Is Jollof Rice Vegetarian- Pro Food Recipes

Last Updated on January 5, 2024 by Amanda P. Brown

Yes, Jollof Rice can be a tasty vegetarian dish for plant-based enthusiasts. 

Looking at its roots, traditional Jollof Rice is a lively mix of rice, meats, and savory stock. The vegetarian version changes this classic by using plant-based alternatives instead of meat. This adaptation caters to various dietary choices and fits the global trend toward plant-centric living. Exploring the differences between traditional and vegetarian Jollof Rice adds cultural appreciation to this culinary journey.

However, if you are still baffled with Is jollof rice vegetarian? Then, you can check the simple recipe below. Thus, you will get your answer along with guidelines for making vegetarian jollof rice. Moreover, you can get an idea of what you can serve with it to double the enjoyment.

Is jollof rice vegetarian
Is jollof rice vegetarian

Is Jollof Rice Vegan?

Jollof Rice is a classic West African meal. This jollof of rice is a special rice of the Jolof empire. It is simple to make a wonderful vegetarian version. The jollof rice vegan version ensures you do not miss this wonderful culinary dish just because you are vegan or vegetarian. 

The traditional recipe combines rice, meats, and a flavorful stock, while the vegetarian adaptation introduces plant-based alternatives only. This shift accommodates various dietary preferences and connects with the global move towards plant-focused diets.

In crafting the traditional Jollof Rice, gather ingredients like long-grain rice, assorted meats, tomato paste, fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, stock, vegetable oil, and seasonings.

For veggie jollof rice, substitute meats with plant-based options like Tofu, mushrooms, or lentils. The goal is to maintain rich taste and texture while embracing vegetarian principles. 

However, Vegetarian Jollof Rice’s popularity has risen, appealing to a broader audience with its vibrant flavors. Moreover, It has become a favorite among vegans and vegetarians. This showcases the adaptability and love for meatless alternatives.

You can customize the vegetarian version by experimenting with different vegetables and proteins. This will provide a delectable culinary trip without sacrificing flavor richness.

Vegetarian Jollof Rice Recipe

Below, you will get a simple vegan jollof rice recipe idea. Follow the steps, make, and enjoy this incredible dish. 


  • 2 – large onions
  • 1/4 cup – vegetable oil
  • 1 – ginger (thumb size )
  • 4 cloves – garlic
  • 1-2 scotch bonnet peppers
  • 1 – red bell pepper (large)
  • 3 – tomatoes (medium)
  • 2 tbsp – vegetable better than bouillon paste
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp anise seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 fresh sprig of rosemary
  • 2 calabash nutmegs optional or sub with 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
  • 2.5 cups – jasmin rice (long grain)
  • 1.5 cups – water
  • 1/2 cup – tomato paste
  • 1/8 tsp – baking soda 

Cooking Process 

  1. Cook the scotch bonnet pepper, tomatoes, and red bell pepper in another pot on medium to high flame for at least 15 minutes before preparing the rest of the ingredients. You need to begin cooking the peppers and tomato as soon as possible.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a separate saucepan for a few minutes.
  3. Finely cut 1⁄2 an onion and sauté in heated oil until tender and transparent.
  4. When the onion becomes softened, stir in the curry powder. When it smells aromatic, add your tomato paste and sauté it in the hot oil until 5 min pass.
  5. While the tomato paste is heating, combine the garlic, ginger, and remaining onions.
  6. Cook for 5-10 minutes after adding the ginger, onion, and garlic combination to the saucepan. The water that comes from the onion will evaporate while they cook.
  7. That tomato and pepper purée’s water content would have fallen dramatically when the onions had cooked down. Stir in the purée and simmer for 5 min over a medium-low flame. While the rest of the ingredients are simmering, pound all the spices (excluding the bay leaf) into a powder.
  8. After 5 minutes, add the whole spices, better than bouillon paste, and 3/4 cup water and thoroughly combine. Cook for around 15 minutes over medium-low heat until the oil used in the stew begins to separate.
  9. Taste the stew to ensure it is not overly seasoned or salted. This stage is essential to guarantee that the finished jollof is not monotonous. Season the stew with extra salt or bouillon cube/paste if necessary.
  10. Wash your rice thoroughly. Because this is jasmine rice, thoroughly wash it to remove any excess starch that may cause the rice to stick.
  11. Include your rinsed jasmine rice and stir until thoroughly combined. Turn the heat down and lid the saucepan. Then, leave the rice to simmer alongside the stew for about 5 minutes.
  12. After 5 minutes, include the remaining water (approximately 1/2 cup) and thoroughly combine. Use a parchment paper piece to catch the steam between the cover and the pot. And ensure that the rice is thoroughly cooked. Let the rice cook for 15 min without uncovering the pot.
  13. After 15 min, you will observe that some water has settled on top of the parchment paper; drop the water back into the pot and thoroughly mix the rice to ensure it does not burn. Then, re-cover the pot with parchment paper and continue to boil the rice for a further 20 min (uninterrupted) before inspecting the rice.
  14. Check the rice after 20 min to determine if it’s done. If the rice is still hard/uncooked, lid the pot and cook for 5-10 minutes until it is done.
  15. The rice jollof is now done. Enjoy with a protein side and coleslaw.

