Vegan Jollof Rice

This jollof rice is a vegan version of a classic West African dish. Filled with tomatoes, onions and spices, this jollof rice makes a flavorful side dish. Ready in 45 minutes!

Vegan Jollof Rice - an easy one-pot dinner that's ready in less than 45 minutes!

When I was in England over Christmas, I was meandering one of the open markets in Winchester. It was a pretty cold day, and I desperately craved a hot meal to stay warm. On a whim, I decided to go for some jollof rice instead of a Cornish pasty, my usual guilty pleasure whenever I visit England. That jollof rice filled me with all sorts of happy. It was a perfect blend of rice, tomatoes, onions, garlic and some good heat coming from Scotch bonnet peppers. That sinus-clearing spice was exactly what I needed.

Jollof rice is a classic West African dish. The exact origins of the dish are unknown, but it is common in countries like Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal. Often times, jollof rice is cooked with chicken; the rice absorbs all the savory flavors of the chicken as it cooks.

After coming home from my trip to England, I started experimenting with a vegan version of jollof rice. Instead of chicken, I used vegetable broth to enhance the flavors of the dish. I also swapped Thai chili peppers instead of Scotch bonnet peppers for spice. Scotch bonnet peppers are not easy for me to find, and I always have a bag of frozen Thai chilis on hand. You can always use another variety of pepper or even red pepper flakes for heat. If you don’t like too much spice, feel free to skip the peppers entirely.


  • Cooking the Rice: The rice needs to be covered with a lid as it cooks. Resist the urge to lift the lid too check on the rice! The rice needs the steam in order to cook properly. It’s perfectly fine to sneak a peek once or twice to see if the liquids have evaporated, but keep that to a minimum.

Filled with tomatoes, onions and spices, this jollof rice is ready in 45 minutes!

If you make this recipe, let me know! Take a photo of your creation and tag me on Instagram so that I can give you a fist bump!


Vegan Jollof Rice

This dish is great served with your favorite protein or a side of fried plantains! If you want more vegetables to the dish, consider adding a diced carrot and a diced bell pepper the same time when you add the crushed tomatoes and broth. In this recipe, I’m using Thai chilis. You can also substitute it with another type of chili or a pinch of red pepper flakes. 

  • Author: Lisa Lin
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 27 minutes
  • Total Time: 37 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced (about 1 1/3 cups diced onions)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 3 to 4 Thai chili peppers, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 14-ounce (400g) can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup (250ml) vegetable broth or water
  • chopped parsley to serve


  1. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook them for 4 to 5 minutes, until they start to turn translucent, stirring frequently. Mix in the garlic, ginger and chilis and cook for 30 seconds, until the spices turn fragrant. Add the salt and basmati rice and stir. Continue toasting the rice for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the paprika, thyme, crushed tomatoes and broth and stir until well combined. Cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Let the rice simmer for 15 to 18 minutes, until all the liquids are absorbed.
  3. Remove the pan from heat and let the rice sit for 8 to 10 minutes. The rice will finish cooking as it rests. Fluff up the rice with a fork and sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve.


NUTRITION INFORMATION: Yields 4 servings. Amount per serving: Calories: 290, Total Fat 7.6g, Saturated Fat: 1.1g, Sodium: 783mg, Cholesterol: 0mg, Total Carbohydrate: 51g, Dietary Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7.4g, Protein 6g

24 thoughts on “Vegan Jollof Rice

  1. Traci | Vanilla And Bean

    I’m in LOVE with this Jollof rice, Lisa…. I knew by its red color it would be something I would want to make.. and sure enough! Look at those ingredients! Just gorgeous and so delicious! Thank you for your experimenting and sharing!

  2. Laura

    Made this already twice this week! Garlic, Chiles, Tomatoes were just perfect. Gorgeous and tasty and so easy! I just blended a can of diced tomatoes to get a nice puree. I wish I could get all of my rice dishes to come out this nicely. Light fluffy separate grains. Fabulous!

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  4. Kayla Wilson

    Would this be good for meal prepping? It’s it good to cook on Sunday and package it throughout the week? I’m in school fulltime and don’t have time for cooking all week long.

    1. Lisa Lin Post author

      Great question, Kayla! Yes, it is great for meal prepping. Just store it in an airtight container in the fridge. You’ll definitely want to reheat the rice before serving though because it hardens in the fridge.

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  6. Priscilla Esi Nkum

    Just made it. I’m a Ghanaian. This is our everyday meal. Your recipe is great. Mine turned out great. Thank you

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  8. Molly

    Love love love this recipe! I can’t get enough of the beautiful flavours. Have you ever tried making the dish with brown rice? I’ve tried a few times but can’t quite get it right. Thank you!!

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  10. Sasha

    Do you add any water to the pot to cook the rice or just rice the rice and theow it in the pot with the other ingredients?

    1. Lisa Lin Post author

      In the recipe, I used 1 cup broth, but you can add water too to the pot. I’m using uncooked rice, so you definitely want to use some liquid to cook the rice.

  11. Rhys

    I was wondering whether to pre-wash the rice to remove excess starch?
    I’m really looking forward to trying this recipe on the weekend with my boyfriend.
    Thank you Lisa for sharing this.

  12. Queen

    I’m so glad, I found this recipe! I’m Ghanaian and most at times we cook the stew first and then add the rice, however your method was faster and turned out great!
    God bless!

  13. Anna

    So tasty! But do you think the rice could be substituded with lentels or califlower-rice? Rice isnt popular here due to the arsenik scares.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    1. Lisa Lin Post author

      Yes, you can, but the cooking method would be very different. I would recommend cooking either lentils or cauliflower rice separately and just mixing it in with the other ingredients (a bit like a stir fry).

  14. Gem

    This was so good! I didn’t have fresh so used 1/4 tsp ground ginger, only 1/2tsp thyme, long grain rice and blended the tomatoes first. I didn’t miss meat and only wish I’d made double the amount! Thank you, this is now a staple rice dish for me x

  15. Donna

    We did an office sweepstake and then a charity lunch based on what country you’d selected for the World Cup! Made this after pulling Nigeria – SUCH a hit and I love getting good feedback when I ‘go vegan’ for the office. Thanks so much, will certainly become a home staple too 🙂

    1. Lisa Lin Post author

      Donna, thank you so much for trying out my recipe!! I’m so glad that everyone enjoyed it. That charity lunch sounds like it was a lot of fun!


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