Jamaican Lentils and Quinoa: A Twist on Jamaican Rice and Peas (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Quinoa is an ancient grain and is also one of the only complete plant-based sources of protein.  It’s also gluten free.  Thus, I’ve been trying to substitute quinoa for rice in as many things as I can think of — including in the Jamaican dish of rice and peas.  The green lentils act as a perfect substitute for gungo peas.  The following is an updated, high-protein version of a Jamaican classic.  It makes a great side dish.

1 scotch bonnet pepper (or haberno pepper), optional

½ cup green lentils

3 cups water

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

½ cup coconut milk

1 stalk green onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp Jamaican curry powder (or turmeric)

1 sprig of fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme

Black pepper, to taste (optional)

Salt, to taste

  1. Rinse lentils. In a medium saucepan, cook the lentils (according to package directions) in the water with the scotch bonnet pepper (if using.  You can cut it up if you want a spicier dish).
  2. When 15 minutes have elapsed and the lentils are still firm, add quinoa, coconut milk, green onion, garlic, and seasonings. Turn the heat to medium and let cook for another 15 minutes until lentils are fully cooked and water has been fully absorbed.
  3. Serve warm.

Note: You can substitute brown rice for the quinoa.  Cook the rice alongside the lentils (for a total for 30 – 40 minutes) instead of adding it half way through like we did with the quinoa.

On another note, I’m entering this recipe into the 2015 Canadian Lentils Recipe Revelation Challenge!  Yay!  Likes and repins of my recipe count as a portion of the total scoring, so please like it and repin it!  Here’s the direct link: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/214554369724083655/

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Is This What They Call a Pilaf? (Aka Tuesday’s Kitchen Adventure!)

I’ve never made a pilaf before, but if I did, I think this is what it would/should look like:


This was a spur of the moment recipe.  My nutritionist says I need more protein in my diet, especially since I’ve started weight/strength training.  Well, here you go. 🙂

I cooked some quinoa in vegetable stock and added some green beans and carrots.  But then, while cooking, I saw that I had added too much stock.  Dad had cooked and left me some rice and peas (“kidney beans”), so I just threw that in the pot in the hopes that the rice would absorb the excess stock.  Then I added some tamari sauce (San-J).   I baked Chipotle Lime Crispy Fingers from Gardein to complete the meal and “up” its protein content.

Jerk Nuggets and Rice and Peas

Another lunch idea I took to work…


I used brown rice and kidney beans and cooked them in coconut milk with herbs and spices (tumeric, garlic powder, onion, salt, a bit of sugar).  For the nuggets, I dipped the Gardein crispy tenders in Grace’s BBQ Jerk Sauce and then baked them.  Yummers!

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