Carifest recipes

Carifest Recipes

The Carifest organizers shared some of their favorite recipes with Aquatennial. Check out some of these incredible dishes and offerings as you celebrate the 2020 Aquatennial.

Jerk Chicken


1 whole chicken, separated into pieces

2 Scotch bonnet peppers, seeds removed

1 tablespoon salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon nutmeg

4 cloves garlic

1 ½ teaspoon thyme, dried

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

½ cup scallions, chopped

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 lemon, sliced into 4-6 pieces


Set chicken aside

Using food processor, blend remaining ingredients into a paste (except for lemon slices)

Rub all over chicken

Grill chicken over medium or medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes on each side or until thoroughly cooked

Serve with lemon slices

Jamaican Dumplings


4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 tablespoons butter

½ cup cold water

Olive oil, vegetable oil, or grape-seed oil for frying, enough to fill skillet halfway


Combine dry ingredients into a large bowl. Stir butter until flour mixture is in crumbles no longer than peas.

Mix in water 1 tablespoon at a time, just until the mixture is wet enough to form into a ball. The dough should have a firm consistency. Knead briefly and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Break off pieces of dough and shape into patties—similar to flat biscuits.

Place just enough of the dumplings in the pan so they are not crowded.

Fry on each side until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.

Remove from pan and drain on paper towels before serving.



1 garlic clove, minced

¼ cup onions, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil

½ cup freshly chopped tomato

¾ cup fresh spinach, torn into large pieces

3 whole eggs, plus 2 egg whites (or egg substitution of your choosing)

¼ cup whole milk

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup finely chopped basil leaves

½ cup feta cheese

Apple Cider Dressing

Apple cider vinegar, like Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

Olive Oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional: add minced garlic and shallots

or Simple Lemon Dressing

1 lemon, juice

3 cloves garlic, minced

4-5 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Pinch of red pepper flakes


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In cast-iron skillet, sauté garlic and onions in olive oil or coconut oil until onion is soft

Add tomatoes and spinach, allowing spinach to wilt

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, egg whites, milk, salt and pepper together

After whisking, add egg mixture and chopped basil to the pan

Sprinkle with feta cheese

When edges of frittata start to firm against pan, remove from stovetop and plan in oven until fully cooked, about 10 minutes

Serve with side salad and apple cider vinaigrette or simple lemon dressings

For apple cider and simple lemon salad dressings, mix all ingredients and whisk until combined. From cider dressing, desired yield is 1 part vinegar and 2 parts olive oil

Optional: you can also make individual servings in ramekins.

Brown Rice and Salmon Bowl


1 salmon fillet (1 pound)

1 head cauliflower, florets quartered, cut into bite-size pieces

1 whole leek (discard outer layer, then clean and slice)

Olive oil for drizzling, plus 1 tablespoon for sautéing

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cumin, to taste

1 bunch beet greens, julienned, stems removed

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons coconut oil

3 cups cooked brown rice

½ avocado


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Spread cauliflower and leeks on roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin

Roast for 40 minutes, loosening cauliflower with wooden spoon halfway through to prevent sticking

Salt salmon, divide into 3 pieces, set aside

Saute beet greens in olive oil, add minced garlic

Cook salmon in a frying pan with coconut oil until pink in the middle

Scoop cooked brown rice into bowl, cover with roasted cauliflower and leeks

Place salmon and beet greens on top

Open avocado and slice lengthwise into pieces for garnish

Caribbean Salsa


1 cup fresh, firm mango, diced

1 cup fresh pineapple, diced

Optional: 1 cup fresh, firm papaya, diced

¼ cup fresh jalapeno, minced and seasoned, or to taste

¼ cup red onion, minced

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

½ tablespoon salt, kosher or sea

1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro

1 cup firm Roma tomatoes, diced and seeded

¼ cup cucumber, diced and seeded



Combine all ingredients in a bowl and generously sprinkle hempseed before serving

Enjoy with chips and fresh green salad

Pineapple Lemongrass Cooler


½ ripe pineapple

2 bananas

½ cup (120ml) water

Three 4-inch (10cm) pieces of lemongrass

Simple Syrup

¼ cup (60ml) vodka, optional


Place the pineapple, bananas. Water, and lemongrass in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Strain through cheesecloth. Taste and add simple syrup, if necessary. Stir in the optional vodka. Serve on the rocks.

Creole Sauce


¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (85g) vegan margarine

6 tomatoes, thinly sliced

2 onions, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon mild paprika

1 teaspoon Madras curry powder

2 cups (480ml) water

2 teaspoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 ½ to 2 teaspoons pink or sea salt, or to taste

1 to 2 teaspoons Bajan Pepper Sauce

1 teaspoon commercial pepper sauce with ½ teaspoon American-style mustard

1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley


Heat the margarine in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the tomatoes and onions and sauté until the tomatoes begin to release their juice and the onions start to become translucent

Add the garlic, raise the heat to medium, and cook for 3 minutes

Sirin the pepper, paprika, and curry powder, then sir in the water and tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the onion powder, salt, pepper sauce, and parsley. Serve hot.

