Cook This Now: Oldways Jollof Rice

By Michele T. RSS Mon, February 8, 2016

This recipe is from the A Taste of African Heritage series, a free six-lesson nutrition and cooking program presented by Oldways that we host at the Culinary Literacy Center. The series brings the savory tradition of eating a delicious, plant-based diet that was high in flavor and naturally low in cholesterol, sugars, and excess sodium back to life to improve health and well-being. Many of today’s healthiest foods have their roots in African heritage—the following recipe is a traditional West African tomato-based rice dish. Starting in 2015, Philadelphia became a hub for the A Taste of African Heritage series, and is now offered three times a year at 10 sites. For more information, go to

Oldways Jollof Rice

Serves 8


  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained (save liquid)
  • 4 cups liquid (see steps below)
  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large carrot, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • ¼ head of green cabbage, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes


1. Drain liquid from the diced tomatoes into a measuring cup and add enough water to equal 4 cups of liquid total.

2. Put liquid in a medium-size pot with the brown rice.

3. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until rice is tender to your taste, about 30-35 minutes.

4. While rice cooks, heat the oil in a large pan.

5. Cook the onion and garlic until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

6. Add chopped carrots and cabbage, tomato paste, tomatoes, and spices.

7. Simmer with the lid on for a few minutes on low heat, until the vegetables are done to your taste.

8. Adjust spices to taste.

9. When rice is done, mix it with the vegetables, or simply serve the rice with the other ingredients on top.

10. Garnish with a little parsley, if you’d like.

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