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Next Steps Jollof Rice

Claire Wright

In season now


Rice (1 mug is enough for 4 people)

Chopped tomatoes (1 tin for 4) or tomato sauce (1 jar for 4)

Optional red pepper and onion, blended with the chopped tomatoes until smooth or thinly sliced/chopped

Optional chilli

Some added veg - aim for 1-2 handfuls of veg per person, we have suggested some great ones to start with below

1 tin of beans (optional, but a great addition to add some protein and mean you can save money serving it with less meat/fish)


We suggest you do this in stages, slowly, and go as far as works for your family, here’s how your final recipe might come together…


  1. Traditionally, the jollof sauce is made from blending tomatoes, peppers, chilli and onions. If you don’t have a blender but want to include all those ingredients, try frying finely sliced/diced onions and peppers in a little oil in the bottom of a large saucepan over medium heat until softened, stirring regularly (about 5-10 mins), then stirring in the chopped tomatoes or sauce. If you’ve blended the veg and chilli into a smooth sauce, pour this into the saucepan and bring to a simmer, then cook on a low heat for 5 mins. Want to add fresh veg but not keen on peppers or onions? You could try finely diced fresh veggies softened in oil (as above) like: diced carrots and/or celery, sliced mushrooms or leeks, diced courgette or aubergine, shredded cabbage… Or stir through some fresh leafy greens once the rice is cooked so it wilts in just before serving.

  2. Add the rice to the pan with the blended or softened veg and add water or stock (usually 1 mug rice + 2 mugs water makes perfect rice for 4, but since there is a fair amount of liquid in the tomato sauce, add only equal amounts of water and rice – so 1 mug rice and 1 mug water for 4).

  3. Bring to the boil, then simmer for as long is it takes to cook the rice (check packet instructions), checking regularly and adding a little more water if it’s going dry and the rice isn’t fully cooked yet.

  4. Add frozen veg that you’ve cooked separately according to package instructions, or you can even stir through smaller, quick-cooking frozen veg into the rice so it cooks as the rice cooks! Try: peas, sweetcorn, sliced peppers or mushrooms, green beans or shredded cabbage, mixed veg, grilled Mediterranean veg…

  5. If using a tin of beans, add to the rice for the last minute or two of cooking time until heated through. Kidney beans go perfectly here, but you can use whatever tinned beans you like!
Engaging Kids

Engaging Kids

Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating. Find out more here.

Kids in the kitchen

Kids in the kitchen

Get younger kids blending the sauce or stirring the chopped veg with your help, measuring out the rice and water in a mug, and chucking a couple of handfuls of your chosen veg into the pan.

Older kids might be ready to learn how to chop some fresh veg to add at the start of the meal, stir everything together in the pan, and serve the hot rice into bowls!

Master these skills:

Weighing,  Mixing,  Bridge chopping,  Claw chopping


Use arts & crafts as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. While you make your jollof, why not set a child up with:

Tomato Veg Crown

Tomato – Cutout ‘n Colour

Tomato – Evil Inside!

Tomato – Squash ‘Em!

Tomato – Totally Blitzed!

Find more arts & crafts and puzzles & games on our website.



Why not start with a whole pepper and get them to describe what they see – does it remind them of anything? Maybe it looks like an upside down tiny umbrella, or like a flower when viewed from its base. Perhaps it’s a giant’s tooth or a top-heavy mushroom. See if they want to chuck some into the jollof after having engaged with them.

Watch Ruth Platt’s video on sensory activities with peppers for more inspiration, or get more tips, games and videos over on our Sensory page.



Why not let your child lay the table the way they want to – perhaps they want to create a centrepiece, serve the food in bowls instead of on plates, make a placecard for each person with their name on it. Make sure to praise them for their choices and see if once the table is ready they may want to help you serve up the food and sneak a little taste with you before it gets there!

Claire Wright

Editor: After leaving Exeter University with a degree in English Literature, Claire worked in various fields ranging from youth work and charities to publishing, before starting up a food-focused website when her first child was born. After being asked to project manage the publication of Veg Power's Crowdfunder book, Claire came on board as a fully-fledged team member in 2018 to take on the role of Communications Manager, then Editor, looking after Veg Power's website, content, recipes and social media platforms.

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