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Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas

This Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas is the most comforting, flavorful dish you'll eat especially during the cooler months. Made with red kidney beans, full-fat coconut milk, carrots, bell peppers, scotch bonnet peppers, and seasonings + herbs; this recipe is hearty and jam-packed.

Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas

Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas --- a recipe that pays great homage to the traditional, well-known Jamaican dish---Stew Peas. Made with red kidney beans, full-fat coconut milk base, handmade "spinners" aka dumplings, bell peppers, carrots, and seasoned with traditional Jamaican spices, this bowl of goodness is completely creamy and savory. A kick of heat for those who enjoy a bit of spiciness---thanks to traditional scotch bonnet peppers and is best served with white rice or alone as a soup/stew. Entirely Vegan + Gluten-free.

Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links via Amazon for products that I wholeheartedly love.

Jamaican Stew Peas is a staple in the Jamaican culture and one that I remember eating a lot growing up. Traditionally, stew peas is made with pig's feet and beef chunks, which makes for the perfect combo of saltiness and savory. 

While I've had my fair share of delicious stew peas, I definitely wanted to share this vegan version that I've been enjoying lately. 

Although I still enjoy traditional Jamaican dishes like this Stew Chicken or Curry Chicken, I really love creating meatless and/or vegan versions of some of my favorite eats. 

This particular recipe is really rich and hearty and comes jam-packed with a ton of flavor from the red kidney beans, carrots, garlic, onions, bell peppers, coconut cream/milk, and a host of herbs + seasonings.

But most of all, you can't have stew peas without the 'spinners' (aka dumplings) which is just a skinny version of regular dumplings. They actually make for the perfect bite and are easy to enjoy. With this dish, you can totally enjoy it as a soup (just don't thicken it at the end) or atop nicely steamed white rice-----I like to use Jasmine rice or Basmati rice for a healthier option.

How to Make Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas

An easy weeknight or weekend meal that comes together easily over the stove top and a few short steps. This is a rich and hearty recipe that takes just 30 minutes to whip together. You’ll start by sautéing your garlic and onions before adding in the carrots, bell peppers, herbs + seasonings, coconut milk and veggie stock. Then finish everything off with homemade 'spinners' (aka dumplings) and let is simmer until fully cooked and thickened.

Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas

INGREDIENTS

To make the stew peas, you’ll need:

  • Scotch bonnet peppers. These pack some heat, so if you’re sensitive to spice, you can use habaneros instead. 
  • Carrots. For a hint of sweetness, flavor, color, and nutrition.
  • Red onion. In a pinch, a yellow onion or shallots will work. 
  • Garlic and scallions. Don’t skimp on these!
  • Thyme. I recommend fresh, but if you only have dried, use a half teaspoon. 
  • Spices. The other seasonings in this dish come from salt, black pepper, dried parsley, smoked paprika, dried thyme, allspice.
  • Olive oil. I prefer the organic Extra virgin olive oil. You can also use grapeseed or coconut oil.
  • Vegetable stock. I use low-sodium stock from Pacific Foods.
  • Bell peppers. You can use regular sized bell peppers, chopped small or mini sweet peppers.
  • Kidney beans – Can help reduce blood sugar levels. You can use dried beans or canned.
  • Pimento seeds – These look like "black peppercorn", but are also known as allspice, pimento berries, etc. Adds additional flavor.
  • Arrowroot – If you don’t have arrowroot starch, feel free to substitute with all-purpose flour, regular starch, or tapioca flour, which all act as a thickening agent.

My Jamaican Background: Food + Culture.

Growing up around Jamaicans meant that you would enjoy Stew Peas, Curried Goat (My Fave!), Goat Soup, Salt fish + Ackee, and so many other flavorful dishes pretty often.

Originally, I made this recipe in 2018, which was great, however, since bettering my cooking skills (I'm self-taught so it's been a learning curve), I've decided to re-attempt this recipe and a few others recently and I must say that I've DONE IT!

Making minor tweaks, I've re-created this recipe into a much creamier, savory, and flavorful dish and I do hope that many of you enjoy this! Plus, the spicy flavor is more pronounced.

I must admit that this blog has come such a long way from when I started and in such a short period of time (although it felt like FOREVER in real life. Haha!). So of course, I have to ensure that I create even bigger goals so that the challenge remains!

However, I've been thinking a lot about this journey and realized that sometimes I've been so focused on getting to the next step that I haven't turned around to see how many steps I've actually climbed in the process.

Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas

JAMAICAN DUMPLINGS

One of the major components of Jamaican stew peas is bulked up with tender and fluffy dumplings called 'spinners'. They’re made from:

  • Flour. I use organic all-purpose from Bob’s Red Mill. 
  • Sea salt + a pinch of black pepper
  • Water. Start with ½ cup, but don't use it all at once until you bring your dumplings together. 

The spinners are super easy to make and just use three ingredients. The one key is to not add all of your water at once. This will make a too-wet dough that will fall apart when you cook them. Making spinners is also a fun task for little ones to help with if you have kids in the kitchen. 

