Juneteenth is not only a celebration of freedom and resistance but of Black culture and like any independence day, it can only be complete with breaking bread and celebrating brilliance.

June, 19, 1865 became known as Juneteenth and Freedom Day because while the thirteenth amendment was signed earlier that year, people in the Confederate territory would not be free until the Union troops declared it so. However, it wasn’t until two years ago that America signed into law the official act that Juneteenth is an independence day of its own right.

Food is more than just sustenance for us to survive physically, for the Black community it is a symbol of what it took to thrive in America. This Juneteenth be sure to dig into the knowledge of the past and food of the present. We have compiled a list of recipes that should be on your menu when celebrating Juneteenth.

1. Grilled Watermelon Salad 

Chef Rasheeda, also known as @adaexperiences on TikTok, is a NYC-based native. In her recipe, she provides her own take on watermelon salad — an amazing combination of sweet and savory that will burst your summer with flavor. Add oil and spice rub to fresh watermelon and grill for three to four minutes on a cast iron skillet. Cut the watermelon into small pieces and combine with arugula, mint, and feta cheese. You can also toss in shallots and, of course, some more seasoning like salt and pepper. Then top the salad with balsamic dressing.

2. Traditional Potato Salad

Chef Joya puts a twist on her grandma’s traditional potato salad. The dressing is a simple combo of mustard, plant-based mayo, pepper, salt, and sugar. The salad itself features a variety of veggies including celery, sweet onions, and chopped potatoes — the latter is to be boiled in salt water. Potato salads are a great side that’s easy to make and just needs to be chilled until it’s time to eat.

3. Grilled Chicken

Juneteenth would be remiss without chicken and Chef Millie Peartree has the most wonderful recipe I have ever seen on social media. Chicken wings with a hibiscus barbeque sauce. For the chicken, seasoning with your regular spices, a bit of paprika, and olive oil is best before baking until golden brown. To make the hibiscus sauce mix onions, and dried hibiscus flowers with olive oil, mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, and paprika. Toss the chicken wings in the sauce and bake for an additional 10 minutes for the sauce to stick to the chicken wings.

4. Mac and Cheese

This is the gooiest Mac and Cheese recipe that would be a showstopper at your Juneteenth celebration. TikTok’s @thatnursecancook uses chicken broth instead of water and a variety of cheeses including Colby Jack, Gouda, and extra sharp cheddar. Cook elbow noodles until broth has evaporated and pasta is al dente. For the creamy cheese sauce, melt butter and add flour, then combine with heavy cream and pepper and the cheeses of your choice until it melts into a sauce. Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and mix until evenly incorporated.

5. Strawberry Cornbread

TikTok’s talented duo Laisha and Andrew, @makeitdairyfree, create vegan-free recipes so, dig into this elevated cornbread dish! For the cornbread, you need flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt then fold in sliced strawberries. After baking for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, add some extra pizazz with a lemon glaze. The lemon glaze consists of apple sauce, buttermilk, lemon zest, brown sugar, vanilla, vegan butter, and maple syrup.

6. Collard Greens

Collard greens are a staple for many southern soul food dishes. Of course, it needs to be on your list of Juneteenth recipes. Follow this recipe from TikTok Chef Jai, @cookinwithjai, for some mouth-watering collard greens.

The first step is washing the greens, rolling them up, and cutting a slit for ease with slicing. Washing is really important to cleanse dirt and bacteria and it’s a step you might need to do a few times until the water is clear and not a fuzzy green. Slowly cook the greens, adding in a bit at a time, making sure all the greens fit in your pan. Seasoning is imperative especially for collard greens because they tend to be extremely bitter. Jai seasoned her greens with paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, red crushed pepper, chicken bouillon paste, brown sugar, and butter.

This side dish is usually paired with turkey or other meats so, you might want to saute a sliced onion, garlic, and chicken broth to make a sauce that pairs beautifully with both dishes.

7. Strawberry Soda

This traditional drink was remixed by Stephanie Williams, also known as @veganwhat, a vegan mentor. Slice and dice pineapple, watermelon, and strawberries in a juicer then mix with sparkling water and ice for a refreshing drink on the hot day.

8. Sweet Potato Pie with Gingerbread crust

Creator of There's Food at Home and Food Talent, August provides a family recipe for a soothing sweet potato pie. August starts with a gingerbread crust and then begins with the filling. She only uses two sweet potatoes, boiling them until soft, and with the help of a mixer starts the filling. The filling consists of a bit of All Spice, brown sugar, eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla extract mixed with the sweet potatoes until creamy. She then bakes the pie at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 to 60 minutes. It does need a few hours to cool and set, but after it's fully cooled, the last step is to enjoy.