Meatless Monday – And the creator is…?

Jollof rice is a spicy tomato based dish that originated in West Africa. It’s national origin is often contested among nationals of Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and Ivory Coast. Some sources even suggest it is the inspiration for the New Orleans dish jambalaya.

The core ingredients are tomatoes, rice (often parboiled), spice (regional curry powder, ginger and hot pepper) and stock. Of course, it is often made with animal products but can easily be made vegetarian/vegan.

After searching the Internet, here is the recipe I devised for Jollof rice.

You will need:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • 4 small tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried ginger
  • a dash of dried chilli pepper
  • ½ tablespoon natural ketchup
  •  1 vegetable stock cube and 1½ cups water
  • 1½ cups dried rice, rinsed
  • a dash of liquid smoke
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil or ghee/butter
  • (Optional: 1 block of tofu)


  1. In pot, heat oil/butter. Add onion, red pepper and spices. Cook a few minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic. Continue cooking until tomatoes soften and release their water (about 12 minutes). Add ketchup and liquid smoke. Leave on low heat for about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In another pot, bring the water to a boil. Add vegetable stock cube and rice. Cook according to package directions. I use a sprouted brown rice and cook on medium/low for about 25 minutes.
  3. While rice is cooking, purée the tomato mixture. Add the cooked rice to it and stir. If using tofu, cut into cubes and add to mixture. Stir on low to heat through.

Jollof rice can be served as a side dish or main feature of a meal. Traditionally it is a one pot dish made for sharing and as served as an accompaniment. I encourage you to seek out various cultures to get their version of Jollof.


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