Best Tips for This Creamy Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas

Whipping together a creamy soup/stew isn’t hard at all, however, it can be tricky when trying to figure out the right ingredients to use for both the perfect flavor + texture. This stew peas is no exception. Therefore, I’ve rounded up a few tips + recommendations to help with understanding how to best make this stew peas, serve it, and everything in between:

  • Don't skimp on the kidney beans. Feel free to use dried beans (pre-cooked first) or canned beans, where I suggest using 2 cans.
  • Season, season, season. The bold flavor comes from the herbs + seasonings.
  • Always use a cream-based milk. If using the canned coconut milk instead of canned coconut cream, be sure to refrigerate overnight to make it thick.
  • Let it simmer until creamy, thickened, and veggies are tender.

Best Ingredients to Thicken Stew Peas.

When it comes to thickening your vegan soups/stews in general, it can be done in various ways. Many recipes use yogurt, arrowroot starch, potatoes, or other starches. However, I chose to use coconut cream which adds a nice texture. You can use canned coconut milk as well, however, you would need to refrigerate it for 24 hours so that it thickens and becomes cream-like as well.

If you like a thick stew, you can add a thickening agent to the sauce. Use 1-1 ½ tablespoons at a time mixed with 2 tablespoons of water to dilute. Then pour the mixture into the sauce, simmering for an additional few minutes to activate the thickener. 

Some thickening agents you can use are:

  • Cornstarch (GF)
  • Arrowroot starch (GF)
  • Potato starch (GF)
  • All-purpose flour
  • Tapioca flour

Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas

How to Store Leftover Stew Peas.

With leftovers, you can always refrigerate the remaining amounts in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, for optimal freshness. Can also be frozen for 4-6 months. To defrost, simply place stew peas in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature before re-heating on the stove top to serve.

What Do I Serve Stew Peas With?

Much like the original dish, this Vegan Stew Peas dish can be served with white rice (I like to use Jasmine rice), brown rice, or basmati rice. However, if you're not in the mood for any rice at all, feel free to eat this by itself as a soup, especially since there are dumplings and veggies included---just don't thicken things at the end.

Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas

Why You’ll Love This Vegan Stew Peas

Here are just a few reasons that you’ll be making this hearty Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas on repeat:

  • It’s full of flavor, thanks to the herbs, spices and veggies
  • It offers essential vitamins and minerals, plus protein and fiber
  • You can make it ahead of time (it’s even better the next day)
  • It’s fully kid-approved for a family meal!
  • Truly hearty, warm, and comforting, especially for those cooler months!

How to Make this Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas Gluten-Free?

To make this stew peas gluten-free, simply substitute the flour for the dumplings with GF-friendly flour. Also, ensure that the coconut milk/cream is GF-friendly.

Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas

Original Stew Peas Dish

As for this dish----Stew Peas is a great staple in the Jamaican culture. In addition, this dish has a counterpart----Stew Peas soup, which is very similar but of course, is served with additional veggies (potatoes, pumpkin, etc.) and isn't eaten with white rice like this dish. I thoroughly enjoy the soup version as well since I love soup.

Traditionally, this dish is cooked with salted beef or pigtails, but since it's a Vegan version, I chose to add a bit of sweetness----sweet potatoes and an additional veggies---green bell peppers and onions to keep things hearty.

Believe me, you won't miss the meat one bit. Yum!

SHOP MY FAVORITE TOOLS FOR COOKING, ESPECIALLY FOR THIS STEW PEAS!

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 Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas. Everything from my fave wooden spoons, dutch ovens, and more. SEE THEM HERE!

Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas

More Delicious Jamaican Recipes

MADE OUR RECIPE?

If you make these Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas, be sure to Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea!

Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas

Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas

5 from 6 votes
This Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas is the most comforting, flavorful dish you'll eat especially during the cooler months. Made with red kidney beans, full-fat coconut milk, carrots, bell peppers, scotch bonnet peppers, and seasonings + herbs; this recipe is hearty and jam-packed.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Serves: 4 servings

Ingredients

STEW PEAS:

  • 2 (15 oz.) cans organic red kidney beans, drained + rinsed (See Notes for Dried Beans option!)
  • 1-2 Tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil (See Notes)
  • 4 cups organic vegetable stock
  • 1 (14 oz.) can full-fat coconut cream/milk
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped (You can also use a handful of mini sweet peppers as well)
  • 2 carrots, peeled + chopped
  • 3-4 scotch bonnet peppers (You can also use habanero peppers if those are available)
  • 2 stalks of scallion (aka 'green onions')
  • handful thyme sprigs
  • 1-2 Tbsps pimento seeds, optional
  • 1-2 tsps sea salt (I increase the amount of salt since there is an absence of actual pork. Feel free to use as much/little as you'd like)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 ½ Tbsps Arrowroot + 4 Tbsps WARM water (Thickening agent; See Notes!)
  • hot pepper sauce, optional

JAMAICAN "SPINNERS" (DUMPLINGS):

  • 1 cup organic all-purpose flour (See Notes for GF version)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • ½ cup COLD water, if needed!

