Jerk Tofu with Rice and Beans and a Watermelon Salsa
This delicious vegan dinner has everything you could want: spicy jerk tofu served with fluffy rice and beans and a cooling watermelon salsa. But best of all, it’s quick and easy to cook. Get the recipe below.
When I speak to people who are thinking about reducing the amount of meat they eat or moving to a plant based diet they are most worried about dinner time. It’s quite easy coming up with light meals for lunch time, or making simple swaps at breakfast time. Dinner is a little trickier when most people are used to serving up carbohydrates, vegetables, and a big portion of protein (in the form of meat) on to their plate.
They are also often worried about having to buy in lots of expensive ingredients and unusual spices to help bring extra flavour to their plant based meals.
Both of these concerns are completely valid! My dinners look very different now to how they did when I ate meat but I’m still eating a nutritionally balanced plate of food and getting plenty of protein. It just doesn’t look the same.
And yes, my spice cupboard is heaving now that I am vegan because ingredients like tofu do need a bit of extra help to turn them into something delicious. But, with just one shortcut ingredient, I’m going to show you that you can still cook fantastic meals that aren’t all that different to their meaty counterpart, starting with this recipe for Jerk Tofu with rice and beans and a watermelon salsa.
If you’re new to a vegan diet then you may still be a little unsure about tofu. And that’s OK. If you’d prefer then you can swap it out for a chicken-like meat substitute but I much prefer to use tofu in this particular dish.
Make sure you choose firm or extra firm tofu for a good meaty bite. I’ve simply chopped mine up into cubes but if you find this looks less appetising you can simply break the tofu up into big chunks.
I fry the tofu separately to the onions and yellow pepper to make sure it gets extra crispy on the outside. Crowding it in a pan with the rest of the veggies would prevent this so don’t skip this step, even if it means more washing up.
The shortcut in this recipe is that I’ve cheated and I use a store bought Jerk sauce! Shocking, I know. Can I even call myself a food blogger?! But that one shortcut means you don’t end up with a cupboard full of spices you’re only going to use once or twice a year. It also means dinner gets on to the table a lot quicker.
Rice and beans
The rice and beans require just 4 ingredients: kidney beans, rice, coconut milk and all spice. It might not be the most authentic recipe but it’s the perfect simple side dish for the spicy jerk tofu.
The rice is cooked perfectly every time and the beans are perfectly tender. The coconut is slightly sweet and creamy which helps to cool down the heat of the scotch bonnet chilli in the jerk sauce.
As good as the jerk tofu and rice and beans is, what takes this dinner from good to great is the watermelon salsa. Watermelon, cucumber, spring onions, mint and lime are combined to make a really bright and zesty salsa that helps to to cool down the heat of the jerk sauce and provide some extra fruity flavour!
Of course, if you’re a real chilli fanatic you can add some fresh chilli to the salsa too.
Jerk Tofu, Rice and Beans with Watermelon Salsa
For the salsa
- 400 grams watermelon diced
- 0.5 small cucumber diced
- 2 spring onions thinly sliced
- salt and pepper
- 1 lime juice only
- 5 leaves mint shredded
For the rice and peas
For the jerk tofu
- 280 grams firm tofu cut / torn into 1.5 inch pieces
- 1 small red onion thinly sliced
- 1 yellow pepper roughly chopped
- 6-8 tbsp jerk sauce
- 2 tbsp desiccated coconut optional
To make the salsa
- Add the watermelon, cucumber and spring onions to a bowl. Sprinkle over a little salt and pepper to season and place to one side to let the salt draw out some of the moisture.
- Before serving, squeeze over the juice of the lime and stir through the mint leaves.
To make the rice and peas
- Rinse the rise thoroughly before adding to a saucepan along with the coconut milk and all spice.
- Slowly bring the coconut milk to a boil then cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until the rice is just becoming tender.
- Add the kidney beans to the rice and give it a stir. Leave the lid on but place the heat on low to allow the rice to absorb the coconut milk.
To make the jerk tofu
- While the rice is cooking, add the oil to a pan along with the onions and a pinch of salt.
- Cook the onions for 10-15 minutes until they are soft and translucent.
- Push the onions to one side of the pan and add another tsp of oil. Space the tofu out across the pan so that they aren’t touching each other and fry on a medium-high heat.
- Turn the tofu as each side turns golden brown and crisp.
- Once the tofu is crispy combine with the softened onions and add the yellow pepper to the pan. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the peppers are soft and the rice has absorbed all of the coconut milk.
- Add the jerk sauce to the tofu, onion and pepper mixture and cook until hot.
- Plate up the rice and beans followed by the jerk tofu and finally the watermelon salsa!
- Garnish with some desiccated coconut if you wish!
More vegan recipes
If you like this then why not check out more of my vegan recipes.
Tips for going vegan
If you’re new to a plant based diet then check out my ten top tips for going vegan!