You’ll feel like you’re on a Caribbean vacation when you make this Vegan Rasta Pasta. Walnut meatballs are the perfect complement to linguini and colorful bell peppers tossed in a flavorful coconut curry sauce made with Jamaican jerk seasoning.
Rasta Pasta is a fusion of Italian and Jamaican cooking. Often served with jerk chicken or shrimp, this vegan version features meatless meatballs made with mushrooms and walnuts. And coconut milk is used instead of heavy cream.
This recipe was featured in the Eluxe Magazine article Vegan Caribbean Recipes that Taste like Sunshine.
Why you'll love this recipe
- It's a delicious way to experience island cuisine made vegan.
- It's a Caribbean comfort food dish that loaded with veggies.
- It's creamy, flavorful, and satisfying.
I received a complementary copy of Caribbean Vegan to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.
Vegan Rasta Pasta is one of the many delicious recipes from the cookbook Caribbean Vegan by Taymer Mason. It's perfect for anyone who wants to learn more about Island cuisine.
You'll find recipes from Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, St Lucia, Jamaica, and other islands. And it's interesting to see the influence of Spanish, French, African, and Asian flavors on the region's flavors.
Mason also provides an introduction to the ingredients used in Caribbean cooking, which I found very useful.
Caribbean Vegan: Plant-Based, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Authentic Island Cuisine for Every Occasion By Taymer Mason
- Spice up your life with over 200 authentic Caribbean recipes made vegan!
- Features chapters on Seasonings and Sauces, Breakfasts, Appetizers, Soups and Stews, Mains, Side Dishes, Teas and Sweet and Savory Delights, Desserts, and Drinks and Cocktails.
While Rasta Pasta is a complete meal on its own, it's also delicious served with a salad. These are some of my favorites:
- Sourdough Panzanella Bread Salad
- Tomato and Red Onion Salad
- Hearts of Palm Salad
- Mango Chickpea Salad
- Burma Superstar Tea Leaf Salad
Leftover pasta can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. For best results, do not freeze.
- Omit the vegan meatballs for a faster weeknight meal.
- Or substitute jerk-seasoned tofu, soy curls, or plant-based chicken alternative.
- Mason says the walnut balls can be formed into burgers. Coat them with oat flour and pan fry over medium-high heat.
- Make it as spicy or as mild as you like by choosing different heat levels of curry powder and jerk seasoning.
- Make it gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta, breadcrumbs, and oat flour.
This pasta dish features green, yellow, and red bell peppers, which are the colors of the Rastafarian flag. It was originally created by Chef Lorraine Washington in 1985: "I was preparing a meal for some construction workers when I placed some ackee on tomato sauce on a bed of home-made fettuccini. The Rasta colours evident in the dish inspired one of the carpenters to name it Rasta Pasta. Another pointed out that the fettuccini was the dreadlocks and so Rasta Pasta was born."
Yes, this creamy pasta dish was first served at Paradise Yard Restaurant in Negril, Jamaica.
According to Britannica, jerk refers to a style of cooking in which food is coated in spices and slow-cooked. The seasoning is typically made from allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers.
More pasta recipes
And for even more recipes, join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipes Facebook group for support, inspiration, and fun.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Vegan Rasta Pasta with Walnut Meatballs
For the Walnut Meatballs:
- 3 Tablespoons coconut oil, (or olive oil) for sautéing
- 2 cups chopped button mushrooms
- 2 small onions, sliced
- 1 cup walnut halves, soaked in 3 cups of water for at least 30 minutes
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 dates, pitted
- 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 Tablespoon liquid aminos
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 Tablespoon flax meal, soaked in 2 tablespoons of hot water for 3 minutes
- 1 Tablespoon curry powder
- 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup oat flour, plus 2 Tablespoons
- ¼ cup fine bread crumbs, (gluten-free, if needed)
- 2 Tablespoons Jamaican jerk seasoning
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ cup neutral oil, for frying
For the sauce:
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 Tablespoon Madras curry powder, (or Thai curry powder, any color)
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk, (13.5 ounces)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 Tablespoon tamari, (or liquid aminos or soy sauce)
- 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon organic sugar
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- salt, to taste
For the pasta:
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil, (or coconut oil) for sautéing
- ½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- ½ yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
- ½ green bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 pound linguini, (gluten-free, if needed) cooked al dente according to package directions (or substitute spaghetti or your favorite pasta shape)
- To make the walnut balls, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and onions and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a food processor. Add the drained walnuts, garlic, dates, nutritional yeast, liquid aminos, thyme, flax meal mixed with hot water, curry powder, smoked paprika, and black pepper. Pulse until the nuts have been chopped fine but you still have texture.
- Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and add the oat flour, bread crumbs, jerk seasoning, and seasoning salt. Form the mixture into twenty 1.5-inch balls.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Heat the neutral oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the walnut balls, until a thin brown crust is formed, 5 minutes.
- Transfer the balls to the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until the form an outer brown crust.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot heat. Add the curry and heat through, about 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, onion, garlic, soy sauce, cilantro, allspice, sugar, and onion powder and stir to combine. Taste and adjust for salt. Bring to a boil and stir until the mixture is fairly creamy.
- To finish the pasta, heat olive oil in a wok over high heat. Sauté the bell peppers until slightly tender, about 2 minutes. Add the pasta and heat through, tossing to combine, about 4 minutes. Add the sauce, to taste, and top with the walnut balls.
- To serve, layer the balls over pasta and top off with sauce.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.