OPTIONAL GARNISH:

  • Chopped scallion (aka 'green onions')

Instructions

TO MAKE THE STEW PEAS:

  • In a deep skillet or 5 qt. dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and once fully heated, add the minced garlic and onions, sautéing until translucent and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the chopped carrots and bell peppers followed by: the salt, black pepper, parsley, thyme, smoked paprika, allspice, and pimento seeds and stir together until combined and veggies are coated with seasoning.
  • Next, add the beans, veggie stock, and coconut cream/milk, stirring everything together and bringing it all to a boil. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and let everything simmer for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, make your dumplings.

MAKE THE JAMAICAN "SPINNERS" (DUMPLINGS):

  • Start by adding the flour, salt, and black pepper to a bowl and whisk everything together. Slowly add the cold water and gently knead together until a stiff dough is formed. NOTE: Do NOT ADD ALL THE WATER AT ONCE; DON'T MAKE THE DOUGH TOO MOIST!
  • Pinch off a small pieces of dough and gently roll dough into the palms of both of your hands together until a long, round-like dumpling is formed. Repeat until all dumplings are made.
  • Add in the made dumplings and stir to incorporate.
  • Finally, add in the thyme sprigs, scotch bonnet (slitting them in the sides), and scallion (crushing them a bit with your hands to release the flavors), and stir again to incorporate.
  • Let the stew continue to simmer for another 10 minutes and if it's not thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, add the thickener. NOTE: To thicken, add the arrowroot and WARM water to a small bowl, mixing it together until it's smooth and "milk-like". Add it to the stew while stirring frequently until it begins to thicken. Continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Once the veggies and dumplings are fully cooked and tender, you're good to go!
  • Remove from heat, discard of thyme and scallion, and serve immediately into prepared bowl(s) and enjoy with a side of white rice (I like to use jasmine rice) and garnish with chopped scallion, if desired.
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Leftovers can be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, for optimal freshness. Can also be frozen for 4-6 months. To defrost, simply place stew in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature before re-heating on the stove top to serve.
  • DRIED KIDNEY BEANS: When using dried beans, be sure to soak about 3-4 cups of red kidney beans in a pot or bowl covered with water overnight. To begin cooking, rinse the soaked beans and add fresh water to a pot along with beans. Boil for the first 10 minutes and then reduce the heat and let simmer for 50-60 minutes or until kidney beans are tender.
  • ARROWROOT: If you don’t have arrowroot starch, feel free to substitute with all-purpose flour, regular starch, or tapioca flour, which all act as a thickening agent.
  • COCONUT MILK: Makes things nice + creamy; If using the canned coconut milk instead of canned coconut cream, be sure to refrigerate overnight to make it thick.
  • GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: To make this stew peas gluten-free, simply substitute the flour for the dumplings with GF-friendly flour. Also, ensure that the coconut milk/cream is GF-friendly.

DID YOU MAKE THIS recipe?

Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

 

Vegan Jamaican Stew Peas.

ORCHIDS + SWEET TEA

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  1. Hi ! Just found you on instagram and i love how your recipes are simplified abd use everyday ingredients. Thank you for the substitutions as well.
    I love stew peas but was wondering if you could tell me how to incorporate the salted beef or any meat to this dish please? Thank you .

    • Hi Cheryl! I am so happy to have you here! Awww, absolutely----I'm so glad that you love the way that I do my recipes! As for incorporating meat, I definitely recommend trying out the following linked recipe. I've seen my parents pressure cook the meat first and then adding it in once you've made the gravy and beans simmer a bit. At that point, you just let everything simmer and cook through and get tender. 🙂

      Recipe: https://chinese-jamaicangirl.com/jamaican-stew-peas/

  2. Hi, I saw that you missed a few important ingredients and steps. There were carrots to the instructions but not in the ingredients also there is no instruction as to when to add the beans. Thanks.
    Janet

    • Hi Janet! Thanks so much for pointing that out! I've ensured that those are now added! 🙂

  3. 2018 certainly was a tough year of lessons and learning! I am looking forward to what 2019 will bring. This stew looks incredible, I love hearty stews like this, and the flavors sound so delish. Perfect comfort food!

  4. A really delicious bowl of tasty ingredients. Perfect for a winter warmer and so easy to make ahead of time. Always helpful with these busy weeks in December.

    And yes, it is really important to look back at your year and see what you have done. It's not all about what we haven't done. Lovely idea.

    • I so agree, Helen! It definitely is important to see what you've done. We just have a habit of always looking at the opposite!

  5. That sounds so very tasty, I am loving all of the flavours in this particularly that punch of chili... Love it!

  6. What GREAT advice. I'm totally the same way - I think only forward and about what I HAVEN'T done instead of appreciating all that I've already DONE. Great reminder. And delicious looking stew!! Here's to a great 2019!