One of my go to recipes is inspired by the Ital diet, developed by the Rasta culture. Eating Ital foods is a very spiritual practice as it is essentially treating the body as a temple so we can connect to our higher power. Also, the philosophy of eating nutrient dense, whole food meals is one that has the potential to change your life.
The idea behind following an ital diet is to eat in a way that provides vitality, and to nourish your body as it is your spirit’s vessel. It is centered around whole, plant-based foods(no processed crap); simple meals from the Earth. Rasta’s follow many variations of the diet; some are strict on eating no salt while others will occasionally add it to their meal. Some don’t drink coffee or consume sugar while others grow their own coffee and sugar. It’s much less about the guidelines and more about the intention.
This meal is a well known jamaican staple called Ital Stew and let me tell you, every different recipe I’ve have had has been delicious. I believe the reason why is because it’s hard to go wrong with organic whole foods. Feel free to add or eliminate any ingredients based upon what your body craves. I encourage you to buy as many organic products as you can, as it will taste better and make your body feel fantastic! It is a great meal option if you are backed up or have been feeling sluggish after eating.
This is my version, including all of my favorite veggies that are traditionally used in Ital stew. It is filling, affordable, full of flavor, and what I consider healthy comfort food. Enjoy!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes to 1 hour
2 baby red potatoes
1 yukon gold potato
1 bunch of chives
2 small green plantains
5 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of fresh minced ginger
A large handful of your choice of leafy greens (spinach, kale, collards)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cups vegetable broth(salted or unsalted is optional)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
4 cups of water
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon sassafras(thickens soup & is optional)
1-2 tablespoons red chili peppers (depending upon your spice threshold)
1 tablespoon dry thyme
1 tablespoon dry basil
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 can black eyed peas or beans of your choice
- Heat the oil in a pan on med-low, then add chopped carrots, ginger, garlic, and half the chives. Saute for 5 minutes.
- Add potatoes, plantains, and beans and saute for another 5 minutes.
- Add all spices and saute for 1 minute.
- Add remaining ingredients besides leafy greens and bring the stew to a boil.
- Add leafy greens, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes covered, or longer if you choose.