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Rice + Peas


In honour of one of Toronto most vibrant festivals of the year, Scotiabank Caribana Festival, this week is dedicated to the flavours and spirit of  the part of the world I love best, the Caribbean.

rice_peasI always found it a little confusing that rice and peas, a mainstay of the Jamaican diet is actually made with beans. There is no pea in sight. In St. Lucia they make rice and peas with lentils. If anyone can enlighten me on this, that would be much appreciated. To make it all a little more confusing, the British islands don’t actually call them beans at all but pulses. You following?

Peas (or beans or lentils or pulses) and rice is a go-to dish for most veggies or vegans. The combo of the whole grain with the bean makes for a complete protein, the dish is flavourful, satisfying and hearty. Once upon a time I was opposed to beans of any kind but loved the flavour of this rice and so at the end of my meal, I would have eaten every last grain of rice and have a big pile of beans left on my plate. Weird what kids do with food.

No more my friends. I have made peace with the peas. Sometimes I’ll even make this with a mixture of beans and lentils and leave the rice out altogether. Any combination is delicious. All I can say really on the subject of rice and peas is that it is not a Caribbean meal without them.

Rice and Peas

by Meghan Telpner

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40-45 minutes

Keywords: one-pot dinner entree lunch dairy-free gluten-free vegan vegetarian nut-free soy-free beans rice Caribbean Jamaican


Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • 2 cups cooked (or 1 organic can) red kidney beans
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cups of brown rice, soaked overnight
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • water
  • Scotch Bonnet Pepper (optional)


Rinse beans thoroughly if using canned. If cooking from dry, soak overnight and simmer in water for about 1 1/2 hrs until tender but not mushy.

Place beans in a pot and add coconut milk and enough water to make four cups of liquid.

Add in the onions, garlic, thyme and oil, bring to a boil.

Add rice and stir for a minute. Reduce heat to Medium-Low and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until rice is cooked. (If using the hot pepper, after you have stirred the rice, place pepper over top and allow to simmer. Remove pepper before serving.

Image courtesy of


8 responses to “Rice + Peas”

  1. organicashley says:

    ooo I will definitly be making this soon. It just looks nice, simple, and filling. yum perfect comfort meal. :)

  2. pdw says:

    Looks like originally pigeon peas or red peas were used for Caribbean rice and pea dishes.

    Technically, peas belong to the genus Pisum. Pisum would include:
    – green peas/garden peas/english peas
    – edible pod peas such as snow pea and snap pea
    – yellow peas
    – dals such as split yellow peas and split green peas

    But not:
    – chickpeas
    – pigeon peas
    – black eyed peas
    – sweet peas (not edible)

    Here’s a good link:


  3. Jennifer R. says:

    I think we’ll try this for dinner tomorrow night — looks awesome! We love rice and beans in our house!! Sometimes I sub the rice for quinoa… delicious too!

  4. Meghan Telpner says:

    That’s the answer I’m looking for. Thank Pam!

  5. Macy Scharfstein says:

    Maceo = Macy-oh!

  6. dakota says:

    Looks absoluetly delish! I love anything with peas. Quinoa is my favorite, but once in a blue moon will use jasmine rice along with diced red/orange/yellow peppers and fresh herbs. Good Luck with the renovation!

  7. BitterSweet says:

    One pot dishes like this are a big favorite over here. I love the idea of using coconut milk for the liquid!

  8. nyvette says:

    I really like Your
    recipes & I enjoy the
    good music, in our kitchen
    they often go hand in hand!

    ~ peace nyvette

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