Jamaican Stew Peas and Spinners

Red kidney beans, aromatics, coconut milk, a Scotch Bonnet pepper, and more come together in these Jamaican Stew Peas and Spinners, which writer Brigid Ransome Washington developed based on her mother-in-law's recipe. While the iterations Ransome Washington enjoyed growing up in Trinidad and Tobago included meat, this version is vegan, but make no mistake, it's still luscious, hearty, and satisfying. Don't throw away the soaking liquid from the beans—according to Vivienne, her mother-in-law (who she calls Auntie), simmering the beans in it gives the dish a beautiful color. The resulting Stew Peas are hearty, comforting, and filled with earthy and bright flavors. READ: Jamaican Stew Peas Put a New Spin on How I See My Mother-in-Law

Jamaican Stew Peas
Photo: Photo by Andrew Bui / Food Styling by Max Rappaport
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 25 mins


For the red peas:

  • 2 cups (14 ounces) dried red kidney beans

  • 10 large garlic cloves (5 whole, 5 minced), divided

  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk

  • 1  small yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 cup chopped scallions, plus more for garnish (about 8 scallions)

  • 1 large or 2 small carrots (3 ounces total), diced

  • ¼ cup fresh thyme leaves, chopped

  • ½ Scotch bonnet (or habanero) pepper, seeds and veins removed, finely chopped

For the spinners:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt 

  • cup water

For finishing the stew:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice 

  • cup finely chopped red bell pepper

  • cup finely chopped green bell pepper

  • cup cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper

  • Cooked white parboiled rice, for serving


  1. Make the red peas: The night before you plan to cook them, sort through and rinse the red kidney beans. Place in a medium bowl and add the 5 whole garlic cloves; pour in 6 cups of water. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight.

  2. The next day, transfer the beans, whole garlic cloves, and soaking liquid to a large pot. Add the coconut milk to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes.

  3. Add the minced garlic, onion, scallions, carrots, thyme, and Scotch Bonnet. Stir to combine and continue to simmer on low until the red beans are soft and "break" when pressed with the back of a spoon, 20 to 25 minutes.

  4. While the beans are simmering, make the spinners: In a bowl, whisk together the flour and salt; add the water and, using your hands, mix the ingredients together to form a dough that is just slightly wet enough so that it sticks to your hands without leaving any residue. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for about 2 minutes.

  5. Form the dough into a disc and score it into quarters, then score each quarter into thirds. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough along the scoring lines. Take each piece of dough and roll it between the palms of your hands to make a long, thick dumpling that's about 3 to 3 1/2 inches long and about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in thickness.

  6. Finish the stew: When the beans are tender, stir in 1/4 cup water as well as the coconut oil. Gently place each dumpling into the pot. Cover and cook until dumplings are firm, 15 to 20 minutes more. Stir in the salt, black pepper, and allspice. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the bell peppers. Season to taste and serve over freshly cooked rice, garnished with more chopped scallions.

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