Red Red (Vegan Bean Stew)

By Zoe Adjonyoh – January 26, 2024

Red Red (Vegan Bean Stew)

Red Red, so good they named it twice. This dish is so called, I’m told, because it’s coloured red twice – once from the earthy nutty deep red of the palm oil and a second time from the bright tart tomatoes. Some say it’s named Red Red because the accompanying plantain is fried in Palm oil and that’s where the second ‘Red’ comes from.


  • 7 ounces dried black-eyed peas or 1 (14-ounce) can organic black-eyed peas
  • 5 tablespoons sustainable palm oil or carotene oil
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh root ginger, finely grated (unpeeled if organic)
  • 1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 red Scotch bonnet chile, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon chile powder
  • 7 ounces plum tomatoes, roughly chopped or 1 (14-ounce) can chopped or whole plum tomatoes or
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground alligator pepper (sub coarse ground black pepper)
  • gari (fermented, dried and ground cassava), for sprinkling


  1. If using dried beans, rinse and place in a large saucepan, cover with a good depth of water and bring to a boil, then simmer for at least 1 hour or until the beans are tender enough to be squeezed easily between thumb and forefinger. Drain and set aside. If using a can of beans, just drain, rinse and drain again 
  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a low–medium heat until it melts (palm oil has a low smoke point, so be careful not to let it burn), add the onion, ginger, pepper flakes and Scotch bonnet and sauté gently for a few minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the curry and chile powders and stir well
  3. Add all the tomatoes, tomato purée, sea salt and black pepper and stir through. Leave to cook over a medium heat for 45 to 60 minutes or until the tomatoes start to break down. If you want a smooth sauce, blend with a stick blender at this point
  4. Add the cooked or drained canned beans, reduce the heat to medium–low and cook for a further 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the beans don't scorch, until the beans are tender, and the tartness of tomatoes has dissipated
  5. Check the seasoning before serving in a bowl with some gari sprinkled on top, along with a side of fried plantain.