Updated: May 9
'A ital food dis, mi jus chop up some vegetables and put dem inna di pot wid some herbs and let it simmer'
- Bobo Tafa
when most people think about Jamaican cooking meat is usually the first thing that springs to mind, but in rastafari culture unity with nature is very important. ital food is a natural way of cooking that avoids processed food, additives, oil, salt and sugar. This is my go to meal when I want something quick, filling and simple and the first vegan recipe I usually share with non-vegan friends. I love to use butterbeans and spinach, but you can play around with your favourite veggies and beans for your own twist (or just bung in whatever’s in the fridge...)
hope you enjoy!
1 tsp oil (i use grapeseed)
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 small cube ginger, grated
1 spring onion, sliced
2 tbsp. Jamaican curry powder - you can use shop bought but try to buy one without salt!
1 scotch bonnet, keep whole - (optional, remove for a more mild dish or finely slice for a hotter one)
few sprigs fresh thyme
2 tomatoes, diced
½ cup of water
1 pinch sea salt
½ butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 large carrot, diced
2 small potatoes
1 cup cooked butterbeans
1 can coconut milk
1 bunch spinach
1. fry the onions, spring onions and ginger until lightly brown.
2. add the garlic, curry powder, scotch bonnet and thyme and fry until the spices are browned and fragrant.
3. stir in the tomatoes, salt and water and cook down until the tomatoes are soft, then add the squash, carrots and beans.
4. slice the okra and add to the pot. stir everything together and fry for about a minute
4. cover with coconut milk and let bubble gently on a low heat until the vegetables are soft and the sauce is thick. Remove the scotch bonnet!
5. stir through the spinach until slightly wilted.
Serve with rice or quinoa.