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
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ cups uncooked brown rice see note
- One 15-ounce can light coconut milk
- 3 ½ 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 1 ½ teaspoons fresh leaves
- Generous pinch of curry powder
- Pinch of allspice optional
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 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.
- Add the rice, coconut milk, and 1 ½ 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.
- Stir in the beans, scallions, thyme, curry, and optional nutmeg. Cook for 5 minutes longer.
- Season with salt and pepper, and serve.
Per serving: Calories: 212; Total fat: 6g; Protein: 6 g; Fiber: 5.3 g; Carbs: 34g; Sodium: 22 mg