In the West Indies peas are a collective name for all sorts of beans and lentils. Hence why there’s no peas to be seen in Rice & Peas.

Beans are staple food and used to make Rice & Peas, stews and other dishes more filling. Beans are cheap food, they make many dishes more colourful, and they make your stomach feel full longer.

Caribbean · Side Dishes

Simple Rice & Peas

Rice & Peas is a very common and popular dish in the West Indies. The name is slightly misleading as it normally contains beans not peas. This is not just one dish as you will find many different versions of it, some even incorporating meat.

This recipe can be used as a basic guideline; choose the beans and herbs you think will work best with your main dish.


  • 3 cups of rice
  • 1 tin of red (or mixed) beans (it’s cheaper and better to use dry ones that you let soak over night in water, but since I have a tendency to forget things like that I keep a stash of tins just in case…)
  • a few sprigs of thyme or rosemary
  • 50g creamed coconut
  • 1-4 cloves of garlic (ie to taste!)
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1qt water


  1. Put all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil, then leave to simmer until rice is cooked.
  2. This can be done in a slowcooker as well, but I find it needs more water then. Just bring it all to boil, then pour into slow cooker and leave on low for about 4hrs.