Vegan comfort: Caribbean pumpkin rice

This recipe is full of flavourful spices to give the dish a mild kick and a warm scented aroma, and its authentic, rich colour comes from adding pumpkin. All in all, it’s an exciting way to spice up your rice! The recipe is straight from Jamaica, where we had it for the first time in our family’s homes and also on street-food stalls. The pumpkin season is short, so you can use butternut squash as an alternative. Why not try it with some tasty roasted veg skewers or curry chicken? The flavours will give you that Caribbean spicy feeling.

Pumpkin Rice

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground pimento or allspice
handful of fresh thyme sprigs
500g pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced
250ml water
250ml vegetable stock
250ml coconut milk
1 scotch bonnet pepper
400g long-grain or basmati rice


Add the oil to a large pot on a high heat then add the onions and garlic. Cook down over a medium heat for 5-7 minutes until soft.

Season with the salt, pepper, pimento and thyme, then add the diced pumpkin or squash and mix together. Add the water, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the stock and coconut milk, along with the scotch bonnet.

Rinse the rice well in cold water, then add to the pot. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the rice is cooked. Season to taste and serve.


Extracted from Original Flava by Craig McAnuff and Shaun McAnuff (Bloomsbury Publishing, approx €24). Photography © Matt Russell.



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