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Jollof Rice

Jollof rice is tasty, colourful and easy to adapt and add to – perfect for a family weeknight dinner, and simple to change and tweak in small ways to improve and add more veg over time. We’ve gathered some expert tips and small, simple steps for you to take your favourite jollof recipe from good to great!

Why is jollof rice so great?

Jollof rice is simple, cheap and delicious, and kids tend to enjoy its flavours and fun colour, making it a great recipe to slowly tweak to add a little veg and make a little better over time.

With a basic jollof rice recipe, you can start simply and add some little bits of veg to make more of a “rainbow rice” dish that builds up the veg portions and introduce children gently to new ones.

With a fun bright colour, jollof rice is visually appealing to kids, which can make it more likely they will eat it! And with veg already present (blended peppers, tomatoes and onions give it its colour), it doesn’t take much effort to get a couple of portions of veg out of this dinner.

Use the basic recipe, small tweaks and tips below to take your jollof rice from good to better!

How are your jollof rice skills?


I’m just starting out.


I’m ready to take it to the next level.


How can I get my kids involved and interested?

Getting Started

Jollof rice is simple, cheap and delicious, and kids tend to enjoy its flavours and fun colour, making it a great recipe to slowly tweak to add a little veg and make a little better over time.

Here is a simple recipe for jollof rice which you can use as a base and build on over time…

Simple Jollof Rice

Claire Wright



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 red chilli (1/2-1 for 4 depending on how spicy you like your food, or just leave it out!)


Not made jollof rice before, or not ready to try the next steps? Start here!


  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.

  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.

There is no need to go any further with this recipe until you are confident with it and feel up for the next step.

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.

Kids in the kitchen

Kids in the kitchen

The eventual aim, if possible, is to get kids in the kitchen. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to mean they are with you from start-to-end creating mess and rising stress levels! It can be as simple as giving them one small job (stirring, measuring, pouring, grating, chopping…) ideally involving veg. They can come in to do their little bit, and have fun with you for a few minutes. Getting them involved, making it playful and praising them plenty for their involvement, perhaps even serving it as dinner they “made”, makes it much more likely they will eat the food offered, not to mention teaching them important life skills. Find ideas, safety tips, videos and even a free chart in our Kids in the Kitchen section here.



While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.



Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.



The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.


I Want To Improve My Jollof Rice

If you are feeling confident with your favourite jollof rice recipe, but you’re wondering if there are some small tweaks you could make for the better, this is for you.

We’ve outlined some simple stages for continually improving on a basic jollof rice to get you from good to great. Find where you feel your current recipe sits and see if the next step is something you could aim for. You don’t have to go any further, but if you choose to, make sure you are feeling confident with this new stage before you try the next one.

And remember, the MOST important thing is that the family enjoys the meal! These changes and swaps can take as long as is needed if your family isn’t ready for big changes all in one go. Small simple improvements over time may not even be noticed.

Better Sauce

Add veg

Batch cooking

engaging kids

Play is essential!

Think of children helping in the kitchen as a role play game with plenty of fun for maximum effect. One of the best ways to develop a love of veg in kids is to get them involved in the prep of the veg. Not only is cooking an essential life skill for kids to learn, but it’s a great, fun way to get them engaging with healthy foods!

Cooking with kids

Arts & crafts

Games & puzzles



DO you have a question you’d like one of our experts to help you with?
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