• Ash-roasted sweet potatoes

    Now, I know you’re thinking, “Why go through the trouble of roasting sweet potatoes in ash when I can cook them in the oven?” I get it—lighting up coals just to have them burn to ash so you can cook food is a lot of effort. But guess what? You can feed two birds with […]

  • Candied yams

    If you don’t like sweet dishes, you might want to skip this recipe. There is no getting around the flavorful syrup that is the hallmark of candied yams. This recipe is my nod to the classic side dish that is ubiquitous on holiday tables throughout the South. Traditional versions rely heavily on lots of butter […]

  • Brown stew with root vegetables

    Inspired by Jamaican brown stew, aka brown stew chicken, a classic dish popular throughout the Caribbean, this slightly sweet, savory, and spicy stew is a great way to showcase root vegetables. The original dish is “brown” from cooking chicken in fat and then simmering it in a mixture of brown sugar, aromatics, and spices, which […]

  • Millet, red lentil, and potato cakes

    In August 2017, Mitchell Davis, chief strategy officer of the James Beard Foundation, asked me to help curate the menu (along with chefs Dan Barber and Mary Sue Milliken) for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Goals Awards ceremony. The awards recognize outstanding activists and campaign groups who have made a demonstrable positive impact […]

  • Spinach salad with blackened chickpeas

    While I typically call for from-scratch chickpeas, I’m fine with using canned ones in this recipe. Once they are roasted and tossed in blackened seasoning, they make a great snack or addition to leafy salads such as this one. Ingredients creamy herb dressing ¾ cup silken tofu 2 tablespoons minced shallots 1 tablespoon minced fresh […]

  • Baked fonio and kale balls

    I first learned about fonio, one of Africa’s oldest grains, when Senegalese chef Pierre Thiam started touting its benefits a few years ago. According to Chef Thiam, some varieties of fonio are drought-resistant and can play an important role in addressing hunger in sub-Saharan Africa (similar to millet). In this recipe, I form the fonio—along […]

  • Roasted sweet plantains, pecan, and millet salad

    This is a delicious and substantial salad that fuses ingredients from different parts of the African Diaspora. Millet, a staple food crop for a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, provides a mild, slightly nutty base on which to build a flavorful dish. Plantains, commonly eaten throughout Africa as well as in the Caribbean, Central […]

  • All-green everything salad with creamy sage dressing

    When conceiving this dish, I thought about how pretty a monochromatic green salad would be on a white plate. Well, this salad tastes as good as it looks. It’s the type of light-but-filling dish that I often have for lunch to tide me over until dinner. I also serve it alongside richer dishes to balance […]

  • Preparing tofu

    I have a complicated relationship with tofu. On one hand, I have been critical of the “delete meat and add bland tofu” ethos prevalent in plant-based cooking throughout the 1980s and ’90s, and I pushed people to think about using it sparingly as cooks do in East and Southwest Asia. On the other hand, I […]

  • Jerk tofu wrapped in collard leaves

    The method of cooking fish in banana leaves inspired this recipe. Banana leaves play the dual role of imparting a floral, sweet, and grassy flavor to the fish as well as keeping it moist. In this recipe, I am more interested in highlighting the slightly bitter-earthy taste and the chewy texture of the collard leaves […]

  • Mushroom rice—stuffed cabbage

    The mushroom rice in this recipe is inspired by djon-djon, a classic Haitian rice dish made with a rare black mushroom found in the mountainous region of northern Haiti. I serve the rolls with sauce piquant, a classic Creole sauce, and onion-thyme cream to tone down the heat and uplift the overall dish. Ingredients sauce […]

  • Sautéed cabbage and roasted potatoes

    The initial inspiration for this recipe was atakilt, a hearty Ethiopian dish of slow-cooked potatoes, cabbage, and carrots. Here I roast cubes of potatoes until just crisp so they remain firm and hold up while being sautéed with the cabbage. Rather than adding cut carrots to the mix, I smear a carrot puree onto the […]

  • Memphis coleslaw

    I can get down with vinaigrette-coated slaws, but this creamy version speaks to my soul. It evokes some of my fondest childhood memories and goes perfectly on my Cornmeal-Fried Oyster Mushroom Po’Boy . This is the coleslaw that I grew up eating. It is the coleslaw that my dad made most “fish fry” Fridays at […]

  • Quick-pickled sweet peppers

    Ingredients makes two ½-pint jars This is a simple recipe to make use of mini sweet peppers. I often add them to sandwiches, and they are always a hit when I make vegan cheese boards for parties (Miyoko’s vegan cheese for the win!). If you can’t get mini sweet peppers from a farmers’ market, I […]

