Christmas/ Jamaican/ Main Dishes & Entrées/ Sides/ Thanksgiving/ Vegan

Vegan Jamaican Bulgur Wheat and Peas

June 16, 2020 (Last Updated: May 19, 2023)

Vegan Jamaican Bulgur Wheat and Peas is a delicious and healthier alternative to the traditional Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe. It’s full of flavour from the thyme, escallion, and garlic, with a touch of creaminess from fresh coconut milk. It will give you the comforting taste of island cuisine, in the comfort of your home! Serve this healthier, vegan, rice alternative recipe for dinner as part of a main course or lunch!

jamaican bulgur wheat and peas.

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Vegan Jamaican Bulgur Wheat and Peas is a delicious and healthier alternative to the traditional Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe. It’s full of flavour from the thyme, escallion, and garlic, with a touch of creaminess from fresh coconut milk. It will give you the comforting taste of island cuisine, in the comfort of your home! Serve this healthier, vegan, rice alternative recipe for dinner as part of a main course or lunch!

Interested in more popular Jamaican side dishes? Try this Jamaican Rice and Peas or this Easy Jamaican Pigeon “Gungo” Peas and Rice recipe, and the perfect pairing is this Jamaican Oxtail Recipe!

jamaican bulgur wheat and peas with white spoon.

Vegan Jamaican Bulgur Wheat and Peas

I mentioned in my previous blog post on Jamaican Rice and Peas that this dish is guaranteed to be at every Jamaican/Caribbean family function – whether holiday parties, birthdays, other milestone gatherings, and most definitely apart of the spread on Sunday! However, there’s been a plot twist – sub the rice for Bulgur and ta-da! A healthier vegan alternative to the traditional rice dish! Just as delicious, just as yummy, same authentic taste and totally vegan!

Here’s Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • A Healthier Alternative – if you want to enjoy classic rice and peas with less calories, and more fibre, bulgar wheat and peas is the answer.
  • Absolutely Delicious – I am big on enjoying your favourite cultural foods even when you have dietary restrictions, hence recipes like this! Continue to enjoy that island flavour you love with Caribbean herbs and spices.
  • Easy Instructions – the hardest part is having the patience to allow the beans to soak. The rest of the recipe is simple and straightforward. With a bit of planning ahead, this is a breeze!
bulgur wheat.

What is Bulgur Wheat?

Bulgur wheat is a whole grain cracked wheat that’s been cleaned, parboiled, or partially cooked (so that it can be prepared relatively quickly) and dried. Bulgur, when compared to rice has:

  • fewer calories
  • less fat
  • twice the fibre
  • four times as much folate

It also helps support healthy digestion and gut health and is certainly a healthier alternative and substitute to rice and other high carb side dishes.

bulgur wheat grains in hand.

What You Need to Make Vegan Jamaican Bulgur Wheat and Peas

  • Medium Bowl – to soak the kidney beans in.
  • Large Stock Pot – to cook the rice in.

Ingredients and Ingredient Notes

Soaking Dried Red Kidney Beans

  • Dried Red Kidney Beans – this is what gives off the reddish tint and gives great flavour!
  • Escallion or Green Onion – a delicious base for many Jamaican dishes.
  • Garlic – crush it with the back of a knife for a more intense garlicky taste.
  • Thyme – this fresh herb adds depth of flavour.

Jamaican Bulgur Wheat and Peas

  • Scotch Bonnet Pepper – for some island spice.
  • Pimento Seeds (Whole Allspice Berries) – this is essential to Caribbean cuisine.
  • Seasoning Salt or Vegetable Bouillon – they provide a savory flavour.
  • Coconut Milk – this adds creaminess and also cooks the bulgur.
  • Bulgur – cook this grain on low heat.
  • Salt – to make the other flavours pop.

How to Make Vegan Jamaican Bulgur Wheat and Peas

  1. Rinse and Soak Red Kidney Beans – rinse beans and soak in a medium bowl with water, thyme, escallion and garlic. Soak overnight.
  2. Boil Beans to Soften – bring to a boil, fresh water, scotch bonnet pepper, pimento seeds, salt and pour in bean mixture (including the bean water, which is now infused with flavour).
  3. Add Coconut Milk – when beans are tender, stir in coconut milk, seasoning salt or vegetable bouillon and bring to a boil.
  4. Add Bulgur Wheat – add bulgur then cover with lid and simmer over low heat.
  5. Let Steam – remove from the heat, cover and let rest.
  6. Fluff with Fork – using a fork, fluff the bulgur and beans. Serve while hot and enjoy!
bulgur wheat added to pot.
bulgur wheat and peas simmering in pot.

Recipe Substitutions and Tips

Given that this recipe is itself a substitution for Jamaican rice and peas but I do have some alternative methods for preparing bulgur wheat and peas.

There are many methods used to tenderize dried red kidney beans, however, this recipe calls to soak beans overnight, then boil on the stovetop to soften them. Other methods for how to soak beans for vegan rice and peas include: 

  • Pressure Cooker – pressure cook beans to soften, then continue with steps to finish the recipe.
  • Use Canned Red Kidney Beans – skips the steps needed to soften beans.

