, and it’s completely addictive. 

Get the recipe: Cornbread Pudding  

Maryland Style Crab Cakes 

If you can’t get yourself to a crab feast, these Maryland-style crab cakes are the next best things. With no extra fillers, the simple seasonings let the luscious sweetness of the shellfish shine.  

Get the recipe: Maryland Style Crab Cakes 

Instant Pot® Collard Greens with Bacon 

This Southern-inspired side dish speeds across the finish line in the Instant Pot® in a fraction of the time it takes on the stovetop. Pick your favorite hot sauce for an extra punch. 

Get the recipe: Instant Pot Collard Greens with Bacon 

Green Onion and Corn Biscuits 

 Nothing beats your grandmother’s homemade, cheesy biscuits fresh from the oven. These are the next-best thing and are made in just 35 minutes with the help of store-bought baking mix. 

Get the recipe: Green Onion and Corn Biscuits 

BBQ Rubbed Pork tenderloin with Cauliflower and Green Beans 

This easy, big-batch sheet pan dinner includes everything you need all in one pan for a complete, Southern-inspired meal. 

Get the recipe: BBQ Rubbed Pork tenderloin with Cauliflower and Green Beans  

Easy Smoked Ribs 

Become the grill master of your dreams in no time with this rib recipe that starts in the oven and finishes on the grill for delicious smoky flavor. 

Get the recipe: Easy Smoked Ribs 

Slow Cooker BBQ Sliders 

There is nothing like southern BBQ. These five-ingredients sliders lean on the slow cooker to capture the flavors of pulled pork with much less effort. 

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker BBQ Sliders 

Slow Cooker BBQ Baked Beans 

Nothing is better at Sunday brunch than a big batch of baked beans, unless it’s making them effortlessly in the slow cooker without turning on the oven.  

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker BBQ Baked Beans 

Slow Cooker Candied Yams 

This classic holiday casserole side is great any time of the year. No boiling required with our version that comes together in the slow cooker. 

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Candied Yams 

Black Eyed Pea Salad 

Black Eye peas, which originally hail from Northern Africa and the West Indies, are now a staple in American cooking. This simple salad is packed with flavor for your next get-together. 

Get the recipe: Black Eyed Pea Salad 

Hibiscus Lemonade Red Drink 

The origin of the red drink is a little muddled, but red-colored teas using ingredients such as Hibiscus have roots in West Africa. It has since been deemed the official drink of Juneteenth, but you can enjoy this refreshing version made with berries, hibiscus tea, and lemonade any time of year. 

Get the recipe: Hibiscus Lemonade Red Drink 

Red Velvet Cake in Jars 

 For many African Americans, red is a symbol of sacrifice as well as joy and classic red velvet cake is a fixture at Juneteenth celebrations. This version gets a portable makeover that’s perfect for bringing to any celebration. 

Get the recipe: Red Velvet Cake in Jars 

Cajun Recipes 

Slow-Cooker Cajun Red Beans and Rice 

Tied to the Haitian revolution, red beans and rice is a features often in Cajun cuisine. Our easy version is made in the slow cooker. Don’t skip the quick boil ahead of time; it helps get rid of certain compounds in the beans that can be tough to digest.  

Get the recipe: Slow-Cooker Cajun Red Beans and Rice 

Peel and Eat Cajun Shrimp 

When you want a quick getaway down south, whip up this easy recipe. Cayenne-infused shrimp and remoulade-inspired sauce will have you dreaming about floating on the bayou. 

Get the recipe: Peel and Eat Cajun Shrimp 

Weeknight Chicken and Sausage Gumbo 

Weeknight Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

This Cajun-style gumbo is made with a classic roux and okra. It’s the perfect dish for warming up on a chilly winter day. 

Get the recipe: Weeknight Chicken and Sausage Gumbo 


French and Spanish flavors come together in this simple spin on jambalaya. The result is a flavor punch that embodies the best of New Orleans. 

Get the recipe: Jambalaya 

Classic Shrimp & Grits 

This beloved South Carolina classic is now a staple in many southern households. Creamy, cheesy corn grits are topped with saucy shrimp…what’s not to love? 

Get the recipe: Classic Shrimp & Grits 



Amanda Williams is the digital content manager at Savory. She called Boston and Atlanta home before settling in New York where she has been working in the culinary industry for the past 10 years. Her favorite seat at a restaurant is the chef’s counter, and you are most likely to find her eating carbs.  

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