  • Mashed kabocha

    With the diversity of winter squashes available, it would be a shame not to incorporate them into lots of meals during peak season. In this book I employ a number of techniques for cooking winter squash—from roasting to pureeing—so I want to offer a few tips for preparing it. First, thoroughly wash and dry your […]

  • Roasted delicata squash, black-eyed peas, and mustard greens

    This is the type of food my grandparents made every day. They sourced fresh ingredients mostly from their home gardens; they let the vegetables and legumes shine through, seasoning them simply with salt and pepper; and they made sure that the dish was juicy with broth, so one could sop it up with cornbread. Ingredients: […]

  • Tempura-fried squash blossoms with eggplant-almond stuffing

    Summer officially starts when you make this dish for a cookout. This is peak party food—seasonal, salty, colorful, crunchy, dredged, and delicious. The idea for this recipe came after I read an article about ancient Africans making cheese. The piece described how archeological scientists at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom analyzed organic […]

  • Yellow squash soup

    This coconut milk—laced soup is a fun way to use crookneck or straightneck yellow squash during the summer. The flavor profile of the soup is inspired by herbs and spices that one would find in Jamaican jerk seasonings. Many of them are pureed into the soup. Others go into a topping that includes pecans, thyme, […]

  • Stuffed peppers

    I was inspired to make this recipe after having a remarkable dinner at Hart’s Restaurant in Brooklyn with my good friend, the brilliant filmmaker Shalini Kantayya. Hart’s packed farm-fresh banana peppers with Hoppin’ John—a black-eyed peas and rice dish popular in the South—and it spoke to my soul. Fresh banana peppers may be difficult for […]

  • Blistered shishito pepper salad

    One of my favorite fall snacks is blistered shishitos—Japanese chile peppers. They typically have a mild, sweet flavor that makes them delicious to eat on their own. In restaurants, they are often served with a simple shoyu sauce or something acidic like cut lemons and limes or a ponzu sauce. I prefer eating them with […]

  • Farro and kidney beans with burnt scallions

    This recipe is inspired by the rice and peas (or rice and beans) dish that’s found throughout the Caribbean but is most closely associated with Jamaica. Depending on whom you ask, the “peas” are pigeon peas or kidney beans—I use the latter in this recipe, and farro instead of the traditional long-grain white rice. Farro, […]

  • Scallion-teff biscuits

    Here’s the thing: these scallion biscuits are a standout on their own. But I wanted to pair them with umami-rich mushroom gravy so they could be eaten as a meal. This is the type of breakfast that my dad likes to have on vacation or on one of his “cheat days.” I agree with Pops. […]

  • Grilled spring onions with lemon-thyme oil

    When spring onions are available in late spring and summer, I char them on my grill as often as possible. Most of the time, I don’t have a vision for how they will be used in the meal, but that always seems to work itself out. I usually toss them with peanut oil first, but […]

  • Warm beluga lentils with roasted leek tops and kale

    Writing this book forced me out of my comfort zone in many regards. Before testing this recipe, I had never attempted to cook with the tough leek tops. I always composted them and stuck with the tender base. In the spirit of zero-waste cooking, I experimented with different ways of cooking leek tops before settling […]

  • Juicing ginger

    he easiest way to get juice from ginger is feeding it into an electric juicer, but here is another way if you don’t have a juicer: First, grate ginger knobs on a box grater (the coarse side with the big holes works well). You can also pulverize the ginger in a food processor to yield […]

  • Cleaning leeks

    This tasty and rich soup is fairly easy to make, though the puffed black ginger rice takes some time (worth it!). The star is undoubtedly the sweet potatoes—a staple of African American cooking. The leeks play a supporting role, deepening the flavor of the soup. A smattering of cashew cream adds a velvety texture to […]

  • Fennel and citrus salad

    This salad mashes up two memorable dishes from different periods of my life. I enjoyed the first one back during my college years, when my friend Gigi and I visited a restaurant in Milan that specialized in southern Italian cuisine. We must have spent two hours in that place stuffing our faces. When the waiter […]

  • Cornbread muffins

    My paternal grandfather lived through the Jim Crow South, so when he retired, all he wanted to do was praise the Lord, serve his community, spend time with his family, and tend his garden. He loved hanging out with his grandchildren, and I have fond memories of sitting with my Paw Paw at his kitchen […]

  • Making soups and stews

    One of the food hacks my family uses to help our weeks go smoothly is making a big batch of veggie stock and a double or triple batch of vegetable soup on Sundays so we have go-to meals on hand throughout the week. We often make enough stock to freeze so we can skip a […]

