Spiced and cooked in flavorful tomato and pepper purée, Nigerian jollof rice is a well-loved, classic West African versatile side dish that the whole family loves.
This easy vegan side dish easily becomes a one-pot meal by adding chicken, similar to Bosnian-style one-pot chicken rice dinner.
For a meatless entree version, add carrots, peas, and celery. Whichever way you make it, it provides a burst of flavor your friends and family will love.
What goes with Nigerian Jollof Rice?
Jollof goes perfectly with Nigerian suya kebabs, but it would complement any meat or fish, stewed or grilled. It's savory and so satisfying.
Try it with:
- Colombian chicken stew
- Egyptian grilled lamb chops
- Lamb-stuffed roasted eggplant
- Estonian honey-mustard pork roast
- Easy baked honey-glazed pork chops
Puréed vegetables flavor the grains but are not visible, thus making it a kid-friendly dish. Just adjust the spices for the heat level.
In my quest to simplify recipes from around the world, I discovered that it is quite easy cooking the globe. The main base for all dishes is spices and herbs.
Stock up on spices and explore the culinary world from your own kitchen. It really is as simple as that.
You can have chicken and rice every day of the week but use different spices and you'll have a new dish each time. Trust me on that!
Ingredients for jollof:
- Rice: best to use Basmati or Jasmine
- Vegetables: tomatoes and bell pepper
- Aromatics: onion, garlic, and tomato paste
- Spices: curry powder, cayenne pepper, ground ginger, smoked paprika
- Herbs: thyme and bay leaves
- Seasonings: salt
- Fat: oil
How to make Nigerian jollof rice?
*Keep scrolling to get the full (printable) recipe, ingredient amounts, and more tips.
- Purée the tomatoes, onions, and pepper in a food processor.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté spices and garlic. Stir in the rice, puréed vegetables, tomato paste, water, and salt.
- Cover the pot and cook until rice is al dente.
- Garnish the dish with cilantro or parsley before serving.
More international rice dishes to try:
- SULTANA YELLOW RICE
- KURDISH RICE PILAF
- BOSNIAN DJUVEC RICE
- COLOMBIAN PORK AND SAUSAGE RISOTTO
- QUICK AND EASY SHRIMP RISOTTO
- ITALIAN RICE TIMBALE
Nigerian Jollof Rice
- Food processor or a blender
- Large saucepan
- 2 medium tomatoes roughly chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper diced
- 1 onion roughly chopped
- ¼ cup oil
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne more if you like it hotter
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 cups rice
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Purée the tomatoes, onions, and pepper in a food processor.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add spices and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the rice, puréed vegetables, tomato paste, water, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low; cover the pot and cook until rice is al dente, about 20-30 minutes (don't overcook). If the rice seems a little dry, add ¼ cup water and cover, which will allow it to steam through.
- Garnish the rice with cilantro or parsley before serving.
- Substitute cayenne pepper with African hot ground chili pepper.
- Add ½ small habanero or scotch bonnet pepper for some serious heat.
- Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
This was really tasty! Thank you for sharing this recipe. We followed it to the letter tonight and while the cayenne was a bit spicy for our taste it was still really flavorful, thank you!!
Awe, so happy to read this, Amanda! Made my day. 😀
Carol Cook says
YUM!!! This looks delicious. Pinned.
Many thanks, Carol!
When is the tomato paste added? It's never mentioned in the directions.
Oops, you're right! You add it with everything else. I've updated the recipe card. Thanks for stopping in and bringing this to my attention!
Miz Helen says
This rice looks fantastic! Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with us at Full Plate Thursday!
Much appreciated, Miz Helen!
Lynda Hardy says
This looks beautiful and so flavorful! Thanks for sharing with Party in Your PJs! 🙂
Thank you much, Lynda!
April J Harris says
This looks delicious, Jas! It would be lovely either as a stand alone dish or as a side with so many things (including your lovely kebabs!). Pinning and sharing. Thank you so much for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party! Hope to see you again this week. Have a lovely week ahead!
Thank you, April! I was surprised how much the ingredients flavor the rice. I learn something every day :). Hope your week is treating you kindly. Hugs
Update: with some kid friendly changes, this was amazing. 5 stars!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! So glad you tried it and liked it. Hugs
Colleen - Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice says
Pinned! This will be a great side for this summer!
it is such a flavorful side 🙂
This looks and sounds so flavourful, Jas! Your photos have my mouth watering. Thanks so much for sharing this with us at Fiesta Friday this week. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Thank you much, Julianna! Enjoy your weekend as well. x
Jann Olson says
I love trying foods that we don't have every day. Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
Me too, Jann! I always preach: try new foods! Just ask my newsletter subscribers, lol.
This looks delightful, and I'll have to add it to my list of things to try. Thanks for sharing on To Grandma's House We Go!
This sounds delicious, but your recipes always do. Rice is a favorite around our home so this is going to be enjoyable. Thank you.
Awe, thanks so much, Leanna! Hugs
Oh, I knew this was your recipe when I clicked on it! You always have a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. I am always looking for good meat free dishes my kids will eat...I think I just need to leave out the cayenne pepper and take the smoked paprika down a notch! Happy Easter to you 🙂
Thank you so much, Marissa!You made my day 😀 Yes, no cayenne pepper for the kiddos and smoked paprika is not spicy, just adds flavor but it's a personal preference. Hope your Easter was great!
Healthy World Cuisine says
Loving this rice dish Jas. So simple but so full of flavor. Must try your delicious Beef Kebabs to go with it. Wishing you a super week!
Thank you much, Bobbi! It exceeded my expectations 🙂 Have a happy Easter!