Coconut milk, thyme, scallions, and scotch bonnet peppers give this Jamaican red beans and rice dish an island flair!
Jamaican Red Beans and Rice
When I vacationed in Jamaica years ago, I fell in love with their food and couldn’t wait to recreate my favorites at home. This easy Red Beans and Rice recipe is the perfect side dish for Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken, Slow Cooker Jerk Pork, or Jamaican Coconut Shrimp Stew. You can also enjoy this meal as a meatless entree with a simple avocado and tomato salad on the side. This Caribbean rice and beans dish is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free!
Rice and beans are a staple in most Latin and Caribbean countries because they are inexpensive and nutritious. Beans are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates. Some Latin recipes to try are arroz congri, or Cuban rice and black beans, and these Puerto Rican beans.
This Jamaican coconut rice is cooked in coconut milk and tastes slightly sweet. It is not spicy since the scotch bonnet pepper is cooked whole for added flavor and is discarded before the rice finishes cooking. Of course, if you want a spicy rice dish, you could chop the scotch bonnet and add it to the rice, but be warned – it will be hot!
You can easily halve the recipe to have fewer servings, but sometimes using half a can of coconut milk can be such a waste if you don’t have another use for it. So, I find it is easier to make the full recipe and save the rest for leftovers. You can refrigerate the rice and beans for up to three days or freeze it for up to three months.
How do you make red beans and rice from scratch?
- Start by sautéing the garlic, onion, scallion, and thyme for a few minutes.
- Add in the rice and beans followed by the coconut milk, water, salt, pepper, and whole scotch bonnet pepper.
- Stir ingredients, bring to a boil, and then remove the pepper from the pot.
- Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 25 minutes until almost the liquid is absorbed and just skims the top.
- Remove the pot from the heat and keep covered for 10 minutes. The steam will continue to cook the rice, so don’t take off the lid!
More Rice Dishes You’ll Love:
- Baked Rice and Peas
- Dirty Brown Rice with Shrimp
- Lentil and Rice Bowls with Eggs and Bacon
- Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice
- Spicy Shrimp Fried Rice
Jamaican Red Beans and Rice
- 1 tsp coconut oil or canola
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 1/4 cup onion minced
- 1 scallion chopped
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 15.5 oz can red kidney beans rinsed and drained
- 2 cups uncooked long grain rice
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 13.5 oz can 1 3/4 cups light coconut milk
- 1 whole scotch bonnet hot pepper not chopped
- In a medium heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; add garlic, scallion, onion and thyme.
- Sauté a few minutes, then add rice, beans and stir.
- Add the coconut milk, water, salt and fresh pepper and place the whole scotch bonnet pepper in the pot, stir to combine and bring to a boil.
- Remove and discard the hot pepper and continue to cook the rice until almost all the liquid is absorbed and just skims the top.
- Cover; reduce heat to low; simmer for 25 minutes.
- Remove from heat and keep covered for 10 additional minutes to allow the steam to finish cooking the rice (do not be tempted to lift the lid before that).
- Serve hot.