Jerk chickpeas & roasted peppers with callaloo (spinach & coconut sauce)

Posted on by Beyond Bespoke

Jerk spice is a Jamaican style spice mix traditionally used to flavour meat, but it also works for vegetarians with pulses and beans. We’ve swapped the blow-your-socks-off Scotch bonnet chillies for some paprika. This makes the flavour more aromatic rather than too hot to handle, as you’ve also got chillies in the callaloo spinach and coconut sauce. Callaloo is a Caribbean dish which uses an amaranth leaf native to the area, but spinach or chard work well as an alternative.


2 red peppers
Oil for roasting & frying e.g. sunflower or light olive
150g brown basmati rice
1 large or 2 small onions
30g coriander
300g spinach
1 garlic clove
2 fresh chillies – use 1 or 2, depending on your taste for heat
10g fresh thyme
1 tin coconut milk
1 tin chickpeas
1 tsp dried thyme
Pot jerk spice seasoning:
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
½ tsp paprika
1 lemon
Salt & pepper


Preheat oven to 200˚C/Gas Mark 5. Put 2 pans of water on to boil; one for the spinach and one for the rice. Cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds, then chop into chunky pieces. Toss them in a baking dish with just enough oil to coat, and some salt and pepper to season. Pop them in the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, rinse the rice in a sieve to remove excess starch. Peel and finely dice the onion(s). Wash the coriander. Wash the spinach and strip the leaves off their stalks. Peel and finely chop, grate or crush 1 garlic clove. Wash and finely chop the chillies (use 1 or 2, see cook’s note).

Transfer the rice to one pan of boiling water. Add a couple of pinches of salt and cook for 15-20 minutes, until just tender. NB brown rice still has a bite to it when cooked.

Meanwhile, cook the spinach leaves in the other pan of boiling water for 1-2 minutes, until wilted. Drain, run under cold water to refresh, then squeeze out excess moisture. Finely chop them. Wash out and dry the spinach pan. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the same pan.

Add the onion. Fry on a low heat for 8 minutes, stirring now and then to stop it catching. Add the garlic and chilli(es). Stir for a further 2 minutes. Add the tin of coconut milk and season. Simmer while the peppers and rice continue to cook.

Empty the chickpeas into a colander, rinse under cold water, then drain. Once the peppers have cooked for 20 minutes, remove and toss in the chickpeas, thyme and jerk spice pot. Pop them back in the oven for 5-10 minutes, just until the peppers are tender and just starting to caramelise, and you can smell the spices.

Drain the rice once cooked. Cover it to keep warm. Roughly chop the coriander leaves. Stir them and the spinach into the coconut sauce. Season and squeeze in some lemon juice to taste. Serve the rice topped with the chickpeas and peppers, then the spinach and coconut sauce.

Cooks notes 

Use 1 or both chillies in this, depending on your preference for heat. You can leave the seeds in for more heat too if you like.

This delicious recipe has been provided to us from our good friends at Riverford. The recipe is by James Dodd, the head chef at the Riverford Field Kitchen.

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