Gone are the days when I could spend hours experimenting in the kitchen. Life with a toddler means that more often than not I have zero time to whip up dinner but I also need something to keep my energies up in order to be able to run after her all day long. So what’s better than a spicy tray bake that requires 10-15 minutes prep at most?
First of all, here’s why jerk vegetable tray bake with fluffy turmeric rice on the side is just too good not to make:
- It’s super EASY. It’s one of those recipes where you just need to chop everything up, open a few tins, add the amazing spices and let Mr Oven work its magic. Let me put it out there: it’s a recipe for lazy cooks who want to enjoy the good stuff. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
- It has SUPER POWERS. Eh? No, I haven’t lost the plot. Hear me out. The spicy goodness of jerk seasoning makes me think of BBQs in the sun and beach holidays – so by taking a mouthful of today’s dish and closing my eyes I can quickly teleport myself away from freezing Yorkshire and onto a beach in the Caribbean. Magic.
- It’s totally WHOLESOME. Slightly charred vegetables plus humble chickpeas, beans and rice all brought together by tingling spices and the zing of the lime juice. It’s just one of those dishes that’s good for your body and soul. And anyone who says vegetarian cooking is boring will be sent to the naughty step until the end of time.
For this tray bake, I used a combination of peppers (green and red, because I like mixing the sweet and slightly bitter flavour of the two), courgettes, chestnut mushrooms and red onions but it’s really one of those recipes that allows you to use up any vegetable that you may have left in the fridge towards the end of the week.
Then come the pulses: the little chickpeas keep their texture well while the black beans become all soft and lovely. Plus you can’t have a Caribbean-inspired dish without black beans, right? It’s just the perfect balance when it comes to both flavour and nutrition.
Next on the list, the star of the show – jerk spice. You have two options here, my friends:
1. Buy some next time you go food shopping (most supermarkets stock it these days) or simply order it from Amazon and get it delivered to you.
2. Make your own spice mix using this recipe from Immaculate Bites and store in a jar.
And before I forget: Cajun seasoning is also a good replacement for jerk seasoning if you’ve already got some in. You may just want to reduce the quantity to 2 teaspoons as Cajun tends to be hotter. Or, if you’re like me, stick to 3 teaspoons and take all the heat. Gimme!
Technically, you can serve this jerk vegetable tray bake with anything you want but I think that a side of long grain rice just works best. The turmeric, which I simply add to the cooking water, is very subtle in terms of flavour but gives the rice a lovely and vibrant colour. It’s no secret that our enjoyment of food is about so much more than how it tastes.
And the lime juice? It totally makes the dish, with its sharpness cutting through the heat of the spices. So don’t you dare forgetting to grab a lime or two when you go shopping for your ingredients.
Before I leave you with the recipe, I have a fun fact for you:
I made this spicy tray bake one of the days when our daughter has her dinner at nursery as I tend to do whenever we fancy something that is a little too hot for a toddler. Anyway – she was playing away as my husband and I were having dinner until she decided that she wanted to try what we were eating, as it often happens. Well, she ended up scoffing most of the chickpeas on my plate! So much for it being too spicy for her! We’ve always been laid back since we started weaning but it just goes to show how kids will often eat things we don’t expect them to. Including my yoga mat – but that’s another story for another day.
So this jerk vegetable tray bake got the thumbs up from my toddler – it is something you’re thinking of trying too?Print
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C
- Place the courgettes, peppers, onion wedges and mushrooms in a roasting tray then toss with 1 tablespoon of oil and a pinch of salt.
- Spread out in an even layer and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes until soft.
- Add the drained black beans, the chickpeas, the jerk seasoning and another tbsp of olive oil to the tray, mix well and then return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, cook the rice according to package instructions, adding the turmeric to the cooking water.
- Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over and enjoy hot.