Plantain Balls


1 overripe plantain

2 tablespoons chopped Holiday “Ham”

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ cup (30g) medium breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes

1 tablespoon wheat germ

¼ teaspoon pink or sea salt

Large pinch of mild paprika


Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and grease a baking sheet.

Mash the plantain. Sir in the vegan ham, cinnamon, and cayenne. Separately, combine the breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, wheat germ, salt, and paprika and mix well. Put the bread crumb mixture on a plate.

Roll the plantain mixture into walnut-sized balls using a heaping teaspoon to portion out the mixture. Roll them in the breading to coat evenly, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown, turning once during the cooking process.

Curry Sauce


2 tablespoons vegan margarine

½ onion, minced

1 to 2 tablespoons mince celery

1 small bay leaf

1 tablespoon Madras curry powder

1 tablespoon fine cornmeal or corn flour

1/3 cup (80 ml) water

½ teaspoon pink or sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

1 ½ teaspoons fresh lime juice


Heat the margarine in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and bay leaf, turn the heat down to medium-low, and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent.

Add the curry powder, cornmeal, and water and whisk briskly. Stir in the salt and ginger, raise the heat to medium, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice.

Canoe Derby connected MN communities during early Aquatennial years

Canoe Derby connected MN communities during early Aquatennial years

The Mississippi River weaves its way from Bemidji to Minneapolis, covering 450 miles and connecting countless towns along the way. For a little more than two decades, it was also a celebrated path to Aquatennial that essentially kicked off and kept afloat the Best Days of Summer.

From 1940 through the early 1960s—with a few years missed in between—the Aquatennial Canoe Derby brought teams together to compete for prize money and Aquatennial bragging rights as they navigated the Mighty Mississippi with canoes below and paddles in hand.

Today, canoeing continues to be a part of typical Aquatennial celebrations. Wilderness Inquiry offers voyageur canoe rides in Loring Park and on the Mississippi River during typical Aquatennial years, and this year they are offering virtual video experiences highlighting Minneapolis canoe routes.

In Aquatennial’s early years, the Aquatennial Canoe Derby took on different lengths over the years, with the longest version stretching from Bemidji to Minneapolis and including 10 checkpoint stops at various Minnesota towns—many of which hosted celebrations for the canoers upon arrival.

After legs of the race that typically took 8-10 hours to complete, competitors embraced and welcomed the festivities.

“There would be overnight stops, and communities would put on a festival when they were there,” Hennepin History Museum’s Aquatennial Collection Volunteer Archivist Ken Hafften said. “They would stay overnight in church basements. Then the community would host whatever events they might have. Community goers really got involved.”

(Article continues below photo gallery. Photos of past Aquatennial Canoe Derbies are courtesy of Hennepin History Museum)

The first canoe race in 1940 had two installments—the main race that went from Bemidji to the Camden Bridge in Minneapolis, and then a sprint race from the Camden Bridge to the Franklin Bridge with a portage at St. Anthony Falls.

Over the years, variations of the race featured routes beginning at St. Cloud and Anoka before ending in Minneapolis.

Prizes ranged from $1,200 in 1940 to $13,000 for the winners in 1951. Participating teams varied from two dozen teams to as many as 50 in 1949.

That 1949 race featured the first female entrant in the derby, and it also was one of four races won by Gene Jensen and Tom Estes—a four-time championship duo that won in 1948, ’49, ’50 and ’60.

Entrants’ standard minimum age was 17 years old, and Hafften said most participating teams were from Minnesota. In its later years, Explorer Scouts made up the field of competitors.

The serene yet grueling path sometimes featured as many as 87 miles covered in a single day. While the Aquatennial Canoe Derby’s last race took place in the early 1960s, it was a big part of Aquatennial’s schedule in its early years.

To view more past and present Aquatennial content, visit

Announcement by the Mpls Aquatennial

Announcement by the Mpls Aquatennial

July 2, 2020

It is Aquatennial time, and we will miss seeing you in person this year. Our community continues to navigate the realities of COVID-19 and its impacts on public health. We will always prioritize community safety over celebrations. More importantly, Minneapolis is still reeling from the death of George Floyd. Our community has been deeply impacted by his tragic death and the unrest that followed. Simply said, it does not feel like it is time to celebrate. We want to take the time to honor our community and give space for the important work that needs to be done.

As our community begins to heal, we are encouraged by neighbors helping neighbors and the hope and spirit of Minneapolis at work. We are optimistic we will be in a better place to celebrate next year.

We invite you to follow along on social media July 22-25, as we share Aquatennial activities, content, and memories.

And, please mark your calendars for next year, when we look forward to celebrating Aquatennial, including the CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade and Target Fireworks, July 21–24, 2021.

Click here to view 2020 Aquatennial activities and content.