Jamaican Chickpea Stew

Jamaican Chickpea Stew
Having grown up in an area where there are more ethnic food restaurants than American-style restaurants, I’ve had an interest in international cooking ever since I knew how to sauté an onion. While a typical teenager would frequent burger or pizza joints, my friends and I made the rounds at our local Thai, Japanese, Mexican, and Indian restaurants. As a result, I’m always excited at the prospect of cooking up new-to-me food.

When I saw Cooking Light’s recipe for Jamaican Chicken Stew, I instantly knew I wanted to give a meatless version a shot. To me, there is nothing more satisfying than a flavorful stew served over hot brown rice. Plus, I was eager to learn about another international cuisine. So I fired up the ol’ Google and learned all about Jamaican food.

Jamaican Chickpea Stew
Along with its beautiful beaches, Jamaica is known for its vibrant and flavorful food. Jamaican cuisine is influenced by a number of other countries and continents, including Spain, Africa, England, India, China, and France. A typical main dish includes spiced seafood or chicken with rice and beans or peas. Curries and stews made with flavorful spices are commonplace, and fried plantains are normally served alongside. Beverages are just as fun as the food, as Jamaicans are famous for their fresh fruit juices, ginger beer, homemade sodas, and let’s not forget: rum!

Jamaican Chickpea Stew
This recipe incorporates many of the typical flavors used in Jamaican cooking, but instead of using chicken for the stew, I made it meatless by adding a can of chickpeas. I also omitted the capers from the inspiration recipe because I didn’t have any on hand, and I knew the stew would be flavorful enough without them.

I was amazed by how easy this Jamaican Chickpea Stew was to make. It requires just two steps: sauté the onion with the spices, then simmer with the remaining ingredients for 15 minutes. Plus, the ingredients list is super simple. Between your spice cabinet and your pantry, I’m willing to bet you already have all of the ingredients on hand to do dinner island-style.

Jamaican Chickpea Stew

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Jamaican Chickpea Stew

This simple, spicy, and satisfying vegetarian stew takes only 20 minutes to whip up. Inspired by Cooking Light's Jamaican Chicken Stew.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • For serving:
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, thyme, allspice, red pepper flakes, and salt; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in the red wine, black beans, chickpeas, and tomatoes. Bring to a full boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Taste and add additional salt if desired. Serve over brown rice.


Preparation tip: If your rice isn't already cooked, start it about 15 minutes before you make the stew. It should be ready right about the same time the stew is!


About Julia

Julia Mueller writes the food blog, The Roasted Root, and is the author of Delicious Probiotic Drinks and Let Them Eat Kale!. A Lake Tahoe native, Julia loves to play outdoors, and enjoys developing recipes that are nutrient-dense and approachable to make any night of the week.   Read more from Julia →

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    • Julia Mueller says

      What a wonderful place for a honeymoon! So glad you’re into Jamaican food. Let us know how you like the meal :)

    • Julia Mueller says

      I’m right there with ya! A good long getaway in a beautiful country sounds amazing…and being able to try all of the authentic food? Dreamy. Alas, home-cooked Jamaican food will have to do for now :)

  1. Lisa says

    I grew up on Jamaican food daily and I crave meatless versions of my favorites partially because I eat very little meat and partially because I don’t have time to do that type of Jamaican cooking so thanks for posting this! I would add that having good quality yellow curry will make all the difference in having this taste authentic. And if you really like spicy, get your hand on a scotch bonnet pepper and I bet it would taste divine subbed in for the red pepper flakes.

    • Julia Mueller says

      I’m envious of all the authentic Jamaican food you’ve experienced. I’d love to try the dish with scotch bonnet peppers but unfortunately my local grocery store doesn’t carry them. :( I’ll have to keep an eye out for them when I visit other stores. Thanks so much for your suggestions! :)

  2. Lala says

    None of the spices in this speaks Jamaican…there’s no scotch bonnet pepper, thyme, escallion, pimento…nothing that we Jamaicans cook with. Tried it as the recipe says but it was bland..

    • Julia Mueller says

      Thanks for your feedback, Lala, and I’m sorry you didn’t like the recipe. I’ve never come across scotch bonnet peppers or pimentos at my grocery store and figured our readers could add more red pepper flakes to their desired heat level. I figured if my grocery store doesn’t carry them, our readers would have difficulty finding them as well. It can be difficult to make completely authentic ethnic food under ingredient restrictions, but we still like our readers to get a taste for other cuisines :) Thanks again and I’ll be sure to track down more Jamaican ingredients for my next go-round.