  • Corn, red pepper, and blackened tempeh chowder

    his is a simple corn chowder that really highlights fresh, seasonal corn and bell peppers. The tempeh makes it a hearty dish that can be enjoyed with crusty bread. Ingredients ¼ cup Blackened Seasoning Safflower oil, for frying 1 (8-ounce) package tempeh, cut into ½-inch cubes Fine sea salt 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil ½ […]

  • Grilled corn on the cob

    rilled corn appears at roughly 100% of our summer cookouts. Most often, a simple mixture of olive oil, salt, and pepper is the perfect coating, as it allows the delicious, sweet kernels to shine. If I want the corn to be the star of the meal, however, this is my new go-to recipe. The key […]

  • Sweet corn relish

    I channeled my maternal grandmother, Margie Bryant, when I created this recipe. It reminds me of the relish she made using fresh corn from farm trucks parked in downtown Memphis. In fact, corn relish was a traditional dish eaten throughout the South and stored in the larder for leaner months. I created it to top […]

  • Chilled green soup

    I try to clean up my diet during the spring. After months of eating warming soups, hearty stews, and lots of comfort foods, I reset by eating ample seasonal green vegetables, including raw salads, every day. I hydrate by drinking lots of water, green juices, and vegetable smoothies. I also try to eat smaller meals […]

  • Smashed peas and creamy cauliflower

    The idea for this recipe came from mushy peas, the classic British dish that traditionally accompanies fish and chips. The simplest way to prepare fresh-from-the-shell peas is to blanch them in generously salted boiling water for about 2 minutes. If you are going to take advantage of fresh peas during their relatively short season, let […]

  • Pea shoot and peanut salad

    If you can’t find pea shoots at your local market or store, don’t fret. They are easy to grow at home, and take about two weeks to mature once you plant them. A quick search on Al Gore’s internet will tell you everything you need to know about growing pea shoots. A popular way to […]

  • Haricot vert and mushroom stew

    Haricots verts, French for “green beans,” are legit one of my favorite vegetables. No matter when I have them, they take me back to raucous family gatherings (what’s up, cousins?) in the days of my youth, since these green beans would often be a part of holiday spreads. This dish is inspired by run down, […]

  • warm butter bean salad with roasted bell peppers

    Smoky roasted peppers provide a bright contrast to the delicate, buttery flavor of big lima beans in this dish. The pili pili oil adds the subtlest kick—you’ll notice it, but it doesn’t overpower. Peppery arugula adds freshness, and a squeeze of lemon brightens everything. I created this recipe for a collaboration with Williams-Sonoma in 2019. […]

  • Oven-roasted baby beets

    This simple and fun beet salad was inspired by a dish in Melissa Clark’s Dinner in an Instant. She has always been one of my favorite cookbook authors, and her recipes are always on point. 1 pound mixed baby beets (about 12), scrubbed and stem end trimmed 1 lemon ¾ cup nondairy yogurt 1 teaspoon agave […]

  • Smashed fried potatoes

    My Smashed Potatoes, Peas, and Corn with Chile-Garlic Oil from Afro-Vegan got so much love, I had to remix it. That recipe was a deconstructed version of irio, a staple of the Kikuyu people consisting of pureed white potatoes with green peas and sweet corn mixed in. In Afro-Vegan, I smashed steamed potatoes and baked them before covering […]

  • Pikliz

    A few years back at one of MoAD’s galas, the museum auctioned off a private dinner curated by me. To make the meal, I hired my buddy Isaiah Martinez—a super-talented Afro-Caribbean chef now working in Eugene, Oregon. I had my friend Jaynelle—owner of Pietisserie—make pies for dessert, and I brought on the homie DJ Max […]

  • Quick-pickled sweet peppers

    This is a simple recipe to make use of mini sweet peppers. I often add them to sandwiches, and they are always a hit when I make vegan cheese boards for parties (Miyoko’s vegan cheese for the win!). If you can’t get mini sweet peppers from a farmers’ market, I have seen mixed bags of […]

  • Dill-pickled fennel

    I’m not sure about other parts of the country, but in Memphis when I was growing up, eating whole dill pickles stuffed with sugar-sweet candy was a thing that Black kids did. I think it was an inventive way for young people to combine different foods to create a new trend. I remember the first […]

  • Tempura green beans

    Nagasaki meets New Orleans in these light, crispy, and delicious green beans. I know that starting this book with a recipe for tempura—a Japanese dish of deep-fried battered vegetables—is a bold choice, but I figured we’d jump right into the deep end. Frying can be tricky for a lot of people, and I offer general […]

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