Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta

October 28, 2022
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

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This Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta is a one-skillet dinner with spicy jerk flavors and a rich, silky sauce without the meat.

Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta

Make a simple and comforting one-pot Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta for a weeknight dinner that comes enriched with spicy jerk flavors, bell peppers, and a thick, cheesy sauce----much like the traditional version. Dairy-free, Vegan, and Gluten-free options.

Creamy rasta pasta in a black skillet with a spoon.

I'm seriously excited about sharing this Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta because I'm always thrilled to share a bit of my roots and the comfort foods that I love most! And of course, pasta is definitely a yes---always, so this recipe in particular is a double win to me. Haha.

But more importantly, I'm always into creamy pasta and this rasta pasta is truly living up to that! It's super easy to make, only requires a handful of ingredients, comes with the right amount of spicy and cheesy flavors, and works for the entire family. Plus, you can add your favorite eat or seafood (if you're a meat eater)---like this Creamy Jamaican Shrimp Pasta Skillet and it's just as delicious warmed up as leftovers. This Plant-based Jamaican Oxtail Recipe is the best twist on classic oxtail and It's full of flavor and comfort and entirely meatless. 

So, these quick, easy meals come in real handy, especially on those days!

Of course, you can always search ‘weeknight meals‘ on our site for more deliciousness.

Jump to:

What is Rasta Pasta?

Basically, rasta pasta in the Jamaican culture is made from jerk seasoning, bell peppers, cream, and pasta. The colors from the dish originally reflected the colors of the Rastafarian culture: red, green, and yellow, which prompted someone to call it "rasta pasta".

However, today, most rasta pasta dishes now reflect the Jamaican flag colors: yellow pasta, blackened jerk chicken, green bell peppers, and fresh herbs (cilantro or parsley).

How to Make Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta

Start making this recipe by boiling your pasta. In the meantime, you make your creamy sauce by sautéing a few garlic cloves, and then adding in the seasoning, heavy cream, veggie stock, and white cooking wine.

Next, toss in your chopped peppers, finish things off with freshly-grated parmesan cheese, stir in the pasta, and wallah.

Ingredients on a black wood table.

Ingredients For Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta

This is a very simple rasta pasta recipe, but it does have TWO components: the creamy sauce and the pasta itself.


Here’s what you need to make this fast creamy rasta pasta dinner recipe:

  • Pasta. I like to keep things traditional with this rasta pasta by using penne. However, you can use your fave short-cut or long-cut pasta, including rigatoni, pappardelle, linguine, etc.
  • Extra virgin olive oil. Enhances the sauce's texture and adds a hint of fruity flavor.
  • Garlic cloves (minced). Imparts aromatic, savory notes to the sauce. I recommend fresh, but you could use ½ teaspoon granulated garlic.
  • Organic all-purpose flour. Acts as a thickening agent for the creamy sauce.
  • Sea salt + Black pepper. Enhances the overall seasoning of the dish.
  • Jerk seasoning. You can purchase a store-bought version or create a homemade blend using: onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, dried thyme, brown sugar, ground allspice, dried parsley, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cumin. See my homemade blend recipe!
  • Thyme. I like to add fresh thyme sprigs to this sauce. Imparts a fragrant herbal quality that's a hallmark of authentic jerk seasoning.
  • Scallions. This is an optional garnish.
  • Heavy cream. I recommend organic–always! For a dairy-free option, be sure to sub with full-fat coconut milk or cream.
  • White wine. Choose a dry wine that you like the taste of. You can also omit this and just use additional veggie stock.
  • Bell peppers. I like to use a mix of colors of bell peppers when convenient, however, you can use mini sweet peppers (all colors) and chop them medium-thin.
  • Parmesan cheese. You could also use pecorino romano or Mild Cheddar. This adds a bit of sharpness to the cheese sauce. If you like a stronger cheddar flavor, you can use sharp cheddar. For an even more mild flavor, use shredded Swiss cheese.
  • Veggie Stock. Helps to add extra flavor and creaminess. Use low-sodium store-bought or make your own.
Silver bowl being held full of bell peppers, garlic, thyme, and peppers.

Can I Use a Jerk Marinade Instead?

Absolutely! In jerk sauce or marinade, the 3 main ingredients that MUST be present are: scotch bonnet, thyme, and allspice (aka pimento seeds). You can't remove any of these ingredients or else it wouldn't be considered "jerk". To see the recipe for a jerk marinade, see my Baked Jamaican Pineapple Jerk Chicken.