    • Julia Mueller says

      Aren’t chickpeas the best? They liven up any meal in my opinion. Plus they’re so great for you! Glad you like the recipe, Ami!

    • Julia Mueller says

      Oooooh, I really like the idea of coconut milk rice! That sounds so flavorful and also adds great health benefits. I was thinking plain Greek yogurt would have been tasty on top of the meal. Next time around, I’ll be sure to add it. :D

  3. says

    This stew looks amazing and so comforting, plus I’ve never experimented with Jamaican cousin and now I can’t wait to learn more about it and try out some of their typical dishes!
    Thanks for this great inspiration :)

    xo, Elisa

    • Julia Mueller says

      You got it, Elisa! I’m excited to dive into more Jamaican recipes, myself :) Hope you enjoy the recipe!

      • Abigail Korver says

        Jamaican cuisine can be really fun! This stew looks yummy, I will probably add some scotch bonnets to up the spice factor and make it more true to the traditional jerk seasoning. I will also probably cook the brown rice in coconut milk. Looking forward to trying this, I have never thought of replacing chicken with chickpeas. I think I will like it, and it seems so easy!

        • Julia Mueller says

          All of that sounds amazing, Abigail! I’ll have to follow suit the next time I make the stew :D

    • Julia Mueller says

      Thank ya! It’s definitely a winner. I mean, c’mon…beans, rice, and tasty spices?! Can’t go wrong! :D

    • Julia Mueller says

      Oh good! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the stew, Lisa and thanks so much for letting us know!

  4. Nicky says

    This sounds good. I have been experimenting with chick peas and can’t wait to try this.
    I noticed someone else made mention to the other spices that Jamaicans cook with.
    As a Jamaican, I can say yes that is true, but it is not necessary as those spices are mostly used on meat to bring out the flavour. A pinch of salt can go a long way to bring out the desired flavours.
    Scotch bonnet is very hot, so if you don’t know how to use it, the experience can be unpleasant.
    Please note that not all Jamaicans love “heat”.

    • Julia Mueller says

      Thanks so much for your input, Nicky. I figured the scotch bonnet peppers would be a stretch for most people who aren’t accustomed to spicy cuisine, too – plus, I’ve never seen one in person, although I would love to try cooking with them. I’m with ya – salt + a variety of spices always seems to work wonders on a meal. I’m glad you’re excited to try the dish and can’t wait to hear what you think! Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Julia Mueller says

      Aww, I love that your 6 year old enjoys chickpeas! I definitely wouldn’t have touched them as a kid, so I’m impressed by the adventurousness. Let me know if you try the meal and what your kidlet things of it :D

    • Julia Mueller says

      Yaaaay, thanks, Jessica! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and I appreciate you letting me know my facts check out, ha! One of these days, I’ll head over to Jamaica, myself and enjoy some authentic cuisine and all that rum. sluuurp! Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  5. says

    I love the big bold flavors of Jamaican food, but always thought it was over for me when I went veg. Obviously NOT. Love how you’ve veg-ed up this recipe!

    • Julia Mueller says

      Thanks, my dear! I’m happy I could oblige. Now let’s make some Jamaican food and eat all them beans!

    • Julia Mueller says

      You got it, Lindsay! So glad you’re interested in trying the stew – it really does have a lot of warm, inviting flavor! :)

  6. Haley says

    I made this for the first time and its incredible! I didnt have any garbanzo beans on hand so i substituted a can of kidney beans and it worked great. I’ll be making this again soon! Thanks!

    • says

      So glad to hear you enjoyed it, Haley! The added kidney beans sound great. As a huge lover of every type of bean, I feel like any bean combo would work well in the stew. Definitely a good recipe to keep on hand when you need a nice filling meal :)

  7. Sarah says

    I just made this last night and WOW – it’s so good! I love that it has a little kick and it’s so healthy! Definitely adding this to the regular rotation. Thank you :)

  8. Alice says

    I made this last night and thoroughly enjoyed it! My non-vegetarian parents loved it too. Tastes great topped with greek yoghurt. I will definitely be making it again.


  9. says

    Hi, Julia,

    Great recipe! I tried it last night, and it was tasty! Do you have any tips for cooking rice? I mess it up every time I try to cook it, and last night was no exception. Thanks! Nicki

  10. Rachel says

    This was delicious!! Thank you so much for these great recipes. I was getting tired of my same old recipes and these are helping me stay on track. :)

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