Recipe Index

Island Coconut Brown Rice & Peas

Serves 6

Time: About 45 minutes


This is the classic Jamaican dish rice and peas, peas meaning beans such as red kidney beans (which give a cute pinkish tint to white rice), black eyed peas or pigeon peas. It’s a familiar combination you’ll see all over the Caribbean and Latin American world, made a little faster with canned beans. And more wholesome made with brown rice, which compliments the hearty beans perfectly. If you do use homemade beans, adding a little reserved bean cooking liquid will add more color to the rice. While considered a side by some, it’s hearty enough for a whole meal paired with a simple salad, or serve it paired with any curry, West or East Indian.


For extra zip I like to stir a few whole allspice berries into the rice, just be sure to remove them before eating. As with the Jamaican Veggie Curry, I float a chile pepper in the rice during cooking to impart heat, but you can just mince half or less of a chile and fry it with the onion (see the curry recipe).

  • 4 cups (two 14 ounce can) cooked red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegan margarine
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 cups long grain brown rice
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • One 14 ounce can coconut milk, regular or light
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 6 spring fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 habañero chile pepper, unsliced and poked with the tip of a sharp knife 3 to 4 times

1. In a heavy 3 quart pot with a tight fitting lid saute onion, garlic and coconut oil over medium heat until onion is soft and golden, about 5 minutes. With a wooden spoon stir in rice and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until rice is toasted and just starting to turn golden.


3. Stir in water, coconut milk, thyme, allspice, sea salt, and black pepper. Increase the heat to high and bring mixture to a boil for 1 minute. Drop the habañero chile into the rice and stir a few times. Reduce heat to low and cover tightly. Cook for 50 to 55 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 10 minutes. Remove chiles and thyme spring, fluff the rice with a fork and serve hot.