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Jamaican cook-along: Rasta pasta and jerk salad

Home » Project » Jamaican cook-along: Rasta pasta and jerk salad


  • Chef: Nadisha
  • Type: Jamaica
  • Serves: 4
  • Time: Prep: 15 minutes, cooking time: 20 minutes
  • Cost: £6.50 for the whole meal


As part of our series of online ‘cultural cook-alongs’, Nadisha, one of our members showed us how to make her version of rasta pasta and jerk salad, which was a big hit with our participants. She explained that this Jamaican pasta dish, was named ‘rasta’ because of the colours in the dish – red, yellow (or gold!) and green.


Photo credit: Nadisha


Rasta pasta


  • 400g of penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil
  • 3 spring onions/scallions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 50g of cheese, grated (optional)
  • Half a cup of milk (dairy or plant based)
  • 2 tsp of thyme (dried or fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon of all purpose seasoning
  • Black pepper
  • Half a medium red bell pepper, sliced
  • Half a medium yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • Half medium green bell pepper, sliced



Cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain as soon as it’s cooked and set aside.

Place a large frying pan or wok on the stovetop over a low heat. Add the (vegan) butter or olive oil then add scallions, chopped garlic and ginger, cook for a couple of minutes and then add the sliced peppers and cook until the mixture starts to brown slightly.

Using a fork gradually stir in the milk, quickly followed by cheese (if using) and thyme. Season to taste and also add the all purpose seasoning and a pinch of black pepper. Cook on a medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often until the cheese has melted. Add a little water if the sauce seems too thick.

Add the sauce to the cooked pasta – whilst the pasta is still warm, and gently stir until the pasta is completely coated with the sauce. 



Jerk salad



  • 1 half of red, green and yellow peppers (sliced or diced)
  • Half to a whole cabbage (shredded)
  • 2-3 carrots (sliced or diced)
  • Half a cucumber, sliced and then cut into quarters
  • Handful of baby tomatoes (sliced)
  • 1 scallion (spring onion)
  • Sautéed okra (chopped)  Optional
  • 1 to 2 tsp of jerk seasoning (you can buy this from African shops, or if you have the time, follow the recipe below to prepare your own)



Chop all your vegetables (as above) and place in a large mixing bowl. Stir through the jerk seasoning.


Jerk seasoning recipe



  • 2 medium onion 
  • 4-5 scallions (spring onions)
  • 2 deseeded scotch Bonnet peppers
  • Half a tsp of nutmeg
  • 3-4 Sprigs of thyme
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 -2 tsp of pimento seeds
  • 1tsp of peppercorns
  • 4-8 Garlic Cloves
  • A thumb sized piece of ginger
  • 1 tbsp of white vinegar
  • A pinch of crushed chilli
  • A few drops of soya sauce
  • 2-4 tbsp of oil



  1. Roughly chop the onion, spring onions, garlic, ginger and chillis. Add these to your blender or food processor, alongside all the other ingredients. Pulse until smooth and there are no chunks. You may need to scrape down the sides of the blender with a spoon and pulse again a couple more times..
  2. Store in a sterilised container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.