Chef Jamika Pessoa Amps Up Vegan Ramen With Caribbean Flavor

Chef-Jamika-Pessoa
Image: courtesy of subject

Starting her professional career as a marketing executive, Jamika Pessoa traded in her business suit for a chef’s coat, pursued culinary school, and has never looked back. Today, Chef Pessoa is the co-host of the nationally syndicated daytime TV show ‘The Good Dish’ where she is known to elevate and add unexpected twists to everyday recipes. 

A self-described Southern Belle with Caribbean roots, Pessoa’s cooking style is “caribbean heat meets southern sweet,” and her delicious recipes offer mouth-watering spices and bold flavors for any occasion. Jamika’s biggest culinary influence was her grandmother, who showed her how to cook great meals by adding a “pinch of this,” and a “splash of that,” and how to host a great party by making sure that everyone at her table felt well-fed and well-loved.

In honor of Earth Day, she is walking us through a recipe for “Rasta Ramen”, a scrumptious twist on the classic noodle dish, that “amps up the flavor and the heat without the meat!” Pessoa says, “This recipe is a light, colorful, and delicious segue into vegan cuisine. Everything I do in this recipe intentionally imparts more and more flavor. From first sauteing the scallions to create a flavorful base, to crisping the veggies and ramen so that char gives flare and texture, to spicing things up with jerk seasoning, and finishing it all with coconut milk, tamari and nutritional yeast for a creamy cheesy feel, this dish has lots of depth any vegan or non-vegan will appreciate.”

Read on for this savory yet healthy recipe that makes for a great weekend dinner and cooks in under half an hour. 

Vegan Rasta Pasta

Image: courtesy of subject

2 servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Ingredients:

2 packages of ramen noodles

3 tbsp vegetable oil

2 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces, plus more for garnish

3 cloves of garlic, sliced

1 carrot, diced

½ medium onion, diced

½ red bell pepper, diced

½ green bell pepper, diced

½ yellow bell pepper, diced

1 heaping tbsp Jamaican jerk spice seasoning

½ tsp dried thyme or 2-3 fresh sprigs

½ cup unsweetened coconut milk

2 tbsp tamari

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

1-2 tbsp of nutritional yeast (optional)

Directions:

Dice carrots, onions, and peppers. Slice garlic. Set aside. Cook ramen according to the package instructions. Drain, and set aside to cool on a kitchen towel.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat and add in the oil. Add the scallions, cook for 1-2 minutes. Add in the garlic, carrots, onions, bell peppers, and lightly season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, stir occasionally to ensure vegetables don’t burn.

Add in the ramen and toss with vegetables to combine. Stir in Jerk seasoning and thyme. Stir well until seasoning is evenly distributed and then leave undisturbed for 1 to 2 minutes to get a little crispy. Toss again and let cook for an additional minute undisturbed.

Pour in coconut milk and tamari and toss well with ramen and vegetables. 

Spoon the noodles into two bowls and top with remaining sliced scallions, cilantro, and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast if desired. Enjoy!

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