Homemade Jerk Seasoning

To make your own jerk seasoning dry rub, you'll need to follow my Homemade Jerk Dry Rub Seasoning recipe using the following:

  • Onion Powder: Adds a savory and aromatic depth.
  • Garlic Powder: Provides a rich, savory note that complements the other spices and herbs in the blend.
  • Cayenne Pepper: Infuses a fiery heat.
  • Black Pepper: Adds a bold and sharp flavor.
  • Dried Thyme: Imparts a fragrant herbal quality that's a hallmark of authentic jerk seasoning.
  • Organic Brown Sugar: Balances the heat with a touch of sweetness.
  • Ground Allspice: Offers a warm and pungent flavor that's a key ingredient in jerk seasoning, providing depth and complexity.
  • Dried Parsley: Enhances the seasoning with a mild herbal freshness.
  • Smoked Paprika: Adds a smoky and slightly sweet note that elevates the overall taste.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: Intensify the heat!
  • Ground Cinnamon: Contributes a warm and sweet undertone.
  • Ground Nutmeg: Offers a hint of nutty sweetness.
  • Ground Cloves: Infuses a strong, aromatic, and slightly sweet taste into the blend.
  • Cumin Powder: Provides a subtle earthy note, adding depth to the overall flavor.

Why You'll Love this Rasta Pasta.

First and foremost, the flavors in this simple and creamy rasta pasta is enough to convince anyone, however, here are a few more reasons why you’ll love this pasta dinner:

  • It’s absolutely delicious—-creamy + velvety. I always try to ensure that my creamy pastas are just that----creamy! So, using cream-based ingredients like a high-quality heavy creamy and freshly-grated parmesan helps to achieve this best!
  • Super easy to make and quick! I literally love making the most delicious weeknight meals that don't take a ton of time and effort and this recipe is it! Plus, no crazy clean-up! Can we say–Everything in a pot and skillet?
  • Full of flavor + well seasoned! (The best reason). This by far is one of my biggest reasons for making this pasta. I enjoy adding spices + herbs to create a bold flavor profile that works with penne.
  • Perfect for any time of day—Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast (if that’s your thing), whatever! Most of all, this is my biggest plus! I love pasta during anytime of the day, especially whenever there are leftovers. The good thing is that this pasta reheats nicely once done over the stovetop---slow and warmed through.
Chopped veggies on a cutting board with a knife.

What Are Delicious Foods to Pair This Rasta Pasta With?

With most pasta dishes, I often enjoy them with a side of bread of some sort. Most times, I make my own homemade garlic bread, however, you can choose to spruce things up with many other options such as:

  • A delicious Salad
  • Sautéed Greens
  • Grilled Veggies
  • Toasted Bread

Topping Ideas for Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta

While I love this rasta pasta skillet dinner as-is, straight from the pan, you can dress it up with toppings if you like.

I usually keep things traditional with chopped bell peppers, but for extra spice, color and texture, you can try:

  • Chopped nuts, such as toasted hazelnuts or walnuts
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Sliced jalapeños or scotch bonnet for a bit of heat
  • Shredded vegan cheese
  • Herb roasted tomatoes 
  • Kale or spinach
  • Candied bacon
  • Black olives
  • Grated lemon zest --adds a zesty, citrusy twist that brightens up the dish.
  • More parmesan cheese
  • Toasted panko bread crumbs

If you discover a new favorite topping idea, be sure to let me know in the comments section below!

Cooked penne pasta in a coriander.


Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with this Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta. Everything from my fave baking sheet, parchment paper, food processor, high-powered blender, skillets, and more. SEE THEM HERE!

Adding Protein to this Creamy Rasta Pasta

If you'd like to add protein to this pasta dish, it's easy to do, regardless of your diet!

Plant-based protein options:

  • Crispy or canned chickpeas or beans
  • Crispy seared or baked tofu cubes
  • Crumbled stir-fried seitan
  • Crumble vegan bacon on top
  • Sautéed cauliflower florets or broccoli

Non-vegan protein options:

You can also check out Awesome Meat Substitutes to Try This Year if you're new to plant-based life and want to experiment!

Rasta pasta in a black skillet with spoon.

Make-Ahead Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta

If you're meal prepping, you can make a big batch of this creamy rasta pasta. Divide it between airtight containers and store in the fridge for up to four days. You can heat it up on the stove or in the microwave for a comforting lunch all week long.

Choosing Your Perfect Pasta

You can use any type of pasta that you like in this recipe. That is what makes this Creamy Rasta Pasta recipe so adaptable!

I love using penne because it does a beautiful job of embracing and holding onto the sauce and it's the most traditional pasta used in this dish. But any of these pasta varieties would work for this dish:

  • Pappardelle
  • Farfalle
  • Tagliatelle
  • Fettuccine
  • Falafel
  • Rigatoni
  • Paccheri
  • Orecchiette
  • Spirals
  • Shells
  • Ravioli or gnocchi would also go wonderfully with this sauce!

I would recommend tossing with tongs to ensure that longer varieties of pasta is fully manageable and fully coated. You can also use gluten-free pasta, whole-wheat pasta, or even zoodles for a low-carb option!

Pasta in a white low bowl with a drink and skillet full of pasta on the side.

What White Wine is Best in Pasta?

I tend to use a lot of white cooking wine, which is easiest for me. However, I do occasionally add quality white wine to my dishes and I recommend using a dry white wine.

