– vegan – gluten free – oil free –
A deliciously popular rice dish in West African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Cameroon and Liberia. The recipe varies from country to country but the tomato and onion puree base is the same among them all. Though some use this dish as a side, in Nigeria, it is considered the main dish. And for good reason because it has everything you need – grains, vegetables and protein. Traditionally made with goat meat or beef, this variation is vegan-friendly, using black beans as a protein substitute. I like to serve Jollof rice with a side of fried plantains, another African staple.
More African-inspired plant-based recipes:
A large pot
See below for a breakdown of nutritional information and substitutions.
For this recipe, you will need:
- Tomatoes: like cucumbers, tomatoes have a high water content of 94%, making them a good food for hydration and regular bowel movements, but no the most nutritionally-dense. However, one medium red tomato still has 65% of your daily vitamin A, 33% of your daily vitamin C as well as a good source of a few other vitamins and minerals. Substitutions: any medium/large type tomato will work for this recipe.
- Red bell pepper: low in calories and composed mostly of water, yet just one medium bell pepper has about 160% of your daily vitamin A intake, over 200% of your vitamin C, 27% of your vitamin B6, 14% of your daily folate, 13% of your vitamin E, 2 grams of fiber and much more. Add bell peppers to your salad because vitamin C significantly increases the absorption of iron from leafy greens.
- White onion: lacks in nutrient density, but don’t take that to mean onions aren’t good for you. Like many vegetables in the allium family, onions contain sulfur compounds, a chemical already present in our bodies. Aside from leaving your eyes with a burning sensation, the sulfur compounds assist in protein synthesis and the building of cell structures. Although onions are good both cooked and raw, raw onions have higher levels of sulfur compounds. Substitutions: any type of onion will work.
- Scotch bonnet pepper: lacking in vitamins and minerals, but also lacking any sugar, fat and refined carbs. An active chemical compound called capsaicin is responsible for giving the pepper it’s spiciness. Capsaicin can boost metabolism by 4-5% per day, making it easier to lose weight. Substitutions: any hot pepper, like chile or habanero, will also work.
- Long grain white rice: just one cup has 4.6 grams of protein, 31% of your daily recommended manganese, 27% of your selenium, 26% of your vitamin B3, 19% of your vitamin B6, 12% of your copper, 11% of your vitamin B1 and 10% of your vitamin B5. Long grain rice is the better option for this dish as it’s less starchy and sticky.
- Vegetable broth (or stock): a great way to get phytochemicals, antioxidants, minerals and anti-inflammatory agents. Substitutions: water.
- Black beans: not only are black beans loaded with protein, they also contain a large variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as soluble and insoluble fiber – both which decrease your chance of chronic disease and keep you fuller for longer. Just one cup of black beans has 14 grams of protein, 18 grams of fiber, 60% of your daily recommended folate, 37% of your vitamin B1, 50% of your manganese, 40% of your copper, 28% of your omega-3, 29% of your magnesium, 22% of your zinc and much, much more. Substitutions: any type of canned bean will work for this recipe.
- Curry powder: a mix of Indian spices. Since it is used in such small quantity, there is really no vitamins or minerals, but it is said that curry powder is an anti-inflammatory and can improve heart health and blood sugar levels.
- Garlic powder: like other members of the allium family, garlic contains sulfur compounds (sulfites) that assist with protein synthesis and the building of cell structures. Substitutions: you can replace 1 tsp of garlic powder with 2 garlic cloves or 1 tbsp of minced garlic.
- Onion powder: contains only trace amounts of vitamins and minerals.
- Chili powder: the best way to add a kick to your food. With 6 different types of antioxidants, chili powder is another great food used for protecting against free radical damage. Although lacking many nutrients, 1 tsp of chili powder contains 34% of your daily recommended vitamin A. Substitutions: cayenne pepper.
- Ground ginger: has great anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. Adding spices to your meals is a simple way to prevent the risk of heart disease and lower blood sugar levels.
- Bay leaves: proven to treat migraines and are often used in holistic healthcare. They are an aromatic leaf, but are not meant to be eaten. Don’t forget to remove them before serving.
- Sea salt: a natural alternative to table salt, which is more heavily processed and contains additives.