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Caribbean Thanksgiving Food Ideas with Chef Noel & Chef Kareema

Caribbean Thanksgiving Food Ideas with Chef Noel & Chef Kareema

If you want some innovation on the same old Thanksgiving food for your family this year, Chef Noel and Chef Kareema, who were featured at JerkFest this year with their amazing cooking demos, have the perfect holiday recipes for you! Let’s ditch the idea of the same old traditions and add some exciting new flavor, spice and life to the Thanksgiving table this year! 

Chef Noel

As a Thanksgiving special recipe, Chef Noel shared his very delicious Honey Glazed Jerk Ham with you all, just in case you’d like to change the every-year turkey or add another protein option to the table. This looks absolutely amazing and is definitely nothing like your traditional ham thanks to those classic jerk seasoning flavours! 

Honey Glazed Jerk Ham 



– 6 lbs of smoked ham leg bone-in

– 2 tablespoons of Chef Noel’s Smoky Jerk marinade

– Cloves

– Glaze

– ¼ cup of honey

– 1 cup of Coca-cola

– 1 teaspoon of brown sugar

– 2 teaspoons of cornstarch mix in water

– 1 teaspoon of ginger powder

– Salt to taste



1- Preheat oven to 350°

2- Remove all packaging materials, including mesh. 

3- On a rack in a shallow roasting pan add 3 cups of water and cover tightly with aluminium foil, steaming for 45 minutes. Heat 20 to 25 minutes per pound.

4- Remove ham’s skin and excess fat. Use a sharp knife, cut slits in a cross-check pattern. Make sure to go deep enough that you not only cut the fat, but also slice into the meat as well.

5- Rub the ham with 2 tablespoons of Jerk marinade and put it to roast for 15 minutes. 

6- In a medium saucepan over low heat add all glaze ingredients and once combined, remove ham from the oven and coat with some of the glazes. 

7- Return from the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Garnish and serve.


Jamaican Style Red Peas Soup

If you want another delicious way to warm up for the cold season this Thanksgiving, Chef Noel has also shared an amazing Jamaican Style Red Peas Soup that is to die for! This recipe can be found on his website, and don’t forget to also check out his top selling cookbook and new cooking podcast for tons more island inspired recipes!


– ¾ lb of pig tail (cut in pieces) optional

– ½ lb of stew beef (cut in pieces)

– ½ lb of Red peas

– 1  pack of grace cock soup

– ½ lb of yam, peel & diced

– ½ lb of sweet potato, peel & diced

– pimento seeds

– 2 stalks of escallion

– 3 sprigs of thyme

– 1 green scotch bonnet pepper

– ¼ lb pumpkin, diced

– 1 canned coconut milk

– 3  garlic cloves, smashed

– 1 cup flour

– ¼ cup cornmeal



1- Rinse pig’s tail and beef with vinegar and water.

2- Boil pig tail for about 5 minutes to get rid of excess salt.

3- In a large pot with water add beans, pigtails and beef to cook until the beans are tender. Constantly add water and stir. By then, the big pigtail and beef should be getting tender as well.

4- Once the beans and meat are almost cooked, go ahead and add all remaining ingredients.

5- Use the flour and cornmeal to make small dumplings and / or spinners. 

6- Add the coconut milk, salt and pepper taste. Stir regularly to prevent sticking.

7- Lower the flame and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and enjoy!


Chef Kareema

This Thanksgiving, Chef Kareema has a delicious and classic fusion dish you can serve for the holiday season! Her Jerk Chicken with Rice & Peas Spring Rolls are always a hit and a dish you might recognize from JerkFest Toronto if you’re an avid attendee. We are so excited for you to test her famous recipe out for yourself! 

Jerk Chicken with Rice & Peas Spring Rolls

Part 1: Jerk Chicken Spring Rolls 


– 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

– 3 tbsp Your favorite Jerk Seasoning (Walkerswood is my go to, you can also make your own)

– 2 tbsp tomato ketchup (optional)

– 1 tsp chopped garlic

– 1 tsp chopped thyme

– 1 tsp onion powder 

– 1 tsp salt

– 1 tsp black pepper

– 2 tbsp soy sauce

– 3 tbsp vegetable oil



1 – Combine all ingredients together in a bowl, mix well and let marinate in the fridge for 4 to 24 hours.

