Rasta Pasta! Are you ready for a colorful meal bursting with flavor? Here it is!
This is a creamy pasta loaded with red, green and yellow peppers. You can also top it off with shrimp or chicken. It’s generously seasoned with Jamaican jerk seasoning and finished off with freshly grated parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
This easy meal whips up in about half an hour, perfect weeknight dinner!
What is Rasta Pasta?
The original version of “Rasta Pasta” was invented in Jamaica by chef Lorraine Washington in 1985. It has evolved somewhat, but the key to the name is the Rasta colors: green, yellow and red.
Nowadays, Rasta Pasta has become a popular menu item in Jamaican restaurants. You’ll find different variations, but it always involves green, yellow and red bell peppers, along with pasta, in a creamy and cheesy jerk seasoned sauce.
Often, it has some kind of protein, usually chicken or shrimp, though you can also make it meatless. Whichever way you go, it’s one tasty dish!
Our Ingredients for Rasta Pasta
- Pasta – We used penne, but use whatever you feel like that day. According to the origin story, the first Rasta Pasta was made with fettuccine, which was said to resemble dreadlocks.
- Bell Peppers – Green, yellow and red… of course!
- Jerk Seasoning – You will find two types in the grocery store, a powder and a paste. This recipe calls for the paste.
- Green Onions
- Spices – Thyme, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and Old Bay.
- Shrimp – Not in the original version of Rasta Pasta, but a great addition.
- Cheese – Parmesan and Mozzarella.
How to make Rasta Pasta
Cook pasta in salted water according to the directions on the package.
Mix the shrimp in a mixture of jerk seasoning, olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder and Old Bay. Marinate while prepping other ingredients, then sauté them quickly and then set aside.
In the same pan, melt butter and stir in paprika. Add in peppers and white parts of green onions. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for a minute. Stir in cream, jerk seasoning and thyme and cook till peppers are cooked to your preferred doneness.
Stir in parmesan and mozzarella cheese, until they are melted into the sauce.
Add in pasta and shrimp. Garnish with remaining green parts of green onions. And that’s it!
How to make Rasta Pasta dairy-free
Replace the cream with coconut cream. Chill a can of coconut milk in the fridge. Then, without shaking the can, open it and skim the cream from the top of the can. Use that coconut cream instead of regular cream.
Can you use other meats in Rasta Pasta?
Certainly! You can easily replace the shrimp with chicken. We sometimes make it with leftover rotisserie chicken, but you can certainly use raw. Just follow these steps prior to continuing with the rest of the recipe.
First, cut one pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs into strips. Season it with the same amount of the jerk seasoning you would use for shrimp.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in your skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken strips and sauté for about 5-6 minutes. Remove to a plate and follow the remaining steps as described above.
Leftover Rasta Pasta refrigerates great in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Simply reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave with a few tablespoons of water. We don’t recommend freezing it, due to the cream.
So, are you ready to give your pasta some kick? Whip up this easy Rasta Pasta and all you spice lovers are sure to come back! When you try it, please leave a star rating and a comment, I love hearing from you!
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Rasta Pasta, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 1lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1.5 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 Tbsp jerk seasoning
- 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
For Rasta Pasta
- 8oz pasta (we used penne)
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 4-5 green onions
- 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp jerk seasoning
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- Cook pasta in salted water according to the directions on the package.
- Mix the shrimp in a mixture of 1 Tbsp jerk seasoning, 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder and Old Bay. Marinate while prepping other ingredients.
- Heat remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add shrimp in a single layer. Cook about two minutes per side, then remove to a plate.
- In the same pan, melt butter and stir in paprika. Add in peppers and white parts of green onions. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for a minute. Stir in cream, jerk seasoning and thyme and cook till peppers are cooked to your preferred doneness.
- Stir in parmesan and mozzarella cheese, until they are melted into the sauce.
- Add in pasta and shrimp. Garnish with remaining green parts of green onions. Serve immediately.
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