A dry white wine will add the right amount of acidity rather than sweetness, which will better compliment your dish like this rasta pasta recipe. In general, any of the following dry white wines work great in this dish:

Pinot GrigioPinot GrisSauvignon BlancPinot Blanc, and dry sparkling wines.

Common Q + A's for this Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta

How do you store + reheat leftovers?

Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, it's best to do so over the stovetop in a skillet. You can add ½ cup of heavy cream or veggie stock to help make things creamy again!

Can I Make this rasta pasta dairy-free, vegan + gluten-free?

Absolutely! To make this sauce dairy-free and vegan, simply swap the heavy cream with full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream. And use your favorite dairy-free shredded cheese or nutritional yeast instead of parmesan. To make this dish GF, simply use Gluten-Free pasta and ensure that all other ingredients are GF-friendly.

Can I use any kind of pasta?

Yes! You can use any of your favorite short cut pasta like Rigatoni, Farfalle, or Orecchiette. Jumbo shells or long pastas like Pappardelle, Fettuccine, etc. work fine too. However, I would recommend tossing with tongs to ensure that pasta is fully manageable and fully coated. Otherwise, the traditional penne or rigatoni pasta works perfectly too!

Can I use different types of cheese in the sauce?

Of course! While Parmesan cheese is great, you can experiment with other cheeses like Gruyère, Pecorino Romano, or even a blend for unique flavors.

What Can I substitute for heavy cream if I want a lighter version?

You can use coconut milk or almond milk for a lighter, dairy-free option, or you can try Greek yogurt for a creamy texture with fewer calories.

How much jerk seasoning should I use in the sauce?

The amount of seasoning to use depends on personal taste preferences and the specific dish you are preparing. It is best to start with a small amount (1 Tbsp) and gradually adjust according to your desired flavor intensity (up to 2 Tbsps).

More Jamaican-inspired Dishes To Try!

Pasta in a low white bowl with a fork and drink on the side.


If you tried this Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you.

Pasta in a white bowl with fork, drink on the side, and peppers.
Creamy rasta pasta in a black skillet with a spoon.

Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta

October 28, 2022
5 from 11 votes
This Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta is a one-skillet dinner with spicy jerk flavors and a rich, silky sauce without the meat.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4 servings



  • 1 (16 oz.) package organic penne pasta (You can use your fave short-cut pasta; See Notes for GF option.)
  • 1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil


  • 1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium bell peppers, chopped (You can use an array of colors for a brighter look)
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 Tbsps organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1-2 Tbsps jerk seasoning, homemade or store-bought (Depending on how much jerk flavor you'd like.
  • 1 scotch bonnet papper or habanero (optional)
  • 1 ½ cups organic heavy cream (See FAQ for Vegan option!)
  • 1 ¼ cups organic vegetable stock/broth
  • 2 Tbsps white cooking wine, optional (You can sub with veggie stock)
  • 1 cup freshly-grated parmesan cheese (You can also use Mild or Sharp Cheddar!)



  • To begin, cook pasta according to packaging. NOTE: penne pasta doesn’t take a long time to cook, usually 8-10 minutes (however, you should cook at 6-8 minutes or so—‘al dente’).


  • In a large (12-inch) skillet, add the olive oil and minced garlic, sautéing until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the chopped bell peppers and scotch bonnet, sauteeing until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the salt, jerk seasoning, smoked paprika and flour, stirring everything together. Whisk in the heavy cream, veggie stock, and white cooking wine until everything thickens and becomes smooth with no lumps visible. Add the thyme sprigs.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 3-4 minutes until it thickens more and the peppers become more tender. Stir in the grated parmesan until it has melted and the sauce is even more creamy.
  • Add in the cooked pasta and stir until everything is well coated.
  • Remove from heat, discard the thyme sprigs, and serve immediately with your favorite meat (if not eating meatless) or on it's own with a garnish of chopped scallions.
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
  • SPICES/HERBS: If desired, you can reduce the amounts slightly. Please know that this recipe is bold in flavor, so feel free to adjust based on your tastebuds.


Calories: 515kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 123mg | Sodium: 1373mg | Potassium: 326mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 4411IU | Vitamin C: 78mg | Calcium: 300mg | Iron: 1mg


Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

Script text: Xx, Shanika

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Love this Recipe?

  1. Man the influence was influencing! I had other plans for dinner tonight, but this came up on my insta feed and it stopped me in my tracks. I looked at the ingredient list quickly and realized I had every single one and I was off to the kitchen. This came together so quickly and so easily and was DELICIOUS. I've never made rasta pasta before despite eating it all the time....abd will definitely be adding this to my rotation!!! Thank you so so much!!!

    • Hi Farial! WOW! This truly made my day! I'm so happy that you enjoyed this pasta as much as I do! It's definitely an easy throw together and reminds you of the restaurant version that we often enjoy! Thanks so much for giving it a try! 🙂

  2. There is hardly a single day when I don’t marvel at the consistency you bring to your work. The effort you put into everything you do makes me feel inspired. Keep doing such great work! You can also check Black Eyed Peas Recipe