2 – Cook chicken in the oven at 375˚F for 30 mins, turning once. Chicken can also be cooked on the grill with medium heat turning often until done.

3 – Cool Chicken down a bit in order to pull it apart (I like using my hands).


Part 2: Rice & Peas 


– 2 cups Coconut Milk

– 1 1/2 cup(s) water

– 1 stalk escallion/green onion, crushed

– 1 small onion, chopped

– 2 thyme sprigs

– 1 can Red Kidney Beans

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 2 1/2 cup(s) Rice of your choice

– 1 small scotch bonnet pepper



1 – Combine Coconut Milk and water in a 3 litre (3 quart) pot and bring to a boil.

2 – Add the escallion/green, onion, thyme, Red Kidney Beans, salt and stir well.

3 –  Stir in Rice and the whole scotch bonnet pepper (you want to make sure the pepper doesn’t burst) cover and bring to a boil.

4 – Lower the flame and allow rice to boil until the grains are tender.

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5 – Combine the pulled Chicken and Rice & Peas together, then assemble spring rolls.


Bonus Recipes!

As a bonus, we selected two additional Caribbean inspired Thanksgiving recipes for you to try. These ones are especially perfect if you don’t want to make anything far away from the usual holiday dinner, so you can make a subtle replacement of a side dish or a dressing that will be big crowd pleasers this year! 

Arroz con Gandules (rice with pigeon peas)

A beloved Puerto Rico national dish, this one is just perfect to replace mashed potatoes!  Especially if you want to be a little more creative and innovative with your kitchen flavors, this dish is the best way to go. Incorporating classic recipes from other cultures is a brilliant and fun way to change things up this holiday season! 


1 tablespoon of olive oil

– ½ cup of sofrito

– ½ cup of coarsely chopped cooked ham, or pork pieces

– 2 cups of raw white rice

– 4 cups of water

– 1 packet of sazón, such as Goya brand

– 1 (15-ounce) can of pigeon peas (gandules), drained and rinsed



1- Gather the ingredients.

2- Heat the olive oil in a 6-quart pot on medium heat until it shimmers. Add the sofrito and chopped ham and sauté for 1 minute.

3- Add the rice, water, sazón, and pigeon peas.

4- Bring to a boil. Let boil for 2 to 3 minutes.

5- Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 30 to 35 minutes. Do not use a lid with a vent that allows the steam to escape and never lift the lid while cooking.

6- When finished cooking, stir the rice before serving. It should be light and fluffy.

7- Serve hot and enjoy!


Cuban Fufu (sweet plantain stuffing)

Perfect as a side dish or turkey dressing, the Cuban Fufu is made with ripe plantains, bacon and onion. These flavors take a whole new spin on warm, hearty and delicious, which is exactly what we are looking for when it comes to the ideal Thanksgiving recipe!


4 sweet plantains (peeled and cut into uniform pieces)

– ¼ pound of bacon (cut into small pieces)

– 1 medium onion (diced)

– 4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)



1- Gather the ingredients.

2- Place the pieces of plantain in a saucepan and cover with lightly salted, cold water.

3- Bring to a boil and cook until the plantains are soft, about 10 minutes.

4- Drain the plantains in a colander.

5- Transfer to a bowl and mash the plantains using a potato masher. Set aside.

6- In a frying pan, sauté the bacon until brown.

7- Add the diced onion and chopped garlic. Continue sautéing for about 5 minute.

8- Remove the frying pan from the heat and carefully drain the excess bacon drippings, leaving about 2 tablespoons of grease in the pan.

9- Gently fold in the mashed plantains until thoroughly mixed. Serve warm.


If you haven’t already thought about trying some new, exciting and flavourful recipes for Thanksgiving, why not choose from one of these amazing options this year? Chef Noel and Chef Kareema are culinary masters, with brilliant island inspired flavours and recipes that we guarantee you will love! Their cooking demos at JerkFest Toronto never disappoint, so we are thrilled that we got to share some of their best recipes to try out for yourself. And if you are already a fan of Caribbean inspired holiday dishes, we hope we were able to give you great options to choose from for the perfect (and not so common) Thanksgiving dinner!


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