Make your own vegan Caribbean quinoa and peas

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A report from the CBC.

Irie Green’s Jawara ‘Ku-J’ Joe shares his unique twist on a classic island dish

When you think of Caribbean food, what comes to mind? Jerk chicken or pork? Ackee and saltfish? Oxtail stew? Jamaican patties?

How about vegan dishes? They might be a little tougher to name, but they exist. And the Irie Green food truck located at 4806 Bank St. in Findlay Creek serves nothing but.

Owner and chef Jawara Joe, who goes by the nickname Ku-J, took his inspiration from his father’s food truck, the Freedom Fighters Ital Shack on the tiny island nation of St. Maarten.

“I grew up Rastafarian, believing in living off the land and eating well,” Jow said. “That’s what ‘Ital’ food is all about.”

Joe arrived in Ottawa in 2015, studying music production at a private college. But he decided that if he was going to stay here and make his mark, it would have to be through his food.

Below, Ku-J shares his home version of quinoa and peas, a twist on the popular Caribbean dish of rice and peas.

Quinoa and peas


  • 1 cup of quinoa.
  • ¾ cup of kidney beans (canned or soaked overnight).
  • 1 cup of water or vegetable stock.
  • ½ cup of coconut milk or cream.
  • ¼ tsp sea salt.
  • ¼ tsp pimento pepper powder.
  • Half a small onion.
  • 2 cloves garlic.
  • 1 sprig of thyme.
  • 1.5 tbsp of olive oil.
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper (optional).


  1. Dice your onion and garlic.
  2. Place oil in a pot and fry your onions until translucent.
  3. Add your garlic and thyme to the pot and stir for about one minute.
  4. Stir in coconut milk, water (or vegetable stock) and pimento pepper powder, and bring to a boil.
  5. Wash and strain your quinoa a few times.
  6. When water begins to boil place quinoa and beans into your pot, stir and set to simmer for 15 minutes. If you are using scotch bonnet pepper, place it into the pot also.
  7. After quinoa is cooked, stir in your salt.
  8. Set aside, let cool then serve.

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