Spiced coconut rice and red beans are layered with sweet and spicy jerk tofu and pineapple chunks to create these mouth-watering Jamaican-inspired bowls.
Did you know we just wrapped up what is statistically the hottest week of summer? We did, where I live at least. I seriously (okay obsessively) keep an eye on these things, which is why I know that in southeastern Pennsylvania, the average daily temperature peaks from July 14th to 20th. Which means it's all downhill from here, folks. Whew!
Autumn is coming. Eventually. In like two months, assuming I can make it there without melting.
I can almost taste the pumpkin spice lattes. But in the meantime, I'll do my best not to get to grumpy and enjoy what I can about summer. Like bowls! Bowls are one of my favorite types of meals to enjoy in the summer, especially when they feature tropical flavors, like the mango and macadamia nuts in my tofu poke bowls, or the pineapple and spices in these jerk tofu bowls.
I went to Jamaica once, and you know what? Even though it was hot and humid, I managed to enjoy myself pretty well. I guess unlimited drinks all day can have that effect.
Unfortunately, I wouldn't get many recipes on this site if I guzzled pina coladas all day every day of the summer. So I'm cooking up Jamaican food and pretending my coconut water is spiked. (<-- Really, I'm such a lightweight that this kind of actually works.)
I didn't have jerk anything when I was in Jamaica, but I always heard that jerk anything was delicious. So I decided to try creating some jerk flavored vegan food. This whole meal is seriously inauthentic. But it's also super tasty, so who cares?
These bowls start with a layer of rice and beans. You'll use long grain rice and cook it with a mix of coconut milk and water, the same way I do with my Thai coconut rice. I really like basmati rice for this, but any long grain white rice will do. Season up the rice with some thyme and allspice, and simmer it with a can of beans. Scallions go in at the end. I could make a meal of this part of the dish alone!
Pan-fry the tofu, and then pan-fry some pineapple. Douse everything in sweet and spicy jerk sauce.
Spoon everything into bowls and dig in.
Tips for Making Awesome Jerk Tofu Bowls
- For some tips on how to pan-fry perfect tofu, check out this post.
- I was on the fence as to whether to make these bowls with pineapple or mango. Will somebody try it with mango and let me know how it turns out?
- Whatever you do, don't peek at your rice while it cooks! My husband always tries to do this and I have to kick him out of the kitchen. Set the heat to low, cover it up, and leave it alone.
- This recipe calls for a habanero or Scotch bonnet pepper. Both varieties are hot! If you're not into heat, cut back on the amount, or leave it out. If you are really into heat, use an extra pepper and/or include the seeds.
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Jamaican Jerk Tofu Bowls
Spiced coconut rice and red beans are layered with sweet and spicy jerk tofu and pineapple chunks to create these mouth-watering Jamaican-inspired bowls. It's like a trip to the Caribbean for your face!
For the Rice and Beans
- 1 tablespoon canola oil, or another high heat oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ¼ cups water
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup long grain white rice (I used basmati)
- 1 (14 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2-3 scallions, chopped
For the Jerk Tofu
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 1 habanero or scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and minced
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon canola oil, or high heat oil of choice
- 1 (14 ounce) package extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks (about 1 inch pieces)
To Make the Rice and Beans
Coat the bottom of a large pot with oil and place it over medium heat.
When the oil is hot, add the onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent.
Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute more, until very fragrant.
Add the water, coconut milk, thyme, allspice, salt, rice and beans. Raise the heat and bring the liquid to a simmer.
Lower the heat until the liquid is at a low simmer. Cover and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.
Allow the pot to sit with the lid on for 5 minutes before uncovering.
Remove the lid, fluff with a fork and stir in the scallions.
To Make the Jerk Tofu
While the rice simmers, stir the molasses, soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, ginger, habanero or scotch bonnet pepper, allspice and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
Coat the bottom of a large skillet with oil and place it over medium heat.
Add the tofu to the skillet in an even layer. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes, flipping once or twice to achieve browning on multiple sides.
Remove the tofu from the skillet and transfer it to a plate.
Add the pineapple to the skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes, flip and cook about 3 minutes more, until softened and lightly browned.
Return the tofu to the skillet and pour the sauce over the tofu and pineapple. Flip a few times to coat everything in the sauce.
Cook for about 2 minutes more, until the sauce thickens up just a bit.
Divide the rice and beans among bowls. Top with the tofu and pineapple. Serve.