Kwanzaa Menus

These menus can be served throughout the Kwanzaa celebration for family meals or entertaining. Though Kwanzaa meals often focus on dinner or potluck suppers, this set of menus also includes brunch suggestions.


Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili word for "first fruits of the season." Our menus highlight the bounty of the earth, with an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables.

Beef and Groundnut Stew

Peanut butter adds a unique flavor to beef stew.

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Corn Sticks

Whet your appetite with the golden color and fresh-baked aroma of these corn bread sticks.

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Pinto Beans and Rice

Ham, beans, and rice come together for a spicy side dish.

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Sweet Potato Biscuits

Try making these in different shapes, such as squares or triangles.

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Fresh Fruit with Honey-Lime Sauce

For this dessert, choose pineapple, papaya, and other fruits of your liking.

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This menu pairs foods from Africa with foodstuffs found in the New World. Okra -- introduced to North America by African slaves -- is served as a popular vegetable side, prepared with tomatoes and corn. Jollof Rice and Yassa Chicken are versions of traditional main dishes from West Africa.

Okra 'N Corn Bowl

Join two Southern staples to create a new favorite side dish.

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Collard Greens with Tomato-Onion Salsa

Greens of all types are a popular part of African cooking.

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View the Tomato-Onion Salsa recipe

Jollof Rice

This is a widely enjoyed West African dish.

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Yassa Chicken

Citrus-marinated onions add a slightly crispy, sour crunch.

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Coconut Cake

Cream of coconut intensifies the flavor of this cake.

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Groundnut stew is one of the first recipes that comes to mind as a traditional African dish. Soups and stews from the Caribbean also feature the groundnut, or peanut. This menu is easily prepared in advance and is even more flavorful the second day.

Groundnut Stew

Groundnut stew is one of the classic dishes found in West Africa.

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Kwanzaa Corn Bread Squares

Bits of red sweet pepper turn corn bread into something special for the holiday.

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Ambrosia

Known in Greek mythology as "food of the Gods," ambrosia can reflect a global menu by adding exotic fruits from the Caribbean such as mango, papaya, and star fruit.

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This menu features Southern recipe favorites as a hearty brunch. In addition to fish and other seafood, breakfast tables along the southeastern shore of the United States often include dishes with eggs.

Garlic Cheese Grits

Grits, often referred to as "the potato of the South," became a staple in the hot Southeast because they retained quality in the warm, humid climate.

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Cajun-Flavored Catfish

For a colorful presentation of these healthful fillets, serve them atop Festive Kwanzaa Slaw or other coleslaw.

View the Cajun-Flavored Catfish recipe

View the Festive Kwanzaa Slaw recipe

Salmon Croquettes

These golden patties are quick to make for an appetizer or as part of the meal.

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Drop Biscuits

Who doesn't warm to fresh-baked biscuits made from scratch? This classic recipe is easy enough for even a novice cook.

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Sweet Potato Pecan Bars

A traditional holiday vegetable in a dessert.

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The following menu focuses on Caribbean delights. These dishes resonate with the Kwanzaa principles of unity, helping you learn more about the Africans who were brought to the Caribbean islands as slaves.

Fried Plantain with Spicy Tomato Relish

Serve any leftover relish with chips or toss with pasta.

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Oven-Style Jerk Chicken

The jerk marinade flavors this dish with the aroma of the warm winds of the Caribbean.

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Red Beans and Rice or Black-Eyed Peas and Rice

Either of these Creole favorites will work with this menu.

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View Black-Eyed Peas and Rice recipe

Glazed Mango Pound Cake

This fruit-sweetened dessert will be the perfect finish to a hearty meal.

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