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Recipes for Caribbean Heritage Month

The Caribbean region is a vibrant tapestry of cultures, music, dance, and, of course, mouthwatering cuisine. Through my partnership with Wiley, I was tasked with coming up with Caribbean recipes for a cooking demonstration to celebrate Caribbean Heritage Month.  While there is so much to celebrate and taste, here are some of my favorites recipes:

Jamaican Style Rice and Peas


  • 1 cup of red kidney beans
  • 2 cups of jasmine rice
  • 1 can (13.5 oz) of coconut milk
  • 2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons Mojo Garlic Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Adobo Spice Blend
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil



  1. Rinse the kidney beans thoroughly under cold water. Place them in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and let the beans simmer for about 1 hour or until they are tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. In the same pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, and sauté until the onion becomes translucent and fragrant.
  3. Add the cooked kidney beans, thyme sprigs, and whole scotch bonnet pepper (if using) to the pot. Stir to combine the flavors.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk and water. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir everything together and bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Once the mixture comes to a boil, add the rice to the pot. Stir well to combine the rice with the beans and liquid.
  6. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the rice and peas simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed. Avoid opening the pot too frequently while the rice is cooking.
  7. Once the rice is cooked, remove the pot from the heat. Let it rest for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  8. Fluff the rice with a fork, removing the thyme sprigs and scotch bonnet pepper if used. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  9. Serve the Jamaican-style rice and peas hot as a delicious side dish. Enjoy!

Note: If you prefer a milder flavor, you can remove the seeds and membrane from the scotch bonnet pepper before adding it to the pot. Be cautious when handling hot peppers and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.



Canoas (Stuffed Plantain Canoes)

Plantain is synonymous with Caribbean food, but did you know it is native to Africa and came to the Americas on Slave boats? So many of the ingredients, cooking techniques, and flavor combinations popular in the Caribbean come from a combination of our African and Indigenous roots. 

Plantain is used as a starch and is very versatile. Cooked when unripe, it has a savory application, cooked when ripe it is sweet. For this recipe, you can substitute ground turkey, chicken, crumbled seasoned tofu, stewed beans, or ground meat substitute (like beyond meat or impossible burger).



  • 4-6 large ripe plantains
  • 1 pound of ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken, plant-based meat or beans)
  • 1/4 cup sofrito
  • 1/2 cup of diced bell peppers (assorted colors)
  • 1/2 cup of diced onions
  • 1 Tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons of Garlic Mojo
  • 2 teaspoons of Adobo Spice Blend
  • 2 teaspoons of Sazón Spice Blend
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, or your choice)
  • Optional toppings: diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro, hot sauce, mayo-ketchup


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Cut the ends off the plantains, then make a lengthwise slit along the skin without cutting into the flesh. Peel the plantains by gently pulling the skin away from the flesh. Set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, add the olive oil and heat it over medium heat. Place the peeled plantains in the skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side until they become slightly golden.
  4. Remove the plantains from the skillet and place them on a cutting board. Using the back of a fork, gently flatten each plantain down the middle to create a canoe-like shape and line in a greased baking dish.
  5. In a skillet, sauté the sofrito, bell peppers, onions, mojo, and tomato paste until cooked through and it begins to caramelize. Add the ground meat and seasonings. Cook until 
  6. Fill each plantain boat with the ground meat mixture, dividing it evenly between the plantains.
  7. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of each stuffed plantain boat.
  8. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  9. Remove the stuffed plantain boats from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes.




Aguas frescas (translated literally: fresh waters) are drinks made of fresh fruits, sugar, grains, or herbs — often blended with ice cold water and lime juice. They are popular in a number of Latino cultures, but some of the most popular flavors are tamarind, horchata and jamaica (Hibiscus flower)


Tamarind Agua Fresca


  • 1 cup of tamarind pulp
  • 64 ounces of water
  • 1 small panela disc (raw sugar cane)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Ice cubes
  • Fresh mint leaves (for garnish, optional)
  • Lime wedges (for garnish, optional)


  1. In a pot, add 64 ounces of water and a panela disc and bring to a simmer until the panels disc melts. 
  2. Add the tamarind pulp and let it sit for about 10 minutes to soften the pulp.
  3. After the tamarind pulp has softened, use your hands to further break it apart and extract as much of the tamarind juice as possible. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher or bowl, pressing down on the pulp to extract the liquid. Discard any solids and seeds.
  4. Taste the tamarind mixture and add lime juice (and more sugar if you want it sweeter). 
  5. Place the pitcher in the refrigerator to chill the tamarind agua fresca for at least 1 hour.
  6. When ready to serve, fill glasses with ice cubes.
  7. Pour the chilled tamarind agua fresca into the glasses, filling them about three-quarters full.
  8. Garnish each glass with fresh mint leaves and a lime wedge, if desired.
  9. Stir the drink gently to mix the flavors.
  10. Serve the tamarind agua fresca immediately and enjoy its sweet and tangy taste.

Note: You can also add a pinch of salt to enhance the flavors if desired.


Hibiscus Tea

Jamaica Agua Fresca



  • 1/2 cup of 
  • 1 gallon
  • 1 small panela disc (raw sugar cane)
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Ice cubes
  • Fresh mint leaves (for garnish, optional)
  • Lime wedges (for garnish, optional)


  1. In a large pot, add a gallon ounces of water and a panela disc and bring to a simmer until the panela disc melts. 
  2. Add the hibiscus tea and let simmer gently for 5 minutes and turn off the heat.
  3. Add lime juice and stir (and more sugar if you want it sweeter). 
  4. Strain the tea and place in a pitcher. Put it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour.
  5. When ready to serve, fill glasses with ice cubes.
  6. Pour the chilled tea into the glasses, filling them about three-quarters full.
  7. Garnish each glass with fresh mint leaves and a lime wedge, if desired.

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