Ital stew peas is a vegan recipe made with red kidney beans, vegetables cooked in coconut milk. This well-flavoured savoury dish (with a hit of sweetness from the coconut) makes the perfect high protein dinner for any vegan.
Ital Stew Peas Is Vegan
So what is Ital anyway?
Ital is the term used by the Rastafarians of Jamaican to describe their food, which is meatless and cooked with very little salt.
Ital is vegan, and so is the stew peas recipe shared below.
I used a bit more salt than if a Rastafarian was cooking this vegan stew peas because not everyone is used to eating saltless meals.
Stew peas is red kidney beans cooked in well-seasoned coconut milk.
The most popular way to cook stew peas is with meat. But if you eliminate the meat you get the perfect vegan stew peas.
The coconut milk carries vegan stew peas, so it is better to use fresh coconut milk. Fresh coconut milk tastes much better than tinned ones and that extra flavour makes the stew pops.
Don’t just take my word for it, give it a try.
What You need To Make Ital Stew Peas Vegan
- Red kidney bean: Use dry kidney beans, as the dish will turn out better. I pressure cook the beans to soften them. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, it will take more time to cook the beans. Soaking the beans overnight will help to cook the beans more quicker.
- Fresh coconut milk: Trust me when I say fresh coconut milk is best for this stew peas dish. You’re cooking a bean stew, so you want to add the best ingredients to taste great. Fresh coconut milk is best, as it has that fresh, sweet taste tin coconut doesn’t have. With that said, you can use tin coconut milk if that works for you.
- Red onion: You don’t have to use red onion, but in my mind, pairing red onion with red kidney beans is better.
- Vegetable stock: My grandmother would use Grace Soup Mix but substitute it for vegetable stock whiles still keeping the rich traditional flavour.
- Jamaican flavour: Pimento (allspice), thyme, scallion and scotch bonnet pepper are ingredients that go in every Jamaican stew, so they are a must.
- Plain flour: To make the small dumplings called spinners that go into this dish
What Are Spinners
Snippers are the small dumplings that are in the dish. There are made from plain flour mixed with water.
Add water a little at a time to the plain flour and knead to form a soft dough. The dough shouldn’t be sticky. Take small pieces of the dough and roll them in the palm of your hands to make the spinners.
For some people, plain flour mixed with has no taste. If that you, add a pinch of salt when making the dumpling dough. I don’t do this because the flavour from the stew is enough for me.
How To Cook Vegan Stew Peas
- Prepare the coconut milk: If using fresh coconut milk, prepare it first. Blend the coconut with a cup of water, juice the blended mixture and set aside the coconut milk.
- Cook the beans: Give the beans a thorough wash, then add them to the pressure cooker with water and pimento (allspice). Cover the pressure cooker and pressure for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Make your spinners: Whiles the beans pressure, use that to make spinners.
- Soft beans: After 10 to 15 minutes, the beans should be soft enough to crush between your fingers.
- Season the pot: Add the coconut milk, garlic, onion, thyme, scallion, carrot, scotch bonnet pepper, salt and vegetable stock. Cover a bring to a boil.
- Taste test: Now is the time to taste your cooking to see if it’s seasoned to your liken.
- Add the spinners: Roll the dumpling dough in the palm of your hand to make the small spinners and add them to the pot. The dumplings will help to thicken up the sauce.
- Serve: Once the stew peas finish cooking, remove the scotch bonnet pepper, the thyme stems before serving.
Cook Without Stew Peas A Pressure Cooker
Two tins of beans will work for this recipe. Add them to a pot, the coconut milk and the rest of the seasons. At the same time, add the spinner, cover and cook until the sauce reduces and thickens.
If you wish to use dry beans, wash and soak the beans overnight. Soaking the beans overnight starts to soften them, which will reduce the time needed to cook them.
When cooking the beans, you will need more water than the recipe below suggests. Add about 4 cups of water, pimento and the beans to a pot and cook on high heat until the beans are soft. Once the beans are cooked, follow the rest of the instructions below.
What To Serve Ital Stew Peas It With
The only thing Jamaican serve with vegan stew peas is plain rice. Since so much is going on in the ital vegan stew peas, a simple side dish goes well.
Try it will my coconut rice.
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Ital Stew Peas Vegan Recipe
- 1 Cup (177 g) Kidney beans
- 1 ½ Cup (354.88 ml) Fresh coconut milk
- 1.9 oz (53.86 g) Chopped red onion chopped
- 1.2 oz (34.02 g) Chopped scallion chopped
- 6.6 oz (187.11 g) Diced carrots diced
- 3 Garlic cloves crushed
- 5 Pimento berries (allspice)
- 3 Sprig of thyme
- 1 Scotch bonnet pepper Do not cut or burst
- Salt to taste
- Vegetable stock to taste
- ½ Cup (62.5 g) Plain flour
- In a small bowl, add the flour and salt (if you're using salt).
- Add water a little at a time and knead to form a firm dough.
- Separate into very small pieces, roll in the palm to make the dumplings.
How to make the stew peas
- Wash the beans with cold water. (If you are not using a pressure cooker, make sure to soak the beans overnight)
- Add the beans to a pressure cooker along with 3 ½ cups of water, the pimento berries (allspice), ½ teaspoon of salt. Close the pressure cooker and pressure the beans for about 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, make sure the pressure cooker cool before removing the lib. Check the beans to make sure they are soft enough to crush between your fingers.
- Place the pot back on the stove on medium heat. Season the pot with the coconut milk, garlic, onion, thyme, scallion, carrot, scotch bonnet pepper, ½ tsp salt and vegetable stock. (You may need to add another ½ cup of water)
- Cover and bring to a boil. At this point, taste if you need more salt.
- Add the spinners. Cover and cook on medium to low heat until the liquid reduces and the sauce thickens.
- Remove the scotch bonnet pepper and thyme stems. Serve with your side of choice.
- If you don’t have a pressure cooker, soak the beans overnight before cooking it. Cooking time may take 30 minutes or more to soften the beans.
- You can use tin coconut milk instead of freshly made. One tin of coconut milk is enough for this recipe.
- I wouldn’t recommend using tin kidney beans because it doesn’t give the dish the “thickness” that stew peas should have. But you can use it if time is of the essence.
- Don’t not cut or bust the scotch bonnet pepper, unless you want a very spicy stew peas.