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Jamaican Rice and Peas (Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan)

An authentic Jamaican rice and peas (kidney beans) recipe made with creamy coconut milk, pimenton berries and scotch bonnet completes a Sunday dinner.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Jamaican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 285kcal
Author Charla


  • 1 cup red kidney beans peas
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves sliced
  • 2 scallions sliced
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups brown rice rinsed
  • 4-6 sprigs of thyme or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1 scotch bonnet optional
  • 1 tablespoon dairy free butter
  • a clump of creamed coconut optional coconut butter, manna see picture
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger
  • 6 pimento berries optional
  • 1-2 teaspoon himalayan pink salt or to taste
  • have ½ cup of water or coconut milk more on standby for step 9


  • Rinse off the kidney beans then soak them in the water overnight in a medium sized saucepan
  • Bring the peas to a boil along with the scallion, garlic, ginger, thyme and onion (you should be starting with 4 cups of water).
  • Half cover the pot, reduce the heat and simmer on low for 1 hour (check the readiness of the peas, use your fingers, they should be easy to crush/soft) if not simmer for a further 15 minutes. 
  • Once cooked discard the piece of ginger and thyme stems 
  • Check your water levels, there should be 1 ½ cups of water left in the saucepan, you should be able to see the peas. Even if you need to drain off the water to make sure you have the amount of water stated. Do it! **this is very important*
  • Add the scotch bonnet, dairy free butter, coconut milk, pink salt and rice to the pot.
  • I also add a clump of creamed coconut too.
  • Bring the pot to a boil then fold the rice in so everything is combined. 
  • Add ½ cup of coconut milk or water (if required)
  • Then cover the pot with saran wrap/foil (leaving a gap for air to escape then cover with the lid
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes (check and fold the rice nearer to the finish time. It should be soft and fluffy, if it still grainy add a splash of water and leave to simmer for another 5-10 minutes)
  • Discard the scotch bonnet, and pimento berries prior to serving


  • Is your rice mushy/ undercooked? Check out How to Fix Rice guide
  • The beans will need to soak overnight to soften and exude a dark hue - rinse the peas several times prior to soaking. Overall, this may seem challenging for a novice BUT it's really not that difficult once you master the ratio of water or dried goods. It took me a while to do so myself namely because the women in my family used white rice which you know is processed and has no place on my blog.
  • The colour of the rice will vary from light beige/dark brown this is normal
  • Make pigeon peas and rice by using an equal amount of pigeon peas instead of the red kidney beans.
  • Do not throw the bean soaking water away. That water is like liquid gold to your recipe, you need it for colour and it will prevent your rice and beans from looking so pale.
  • This recipe is strictly for BROWN RICE only NOT white rice.
  • Use coconut cream instead of coconut milk. There's is no substitute for coconut milk that will yield the same results. 
  • If brown rice is hard on your digestion, use sprouted grains! These are easily digested in the body and still provide that good-for-you fibre!
  • The whole scotch bonnet pepper is optional but authentic! The pepper lends a fruity without intense heat because the seeds and ribs are not exposed.


Calories: 285kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 396mg | Potassium: 341mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 111IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 3mg