Remember when you were a kid and your parents used to tell you to eat your vegetables because they were good for you? Well, they really are. As are fruits, lean proteins, nuts, seeds and many other foods. And in the Caribbean, they have some delicious, healthy produce to work with.
A lot, of course, depends on how you cook something (throwing something in the deep fat fryer is obviously a lot less healthy than cooking on a grill, for example!) And we all like to have recipes to hand that are quick and easy for busy days, no matter whether we are cooking Jamaican food or any other.
The good news is, healthy Caribbean food can taste great and look delicious too! We hunted out these nine delicious Jamaican/Caribbean recipes that won’t wreak havoc on your waistline. Plus, not only are they healthy but they are quick and easy too. Bonus!
Jamaican Ital/Vegetable Stew
There is nothing heartier and healthier than a warming bowl of Jamaican vegetable stew (also known as Ital Stew). In this homely recipe, Chef Ricardo, uses okra, garlic, carrot, potato, spring onion, white onion, red kidney beans, pumpkin, thyme and a splash of coconut milk to make this delectable dish. He lightly sautés the vegetables and thyme and lets them sweat for a while, before adding water and the red kidney beans, the drop of coconut milk, some vegetable stock and seasoning. Once the vegetables are cooked and the liquid has reduced and the dish has thickened up, it’s ready to serve. Yum!
What to try a more Aututhic Jamaican recipe? Check out caribbeanpot recipe for Aututhic Jamaican Ital
Jamaican Steamed Fish
Fish contains lots of healthy oils and nutrients so it’s a great choice if you’re wanting to eat healthily. This steamed fish recipe from Original Flava is tasty and really straightforward to make. Prepare the fish and season it with salt, pepper and fish seasoning, then stuff it with thyme and spring onions. Put a pan on the stove with a little fish stock in the bottom and add peppers, onions, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, carrot, potato, thyme, okra and more seasoning. Lay the fish on top and add more stock. Then leave to simmer for just twenty minutes and it’s good to go. It really is so simple!
No keen on steaming fish. Check out How to Cook Great recipe for Jamincan grilled fish!
Okra is a really popular vegetable in the Caribbean. In this recipe, Chris from Caribbean Pot uses it to make a simple Curried Okra dish. First, you create an aromatic base with diced onion, garlic, pepper and curry powder, then add in some diced chilli pepper and the okra, which you toss in the base as though you are cooking a stir fry. A tasty, spicy curried okra in less than 10 minutes. It doesn’t get easier than that!
Unsure on how to cook Okra? Heard on the great vine that it is slimy? This will explain the best way to cook Okra to avoid the slim.
Jamaican Vegetable soup
Velvet Lox creates a healthy, hearty Jamaican vegetable soup that is perfect for a cold day. She starts by boiling a pot of water and adds carrots, onions, corn, sweet potato, white potato, celery, parsley, thyme, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper and chicken stock (you could use vegetable stock to keep it vegetarian). Velvet Lox also added homemade dumplings. Leave the dish to cook down and season if required.
Want a creamier soup? Check out Vegan blogger
Stuffed Red Pepper
For a healthy lunch dish, Anita McKenzie of Sistah in the Raw often enjoys a delicious stuffed red pepper. And there’s no cooking involved! You cut the pepper in half lengthways, remove the seeds and rub in a mix of olive oil and curry powder before leaving the pepper to dehydrate for a while so it softens. When it’s ready, you stuff the mixture with a blend of carrots, spring onions, seasoning powder, hulled hemp seeds and fresh parsley. Refreshing, nourishing and delicious.
Do you want some spicy with your red pepper? Check out Chef Ricardo recipe of Jerk Red peppers.
Caribbean Quinoa and Bean Bowl
We all know that quinoa and pulses are extremely nutritious, so this Caribbean quinoa and bean bowl from Immaculate Bites is a double helping of healthy goodness. It’s a take on rice and peas (beans) but using quinoa instead for all its beneficial properties. You need to start by washing the quinoa and draining the water from it. Then you sauté onions, garlic, paprika, thyme, bay leaves and hot pepper, for about a minute before adding the quinoa. This is followed by beans, coconut milk (light if you want to keep it as healthy as possible), salt, bouillon pepper and water. Leave for 20 minutes or so until the quinoa is cooked. If you want to make this a meal with meat, simply add some stir-fried chicken and vegetables – such a scrumptious Caribbean recipe!
Why not check out
Vegan Roots Curry
Jamaican Reggae star Chronixx makes this delicious and nutritious Vegan Roots Curry for Munchies Youtube channel. Spicy pumpkin, onions, potato, cauliflower and carrots, peppers and are mixed with garlic, ginger, pink salt, thyme and coconut milk into a paste of tomatoes and curry powder. Whilst the vegetables are cooking, simmer the quinoa until the water is absorbed.
Want an easier recipe? Check out
Mango, Avocado & Cucumber Salad
Mango is one of the many delicious foods I think about when I think about the Caribbean and this salad, from Chef Noel Cunningham on Jamaicans.com, is like a taste of summer. It’s also really simple to make. In a blender, make the tasty dressing using olive oil, balsamic vinegar, parsley and some deseeded scotch bonnet pepper. Then, in a bowl, mix chopped mango, avocado and cucumber and drizzle with the dressing. A quick, easy and refreshing Caribbean recipe that is bursting with fresh, tropical flavours.
Not keen on mango? Check out
Caribbean Chicken Salad
Salads can sometimes be boring, particularly if you are dieting and therefore eating a lot of them! - but this definitely cannot be said about this flavoursome Caribbean chicken salad with mango and lime dressing from Well Plated. A mixture of romaine lettuce, grilled chicken (marinated in soy sauce, olive oil, brown sugar, and ginger), red onion, black beans, sweet oranges and red peppers are put together in a bowl to make this a healthy and satisfying choice. For extra scrumptiousness, pureed mango, lime juice, honey, cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper are mixed in a food processor until smooth and then blended with olive oil for a delicious dressing.
If you don't eat chicken check out Chef Ricardo Cooking recipe of Jamincan Pasta salad.
And there we have it. Nine yummy Jamaican and Caribbean recipes that are good for you to boot! Plus, as an added bonus, you won’t need to spend hours in the kitchen putting them together. So, let’s go get our aprons on!
Do you have any favourite Caribbean recipes that are also healthy? Let us know in the comments! Discover more creativity on the Grass-fields Youtube channel.
I think the last sentence could be worked on – talk about things that are related to this post, e.g. If you liked this post, we think you’d love our blog on How to Cook Ghana's Famous African Jollof Rice.