This classic Caribbean style rice and pigeon peas recipe is so simple and satisfying, it’ll easily become one of your favorite rice dishes.

Rice and peas is usually made with red kidney beans, but they can be substituted with literally any bean. So, for this is the variation of the recipe I chose pigeon peas. This alternative is referred to as gungo rice and peas.

The rice is cooked in creamy coconut milk and the pigeon peas are soft and spiced from the allspice, thyme, and ginger. It’s really just a perfect combination.

Rice And Pigeon Peas Caribbean Style With Vegan Brown Stew Chicken, Steamed Cabbage, & Okra.

Dried or canned beans?

Above all, I always try to use dry beans over canned beans. Here’s why:

“Bisphenols are used in aluminum can linings to reduce corrosion. One bisphenol, BPA, has all the molecular characteristics of an obesogen, a term coined in 2006 to describe chemicals that potentially make us fatter. It enlarges fat cells, disrupts a protein that protects the heart called adiponectin, and functions as a synthetic estrogen. The latter means it can have sex-specific effects on growth and narrow the coronary arteries, increasing risk for coronary artery disease. Studies have shown you can reduce BPA levels by as much as two-thirds by avoiding canned foods – in just a few days’ time,” The Guardian.

For that reason I choose to steer far far away from canned foods. But I’m human too and I understand that sometimes there just is no time. That is to say, everything in moderation.

Rice And Peas
Rice And Peas

How do you cook dried beans?

Firstly, I put 1/4 cup of dried pigeon peas in a bowl and added water. Secondly, I let the beans soak for 8 hours. I returned to 1/2 cup of soaked pigeon peas and yellowish water.

At this point, I fill large pot with the beans and 2 cups of water. I cook the beans for about an hour, or until they’re soft. After that, I add the rice. If after you put your rice in the pot there is not enough liquid to just cover the rice, then add however much water is necessary.

Traditionally, this recipe calls for a scotch bonnet pepper but since I cannot find one where I am located I used a piece of a red chili pepper. I have also used a jalapeno before in this recipe and it works well too.

Rice Ans Pigeon Peas With Vegan Brown Stew Chicken
Rice Ans Pigeon Peas With Vegan Brown Stew Chicken

What do I eat rice and pigeon peas with?

My favorite thing to pair it with is brown stew chicken, but it works very well with jerk chicken and curry chicken. To sum it up, it’s a Jamaican staple, so be sure to serve with a classic Caribbean meat dish.

Rice And Peas

Jamaican Rice And Pigeon Peas Recipe

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This classic Caribbean style rice and pigeon pea recipe is so simple and satisfying, it'll easily become one of your favorite rice dishes.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Jamaican
Calories 378 kcal


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • cup rice
  • ½ cup pigeon peas
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • to taste tsp salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper or chili pepper


  • Add oil to a pot over low to medium heat.
  • Add onions, garlic, and ginger and cook until translucent.
  • Add thyme, black pepper, and allspice and cook for a few minutes until fragrant.
  • Add pigeon peas, coconut milk, water, and salt and bring to a boil.
  • Cook on low heat while covered for about 30 minutes.
  • Add washed rice and stir. At this point you can taste for any further seasonings.
  • Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Allow rice to sit off the stove for another 15 minutes.
  • Once cooled, use a fork to fluff up the rice and serve.


Calories: 378kcal
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