Serving Suggestions and Tips

Serve vegan Jamaican bulgur wheat and peas as you would any other Jamaican rice and peas dish. Here are my top suggestions:

Recipe Notes and Tips for Success

  • Be mindful of the liquid-to-bulgur ratio. To cook bulgur by boiling, generally, you will need 1 part bulgur to 2 parts water. Another way to measure this is, when you have added your bulgur to the pot, the liquid should be about an inch (roughly the first marking from the tip of your index finger) higher when the bulgur has settled. There should be more liquid than bulgur when first added to the pot.
  • It’s better to have less water and add more than to have too much and end up with mushy bulgur. You can always add more water if you’re finding that all the liquid has been absorbed but the bulgur is still not cooked.
  • Cook bulgur wheat on low heat. Once the bulgur has been added to the pot, only use a low heat setting; enough heat to keep the mixture at a very slight simmer.
  • If using Pure Creamed Coconut, break off 2 chunks to fill the middle of the hand – break off less than half the block if you’re using the Grace Brand.
  • Infuse the beans with garlic flavour as they soak. Use the back of a large chef/ butcher knife to crush the garlic and escallion.
  • Cook the beans evenly. Some beans are harder than others so if you see some floating to the top when boiling, add a tbsp or two of cold water to sink the beans. This will ensure all beans are evenly cooked through.
jamaican bulgur wheat and peas with white spoon.

Can I Make Vegan Jamaican Bulgur Wheat and Peas Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can make vegan Jamaican bulgur wheat and peas ahead of time. Allow the cooked rice and beans to completely cool before storing them in the refrigerator.

Storage Instructions

Store leftover bulgur wheat and peas in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Reheating Instructions

Reheat it in the microwave for about 1-minute or until it is evenly warmed.

bulgur wheat in strainer to be rinsed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is bulgur wheat healthier than rice?

As far as nutritional value, bulgur is a healthier option for rice lovers. It has more fibre and folate than brown rice.

What does bulgur rice taste like?

Bulgur rice has a light, nutty flavor and is slightly chewy when cooked.

Is bulgur a good replacement for rice?

Absolutely! Bulgur is similar to rice in both taste and texture.

Interested in more Jamaican Recipes? Check These Out!

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jamaican bulgur wheat and peas with white spoon.

Vegan Jamaican Bulgur Wheat and Peas

Taneisha Morris
Vegan Jamaican Bulgur Wheat and Peas is a delicious and healthier alternative to the traditional Jamaican Rice and Peas recipe. It's full of flavour from the thyme, escallion, and garlic, with a touch of creaminess from fresh coconut milk. It will give you the comforting taste of island cuisine, in the comfort of your home! Serve this healthier, vegan, rice alternative recipe for dinner as part of a main course or lunch!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Soaking Time (Beans) 8 hours
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Jamaican, Sides, Vegan
Cuisine Jamaican
Servings 2 servings
Calories 635 kcal

Ingredients
  

Soaking Dried Red Kidney Beans

  • 1/2 cup Dried Red Kidney Beans rinsed and soaked overnight
  • 2 cups Water
  • 3 cloves Garlic crushed
  • 1/4-inch pc Fresh Ginger Root
  • 1 whole Scotch Bonnet Pepper
  • 5 whole Pimento Seeds whole allspice berries
  • 2 sprigs Thyme
  • 1 stalk Escallion or green onion, crushed

Jamaican Bulgur Wheat and Peas

  • 1 cup Bulgur Wheat
  • 1 cup Water plus more/less as needed to soften red kidney beans
  • 1 cup Full-Fat Coconut Milk
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Bouillon or seasoning salt / all purpose seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp Salt more or less to taste, optional
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Instructions
 

  • Rinse beans and place in a medium sized bowl. Add water, garlic, ginger, scotch bonnet pepper, pimento berries, thyme and escallion. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and allow to soak overnight.
  • In a medium pot, pour in bean mixture (including the water, which is now infused with flavour) and add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Ensure there is enough water to cover the beans – you may need to add an additional cup of water at the halfway mark. The boiling process to soften the beans will take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on how long your beans have soaked.
  • When beans are tender, stir in coconut milk, vegetable bouillon and bring to a boil for 5-7 minutes. Add bulgur then cover with lid and let simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a very gentle simmer – see notes section.
  • Remove from the heat, cover and let rest for 10 minutes, then discard the thyme, escallion, pimento seeds and scotch bonnet pepper. Using a fork, fluff the bulgur and beans. Serve hot and enjoy!

Video

Recipe Notes

Taste Test – be sure to taste test your “pot” as Jamaicans say during the cooking process. Check to ensure the right about the seasoning, and spice.
Spice Level – Remove the scotch bonnet pepper at any point desired.
See detailed notes above for additional tips.

Nutrition

Calories: 635kcalCarbohydrates: 89gProtein: 22gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 22gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 357mgPotassium: 1233mgFiber: 21gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 150IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 117mgIron: 9mg

Note, the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Leave a star rating and a comment below! You can also tag @theseasoned.skillet and use #theseasonedskillet on Instagram!
Keyword(s) beans, bulgur, bulgur recipes, bulgur wheat and peas, caribbean dishes, caribbean recipes, jamaican bulgur wheat and peas, jamaican cuisine, jamaican dishes, jamaican recipes, peas, peas recipes, red kidney beans, rice and peas, side dishes, traditional dishes
jamaican bulgur wheat and peas.

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