Maybe I’m just dreaming of warmer days during these freezing Colorado nights, but I’ve been fantasizing about chowing down on some real, hearty Caribbean food. The unfortunate reality is that most people in the U.S. tend to just think of some lifeless “jerk chicken wrap” when you say Caribbean food, but those flimsy, pre-frozen chicken wraps couldn’t be further from what I’m talking about.
What I’m craving are some of the flavors of Caribbean foods, from breakfast all the way to dessert, that are so complex, rich, and delicious – not to mention often made with healthful whole foods like coconut, plantains, herbs, and spices!
If you’re like me and longing for some warmer days, here are some divine Caribbean recipes that really get you cooking and get those warm flavors shining!
- Let’s kick it off with the most important meal of the day: breakfast! These black bean, plantain, and mango breakfast burritos look like pure heaven! With a quick and easy recipe like this, there’s no excuse to not get cooking! These burritos can also be made ahead, and then microwaved during the week for a quick, satisfying breakfast on the go.
- I’m so grateful to have discovered the deliciousness that is the website Immaculate Bites by Imma. Everything on her website looks A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Like these doubles, a popular street food in Trinidad, which are basically delicious, spiced, saucy chickpeas between some savory pancakes. Wow. Sign me up. These look like a spicy, perfect, dream dinner – if they even make it to the table.
- If those doubles did make it to the dinner table, there’s no better accompaniment than this Ultimate Curry Corn. Oh my god. What a combination. Grilled corn simmered in coconut milk and curry? The sweetness of the corn with the spice of the curry makes for a combination that is truly out of this world. I know what I’m making this week. Do yourself a favor and check out this recipe ASAP.
- Here’s a dish that highlights the complex flavor of mango in an entrée, instead of banishing it to some tropical-themed drink. Move over, smoothies! It’s time for mango to shine, and this stir fry is just the place to start.
- But with spring still a few weeks away, sometimes all I really want is a good stew. Like this Jamaican Sweet Potato Stew. Heartily spiced and chock full of pumpkin, red beans, and sweet potatoes, this really warms you to the core on those dreary days when you’re looking for something extra warm and enjoyable. Just be sure to help yourself to seconds (or thirds).
- No list of Caribbean food delights would be complete without a savory Ital Stew on it! While this seems a bit more time-intensive, homemade dumplings are calling my name, and this one is worth taking the time to make! With okra, plantains, coconut milk (and those dumplings!) all mingled together, it’s hard to say exactly which flavor is the show-stealer here. I’m gonna go with all of them.
- What if you’ve already got some main dish in mind? Well personally, I think just about every main dish would be an ideal mate for these curry-stuffed sweet potatoes. So fluffy. So spicy. What else could you possibly want in a vegetable?
- How about some spicy eggplant? When cooked right, eggplant is soft and receptive to flavor. And this recipe does it justice. Spicy eggplant stewed in some Caribbean heat make an ideal side for any weeknight dinner or lunch.
- Ok, great, you think. But when will I find the time to cook such delicious things from scratch? These days, most of us juggle school, work, and our families – often without much success. Well, have I got the tasty Caribbean delight for you from Caribbean Pot: these stewed beans! Since they use a can of beans instead of dried ones, it’s a recipe designed for the busy folks who love home cooking, but seldom have the time. Sign me up!
- You know what all these delicious foods really need? A cold drink to wash them down! And this Sorrel Drink, made with rum, sorrel, wine, ginger, and orange peel really would do the trick. Even looking at the picture is making me wish I had this iced beauty in my hand right now…
- But let’s all be honest about what we’re really here for: the desserts. Take, for example, this drool-worthy sweet potato pone, a soft pudding that’s baked in the oven, with coconut milk, flour, sweet potatoes, and sugar. As if that weren’t enough, the recipe suggests you top it with coconut cream or ice cream. I’m dying already!
- Another classic treat that showcases fruit is some good old fashioned Pineapple Upside Down Cake. When you mix pineapples with sugar and let it caramelize on the bottom of a pan, it’s pretty hard to go wrong. When you add that to a cake? It’s impossible to go wrong. The hardest part about pineapple upside down cake, without a doubt, is not eating the whole thing in one day!
These are just a mere handful of all the delicious opportunity that Caribbean cuisine offers, and with spring around the bend, it’s time we start prepping for it with some delicious meals. Go ahead and give these a try! You won’t be disappointed.