Like most holiday festivities, food is an integral part Kwanzaa, a weeklong celebration that honors African heritage in African-American culture. Kwanzaa is observed annually from December 26 to January 1, and was created by American professor Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966. Kwanzaa’s origins were inspired by African harvest festivals, a time when communities honor crops and laborers. In fact, Kwanzaa was named for the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning “first fruits of the harvest.”
While food is an important part of each day of Kwanzaa, the largest meal typically takes place on the sixth night. In this Kwanzaa holiday cooking special, you’ll join Roniece Weaver from Hebni Nutrition Consultants, Inc. as she prepares two recipes featuring classic Kwanzaa foods and flavors: Black-Eyed Pea Salad and Shrimp, Corn and Sweet Potato Soup.
This demonstration was taped live at Hebni Nutrition Consultants’ kitchen in downtown Orlando.
Black-Eye Pea Salad (starts at 03:15)
- 1 15oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15oz. can black eyed peas , rinsed and drained or cooked fresh, drained
- 1 ½ cup diced bell pepper (recommend 3 colors)
- 2 medium size Roma tomatoes , firm
- 1 jalapeño , diced
- 1/4 red onion , diced
- 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro , chopped
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 fresh lime (2 Tbsp juice)
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- Rinse and drain both cans of beans in a colander. Let the excess water drain as you prepare the vegetables.
- Finely dice the bell pepper, tomatoes, jalapeño, and red onion. Try to dice the vegetables into pieces that are roughly the same size as the beans. For a less spicy salad, scrape the seeds out of the jalapeño before dicing. Roughly chop the cilantro. Place the drained beans, bell pepper, tomatoes, jalapeño, onion, and cilantro in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, 2 Tbsp of juice from the lime, balsamic vinegar, chili powder, cumin, salt, and sugar.
- Pour the dressing over the salad, then stir until everything is well coated.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.
Shrimp Corn and Sweet Potato Soup (starts at 09:00)
- 1 red onion chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 cups diced sweet potatoes
- 1” diced 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen corn, thawed drained
- 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream style corn
- 1 (10-ounce) can green chilies
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 4 cups canned low sodium chicken broth
- 1½ pounds peeled medium shrimp
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped green onions or scallions (optional)
- Put a little vegetable oil in bottom of large pot
- Sauté the onion, celery, garlic, and green pepper in large pot until tender.
- Add the sweet potatoes, frozen corn, cream style corn, tomatoes and green chilies, tomato paste, and broth into large pot;
- Bring mixture to a boil.
- Add shrimp in pot and continue cooking until shrimp is done, about 10 minutes.
- Garnish with green onions, if desired.
Let cool in pot and serve on a dish.