With Kwanzaa about to begin, this is the perfect time to talk about the most important part of any celebration: the food. Traditionally, Kwanzaa food is a mix of many different flavors and styles, from African staples like groundnut stew to Caribbean favorites like jerk chicken. One of the few foods you’ll find across most Kwanzaa celebrations is the mazoa – fresh fruits and vegetables used to celebrate the harvest. Other than that, tables vary widely according to family backgrounds and tastes.
That said, here are a few of the more popular options to serve during the week-long celebration:
1. Collard Greens
A Southern comfort food, collard greens often find themselves on the Kwanzaa table. With their bacon-infused, chili-pepper accented flavor, they’re a delicious addition to the menu. For many, this unassuming side dish serves double duty, acting as a reminder of the African diaspora. Click here for a delicious recipe.
2. Groundnut Stew
This is a West African dish with roots in Mali. Combining a tomato base with peanut butter leads to a dish that is both tangy and smooth. The recipe is versatile, and can be made with just about any meat, or completely vegetarian. Popular recipes call for chicken, sweet potatoes, or beef as the filler, and this stew is frequently served over rice. An authentic version can be found here.
3. Black-Eyed Peas
Another reminder of the African diaspora, black-eyed peas, are a frequent favorite for Kwanzaa feasts. Simple to prepare, they pack a wallop for the taste buds with ham or bacon used as flavoring. If you’re interested in trying it out, this recipe is great!
4. Sweet Potato Pie
No meal is complete without dessert, and sweet potato pie is a Kwanzaa favorite. A smooth sweet potato filling is mixed with warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. This recipe has its origin in soul food – food traditionally eaten by southern African-Americans. For a simple take on sweet potato pie, try this recipe.
Kwanzaa is a time to celebrate the bounty of the year and spend time with family. A table that reflects joy in food and the flavors you and yours love best is the perfect table, and the perfect way to celebrate this season of love and community.