This amazing Ital Stew recipe is my version of the popular traditional Jamaican Rastafarian dish. Potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and kidney beans are simmered in coconut milk, spices, and herbs!

Ital stew peas is a dish from Jamaica that is related to the Rastafarian movement. The word “ital” comes from the word “vital,” and the idea behind it is similar to that of “kosher.” Ital cuisine should specifically be vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, unrefined, and derived from the land.

Some people say that nothing except pure sea salt should be used, even iodized salt. Meat is not ital because it is thought to be dead, but some Rastafarians do eat small fish.

This dish has a lot of different ways to make it, just like my Callaloo recipe from earlier this year. Typically, it’s made in a coconut milk broth with a variety of starchy items (I use cabbage, carrot, potatoes, and kidney beans. To make a tasty recipe ital, you don’t need to use all available starches; just make do with what you have.

Funny enough, I learned from my study that this dish isn’t regarded as a particularly great stew, which nearly made me decide against trying it. Every recipe I discovered instructed you to add all of the veggies at once, which probably produced a mushy, mixed, and rather confusing stew, which may be the reason it is not well accepted.

I used a different approach and added the items in increments, ensuring that they were all perfectly cooked by the end of the meal. This additional care made a big difference in the final product. In fact, we’re going to make this dish a regular because it’s easy, quick, and filling. It’s the perfect summer stew when you don’t want meat.

Ital Stew Recipe

What Is Ital Stew?

Ital Stew is a Jamaican dish from the Rastafarian movement, traditionally. this stew doesn’t contain meat or processed foods. It is made from vegetables, herbs, and spices cooked in coconut milk

Ital Stew reminds me of my Jamaican Vegan Rundown and Jackfruit Stew

Why You’ll Love This Ital Stew?

You’ll be making this filling ital stew over and over again for the following reasons, to name a few:

  • Alternatives can be used in place of the starches, and veggies in this recipe, among many other alterations and replacements.
  • Thanks to the spices, herbs, and vegetables, it is flavorful.
  • It provides necessary vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber.
  • The next day is even better, so you can prepare it in advance.
  • It’s perfect for a family lunch and is kid-approved!
  • Truly warming, hearty, and reassuring—perfect for the chilly months!

Recipe’s Required Ingredients

  • Coconut oil: I used coconut oil for making this ital stew. Coconut oil is preferred because of its many health advantages. In the absence of coconut oil, you can substitute olive or avocado oil.
  • Onion: In this Ital stew, any type of onion tastes wonderful. Although red or white onions might also work well, I chose brown onions.
  • Garlic: As for garlic, you simply can’t miss the garlicky flavor! If you don’t have fresh ones you can use dried ones.
  • Green Onions: You get a grassy yet savory flavor by adding the green onion. If you don’t have green onions, you can use scallions as well.
  • Celery: Celery is a nutrient-dense vegetable. It has a salty, somewhat sour flavor when cooked. Its unusual flavor adds to the soup’s appeal.
  • Tomato paste: Tomato paste is umami-rich. It is a great cheap way to thicken and add color, and flavor to pasta sauces, soups, stews, and other semi-liquid dishes. To avoid an excessive tomato flavor or an acidic edge in the sauce, don’t add too much.



  • Dried thyme: The thyme imparts an irresistible aroma to the dish. You can use dried thyme or fresh thyme in this stew.
  • Italian seasoning: Italian seasoning is a dried herb blend that gives this stew taste as well as aroma.
  • Allspice berries add a mouthwatering earthy flavor.
  • Bay leaves: bay leaves add a robust flavor to this Jamaican Ital stew.
  • Bragg’s liquid aminos: Made from soya beans, this sauce will fulfill the need for protein. It is a crucial ingredient in vegan recipes, and I simply love it. It is also gluten-free, so no worries there.


  • Potatoes: If you want the potato to remain intact in the stew, choose a waxy kind as opposed to a floury one. Sweet potatoes can be used as an alternative to ordinary potatoes.
  • Carrots: because it adds a hint of nutrition, flavor, and sweetness.
  • Green cabbage: In order to boost the nutritious value of this traditional recipe, I added cabbage. The result was delicious and creamy.
  • Coconut milk: The stew will be especially creamy if you use full-fat coconut milk, but if you’re watching your weight, light coconut milk is a good substitute.
  • Water: necessary to begin the stew, of course. Start with 4 cups water, and if more is required, add more along the way.
  • Red kidney beans: red kidney beans add extra protein to this dish.
  • Soy Curls™: used as a vegan substitute for chicken
  • Salt, to taste: Adding salt to the soup helps to bring the flavors together and make the dish complete.
  • Scotch Bonnet Pepper – adds that authentic Jamaican flavor, however, habanero pepper is a great substitute. 

How To Make Ital Stew?

