Jamaican Red Beans and Rice

Easy Jamaican Rice and Peas

This is an easy version of a traditional Jamaican dish that is often simply referred to as “rice and peas” (though the “peas” are actually small red beans). I first learned to make this the authentic way from a Jamaican friend — cooking the beans from scratch and cracking open and grating a whole coconut. Coconut milk and canned beans are good shortcuts! This dish is traditionally served with sautéed plantains, a starchy, banana-like fruit. Try them if you’re feeling adventurous. You can also serve with Banana Fritters, another adaptation of a traditional Jamaican recipe. Photos by Evan Atlas.

Jamaican Red Beans and Rice
Recipe type: Grain and bean main dish
Cuisine: Jamaican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8
This is a version of a traditional Jamaican favorite, there simply called “rice and peas” (though the “peas” are actually small red beans). I
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups uncooked brown rice (see note)
  • One 15-ounce can light coconut milk
  • 3½ to 4 cups cooked small red beans (or two 15- to 16-ounce cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 4 to 5 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme (or 1½ teaspoons fresh leaves)
  • Generous pinch of curry powder
  • Pinch of allspice, optional
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a small soup pot or steep-sided stir-fry pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
  2. Add the rice, coconut milk, and 1½ cups water. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. The mixture should be moist but not liquidy.
  3. Stir in the beans, scallions, thyme, curry, and optional nutmeg. Cook for 5 minutes longer.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.


Nutrition information
Per serving: Calories: 212;  Total fat: 6g;  Protein: 6 g;  Fiber: 5.3 g;  Carbs: 34g; Sodium: 22 mg

Jamaican Rice and Peas

Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe

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