Since I’ve become an “adult” (although I’m not exactly sure at what point I made the jump), I have realized that everyone needs a go-to staples recipe. What I mean by this is that you need a recipe that you can pull out of your back pocket (and your pantry) when you need to make something for dinner a little fancier than a peanut butter sandwich. Some people may go for spaghetti out of a can, I go for Jamaican rice and peas.
I originally got this recipe out of a magazine when I was in college, so almost 10 years ago (eek, I am an adult). I don’t remember what magazine and I long since lost the page where I tore it out, but I’ve made it so many times now I have it committed to memory. I’ve embellished on it a little over the years, increasing the spices to better suit my tastes, so I kinda feel like its my own anyways.
At almost any given time, I can find all of the ingredients for this dish in my pantry. The “peas” in this dish are actually kidney beans. I used regular ones this time because that’s what I had in my cabinet, but normally I use the dark red kind (the extra firmness tastes better, trust me). I also normally use light coconut milk, but Whole Foods only had the full fat version that last time I went staple shopping. It actually makes for a richer, creamier dish when you use the regular coconut milk, but you have to add a lot more water to get the rice tender. You can also sub in dried thyme if you don’t have the fresh.
So here’s a simple, naturally gluten free and vegan meal you can can whip up in about 30 minutes, while only dirtying one pan! Can’t beat that!
Jamaican Rice & Peas
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup water (if using regular coconut milk, you’ll need to up this to at least 3/4 cup)
1 cup jasmine rice
1 tsp allspice
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried
2 tsp kosher salt
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
In a saucepan, combine coconut milk, rice, water, allspice, garlic, thyme and salt. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a slight boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until rice is tender. If the liquid cooks out before the rice is soft, add more water and continue cooking.
Remove thyme stems and crushed garlic from dish and discard. Stir in kidney beans and heat until warmed, 2-4 minutes.
I usually add a little more salt to mine before serving, I think it balances out the sweetness of the coconut. For me, this and a little sautéed spinach can be a meal in itself, but it would also go great as a side dish for jerk chicken or pork chops, for you meat eaters out there.