  1. As I mentioned before this Ital Stew Recipe is my version. The traditional Jamaican version is cooked with tropical root vegetables such as yam and taro (I don’t have any on hand so I substitute them with potatoes).  It shouldn’t be cooked with iodized salt but I added some Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and sea salt.
  2. Honestly, I love salt and have tried to wean myself off but have failed numerous times. Feel free to omit salt and Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. I also added Butler’s Soy Curls which are made from whole non-GMO soybeans.
  3. Finally, the Ital Stew recipe would call for only local seasonings but I included tomato paste and Italian seasoning for a boost of flavor. I just can’t help myself.
  4. After adding all the ingredients, cook the stew over medium heat until the veggies are tender. The results were simply mind-blowing, I couldn’t get enough of this stew! My hubby enjoyed his so much and told me to call it Ital stew. I told him I had already planned to call it just that! He said it was spot on.
  5. If you have never had Ital stew this is a must-try, it is delicious served alone or over steamed rice.
Ital Stew Recipe

What Do I Serve Ital Stew With?

Similar to the original meal, you may serve this vegan version of stewed with white rice (I prefer Jasmine rice), basmati rice, or brown rice. If you don’t want to consume rice, feel free to enjoy this as a stew, especially if dumplings and veggies are included—-just don’t thicken it at the end.

Normally, it is not served with any additional foods, but you can serve it with:

Bread: warm, crusty bread or hard dough bread from Jamaica.

Crackers, such as Jamaican water crackers or soup crackers.

Storage Suggestion

Your leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days if you place them in a container with a lid. After a few days, the stew is even more delicious! This is due to the fact that by the time it is infused, the flavors have actually melted and blended. Consequently, this dish is excellent for preparing in advance!

To reheat the stew, just put it in a bowl that can go in the microwave and heat it for a few minutes. To properly disperse the heat, stir it halfway through. Simply add a little bit of unsweetened dairy-free milk, vegetable broth, or water if it’s too thick.

Recipe Notes And Tips

  • This dish can be prepared as either a soup or a stew, depending on your preferred consistency. Simply add an additional (1 cup) of vegetable stock if you want it to be more liquid.
  • The stew can be made spicier by adding a Scotch bonnet pepper, which can be found in most Caribbean markets. A teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes is a suitable replacement.
  • Feel free to add beans or pulses; if meat is included, the dish won’t be considered authentic (you were warned).
  • When using salt, utilize clean salt instead of processed white salt, such as kosher, sea, or pink salt.
  • To maintain the authenticity of the recipe, you can use fresh herbs, such as thyme, celery, etc… are favored.
  • Allspice is another name for pimento berries.
  • Cut the potatoes and carrots into equal-sized pieces to ensure that they all cook properly.
  • For the best results, use room-temperature coconut milk that has been thoroughly shaken, before adding it to the already-heated pot.
  • Never skip the taste test! It can be extremely spicy depending on the type of Jamaican spice used. Therefore, it is preferable to start out with less and then make changes.


  • Corn: Cut the corn kernels into quarters and stir them into the stew.
  • Ground Provision – To vary up the stew and give wonderful nourishment, add sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, dasheen, eddo, or cassava.
  • Substitute the soy curls with 1 1/2 cups of kidney beans.
  • You can include additional vegetables like cauliflower florets or courgettes.
  • Callaloo is a leafy green that looks like spinach and is used in many traditional stews and soups from Jamaica. If you can locate it, add it during the final three to four minutes of cooking. As an alternative, you may include some baby kale or spinach.

More Delicious Jamaican Recipes


Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Make This Recipe Ahead of Time?

Vegetables can be prepared (washed and peeled) the night before or in advance. The most popular method for making the soup ahead of time is to prepare it the day before and eat the leftovers the next day.

Where Can I Find the Ingredients Listed?

Visit your neighborhood Caribbean market or West Indian food market. You may also acquire many of these components at an Asian food shop. If none are available where you live, look for alternatives on the list of substitutions and modifications above.

Give this recipe a try. I’m sure you’re going to adore this Recipe!  And, don’t forget to share your feedback in the comments!

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(Per 100g)
  • Energy: 217 kcal / 907 kJ
  • Fat: 7.9 g
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Carbs: 33 g

Cook Time

  • Preparation: 20 min
  • Cooking: 35 min
  • Ready in: 55 min
  • For: 4 servings



  1. Heat oil in a large Dutch pot on medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, green onions, celery, thyme, Italian seasoning, allspice berries, and bay leaves, and cook frequently stirring for another minute or until fragrant.
  3. Stir in Bragg's liquid aminos, tomato paste, potatoes, carrots, and cabbage. Cook for about a minute, stirring frequently.
  4. Add coconut milk, water, kidney beans and soy curls, and scotch bonnet pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer.
  5. Cook for 30 minutes or until stew is thick.
  6. Season with salt to taste.


Ital Stew in a bowl, overhead shot, vegan, gluten-free
Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.