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What to Serve With Jollof Rice Vegetarian?

Vegetable jollof rice with delightful pairings boosts the taste experience and offers a full meal. Fried plantains add a sweet note to the savory rice, while grilled Tofu and vegan meatballs offer protein.

Crisp vegetable salad provides crunch, and Asian-inspired peanut slaw gives a tangy touch. These little additions transform your dinner into a well-rounded and delightful meal for your taste sensations.

Fried Plantains

Fried plantains are an iconic and delicious dish prepared from ripe plantains. Plantains are similar to bananas but larger and starchier. They are sliced and then fried until they turn golden brown.

The end result is a delectable blend of savory and sweet flavors. It has a crispy outside and a delicate, sweet interior. This dish is enjoyed in various cuisines globally and serves as a versatile side dish or snack.

Whether served on its own or paired with other dishes, fried plantains add a unique and satisfying element to the culinary experience.

Grilled Tofu

Grilled Tofu is a dish made by cooking Tofu on a grill or grill pan. Bean curd is another name for Tofu. It is a soy product that has been pressed into solid blocks. This tofu recipe adds a smoky flavor and appealing texture to the otherwise soft and bland Tofu.

To prepare Grilled Tofu, the tofu blocks are typically sliced. Then, they are grilled until they develop grill marks and a delightful smokiness. To improve the flavor of the Tofu, you can season it with different spices, sauces, or marinades.

Grilled Tofu is popular for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet. It provides a protein-rich alternative to meat. Pairing Grilled Tofu with dishes like Vegetarian Jollof Rice adds depth and variety to the overall meal.

Vegan Meatballs

Vegan Meatballs are plant-based alternatives to traditional meatballs, crafted without any animal products. These savory spheres are often created from a blend of plant-based components such as black beans, lentils, and chickpeas or soy-based goods such as Tofu and tempeh.

To achieve a meatball-like texture, breadcrumbs, oats, or grains are often added, along with an array of herbs and spices for flavor.

Vegan meatballs are formed into spherical balls and baked, fried, or cooked in a tasty sauce.

The result is a satisfying, cruelty-free version of the classic meatball. They will pair well with your rice jollof.

Veggie Salad

To make a Veggie Salad, chop fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and bell peppers. To make a mild dressing, combine olive oil, vinegar, salt, lemon juice, and pepper.

Drizzle over vegetables, stir, then top with seeds, nuts, or cheese for added texture. Mix well and savor the delightful, healthy blend. 

This salad perfectly complements dishes like Vegetarian Jollof Rice. Get creative with veggie choices and toppings for a refreshing experience. Enjoy the vivid flavors and rich textures of this quick and healthy salad!

Read More: Healthy French Salad Recipes

Asian Peanut Slaw

Asian Peanut Slaw is a crunchy and flavorful salad that perfectly complements Vegetarian Jollof Rice. To make this refreshing slaw, shred cabbage, carrots, and bell peppers. Toss in chopped peanuts for crunch. 

The dressing is a zesty blend of peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, and a touch of sweetness. Mix the dressing with the veggies, and you need to ensure a generous coating. It’s ready to serve. Now you can serve this slaw bowl with a flavorful Vegetarian Jollof Rice plate. This will offer you a harmonious balance of textures and tastes.


Why is It Called Jollof Rice?

Jollof rice is named after the Jolof Empire, an old region in West Africa. The name reflects the cultural roots and historical influence of the Jolof Empire on this beloved West African cuisine. It’s a tasty dish with deep roots in the culture of the subcontinent. People make it in different ways, keeping the tradition alive. 

Is Jollof Rice Indian?

No, jollof rice is not an Indian dish. However, its diverse and flavorful profile has made it appealing to individuals worldwide, including Indians. The unique blend of ingredients and aromatic spices in jollof rice transcends cultural boundaries. This dish offers a delightful culinary experience for people with varied tastes.

Which Country Has the Best Jollof?

Nigeria is renowned for having the best Jollof Rice. This West African nation’s Jollof is often considered a national treasure. This recipe boasts a perfect blend of flavors. However, The dish is prepared with long-grain rice, tomatoes, onions, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. This showcases Nigeria’s culinary prowess and is a source of national pride.

Final Verdict

Is jollof rice vegetarian? Yes, Jollof rice is a vibrant West African dish. It can be enjoyed by vegetarians and vegans with a few tweaks. Take substitute lentils, Tofu, or healthy mushrooms for meat. Experiment with vegetables and spices to personalize the flavor.

Moreover, You can pair your veggie jollof rice with fried plantains, grilled Tofu, vegan meatballs, veggie salad, or Asian peanut slaw for a complete and satisfying meal. 

However, Although Nigeria’s Jollof is often praised, the beauty of this dish lies in its adaptability and ability to cater to diverse preferences. This makes it a culinary delight for all.

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