Eat-All-Week Caribbean Rice & Peas

Vegan Caribbean Rice and Peas (Coconut)

I can eat this by the bucketload. Rice and Peas is a traditional dish in countless regions, but most people tend to think of the gorgeous Caribbean islands where it is a staple food and routinely served up as a side dish to pretty much anything and it is always, always served on a Sunday! The rice is any long-grain white rice (I tend to use basmati just because I use it all the time) and is cooked in a combination of stock water and coconut milk. The ‘peas’ in the name refer to legumes or beans – the type depends on the region, but kidney beans is definitely one of the most popular and easiest to come by. Here I’ve used a can of mixed beans because that’s what I had. I also added corn, peppers and coriander because I love ’em all and they look like buried treasure peeking out of the sand.

I took a more tongue-in-cheek approach to this dish a few years back with my Caribbean Biryani (which is also delicious) but this one stays pretty true to its simple, sweet and sunny roots. This makes about four big bowlfuls, which I will happily eat for lunch – slightly warmed up, with nothing added – for several days. If you don’t want so much just halve it and see how you go. This is a perfect accidentally vegan lunch; utterly gorgeous and nutritionally speaking it’s a corker – the combination of grains and legumes providing a complete source of protein, if this interests you.

Please take extra care when storing rice-based food. Cool it as quickly as possible after cooking (I spread it in a thin layer over a large baking sheet) and transfer to the fridge within about half an hour. Rice should never be left at room temperature for long periods of time and must not be reheated more than once (so only reheat one portion at a time).

There are no how-to pictures with this recipe – it seems a bit silly when all you’re doing is cooking rice and some veggies! I hope you’ll enjoy x

Makes about four large bowls.

250g white long grain rice
350ml vegetable stock water
150ml coconut milk (full fat, don’t mess about)
1 tin of kidney beans or mixed beans, drained and rinsed
1 red pepper, diced (or use 100g frozen sliced peppers)
75g sweetcorn
1/4 tsp sea salt
Fat pinch of chilli flakes

Optional: 3 finely chopped spring onions and a some fresh chopped coriander to finish

To Make:

Place all the ingredients (except for the coriander, if using) in a large deep saucepan. Bring to the boil, give it a stir and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Partially cover with a lid and simmer for around 20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. If you’ve been a bit over zealous with the boiling and all the liquid has been absorbed but the rice isn’t cooked, just add a little more hot water and carry on.

When you’re happy it is cooked, remove from the heat and clamp the lid on. Let it sit for ten minutes then either serve immediately or cool it down quickly and store in the fridge (see notes on cooling and reheating above).

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