“Sexy vegetarian” is what farmer Christopher Binns calls the inspired plant-based cuisine his wife Lisa serves at Stush in the Bush, the popular supper club the couple operates at Zionite Farm, their 15-acre organic homestead  in rural Free Hill, Jamaica. “We’ve turned the meatless approach on its head here,” laughs Lisa, who creates elevated, mostly vegan meals from the produce—coconuts, plantains, sweet potatoes, greens, herbs, lettuces, citrus—Chris grows just beyond her open-air kitchen. Read on for some of Lisa’s favorite recipes, from basil-cucumber lemonade to a decadent sweet potato gratin to boozy beignets drizzled in chocolate sauce.

1. Cucumber-Basil Lemonade

Servings: 8

  • 2 cups of roughly chopped, skin-on English cucumbers
  • 1 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of local honey
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup of sparkling water, Prosecco, or a crisp, fruity white wine

In a blender, pulse 1 roughly chopped, skin-on English cucumber (about 2 cups); juice of 6 lemons (about 1 cup); 1 cup water; ½ to ¾ cup local honey (depending on desired sweetness); and ¼ cup fresh basil leaves until ingredients are combined and liquefied. Fill 8 tumblers with ice and divide lemonade evenly between glasses. Top each glass off with ½ cup of sparkling water, Prosecco, or a crisp, fruity white wine, such as Bonterra Organic Sauvignon Blanc.

For a little kick, Lisa (above) adds a splash of Bonterra Organic Sauvignon Blanc to the Cucumber-Basil Lemonade.

2. Farm Fresh Coconut Water with Lime

  • 1 Young coconuts or "Jelly Coconuts"
  • 1 Lime

Lisa serves the water from young, green coconuts—known locally as “jelly coconuts”—chilled with a squeeze of lime at Stush in the Bush farm dinners. If you don’t have access to fresh coconuts, substitute unsweetened store-bought coconut water and add fresh lime to taste.

3. Plantain Ceviche with Crispy Plantain Chips

Servings: 8-12

For starters, Lisa whipped up zesty Plantain Ceviche (in large bowl) with crispy homemade Plantain Chips and Yellow Yam and Pineapple Croquettes with a fresh cilantro chimichurri and Stush in the Bush’s signature Blow Fyah pepper sauce—which the couple bottles and sells.

Plantain Ceviche
  • 4 firm, ripe plantains, peeled and diced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, minced (about ¾ cups)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, minced (about ¾ cups)
  • 1 large red onion, minced (about 1½ cups)
  • Juice of 6 to 8 limes (about ¾ cup)
  • 4 scallions, white and green part, finely chopped (about ½ cup), plus more for garnish
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro leaves, plus a sprig for garnish
  • 4 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Scotch bonnet pepper or jalapeño, minced, or to taste
  • Freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • Crispy Plantains (recipe below), for serving
Crispy Plantain Chips
  • 4-5 green plantains, peeled
  • Coconut oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Plantain Ceviche

Ripe green bananas, a staple in Jamaica, get tossed with onion, bell peppers, chilies, cilantro, and lime in this vegan take on the seafood classic. Coat your hands in vegetable oil before working with plantains, advises Lisa, as the starchy fruit can stain your fingers.

In a large bowl, add all ingredients except the Crispy Plantains and toss well to combine. Taste mixture and adjust lime and salt and pepper, if needed. Garnish with chopped scallions and a sprig of cilantro. Serve with Crispy Plantain Chips.

Plantain Chips

Lisa recommends using a mandolin to thinly slice the starchy plantains before frying.

Using a mandolin, slice 4 to 5 peeled plantains lengthwise into thin strips. Meanwhile, fit a heavy-bottomed pot with a deep-fat thermometer and heat 3 inches of coconut oil to 375°F over medium-high heat.  Fry plantains in batches, making sure not to crowd pot and turning occasionally, until strips are crispy and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve with Plantain Ceviche.

4. Yellow Yam and Pineapple Croquettes with Chimichurri Sauce

Servings: 2.5 dozen croquettes, 1.5 cups chimichurri sauce

For gluten-free guests, Lisa rolls the croquettes in shredded coconut powder—a high-fiber alternative to wheat made from dried, unsweetened coconut meat—instead of panko breadcrumbs before frying.

Yellow Yam and Pineapple Croquettes
  • 2-3 yellow yams (about 1½ pounds), peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 large onion, finely diced (about 1½ cups)
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • ½ cup chopped fresh pineapple or canned crushed pineapple, drained well
  • 4 stalks of scallion, white and green parts, finely chopped
  • 2-4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups shredded coconut powder* or panko breadcrumbs
  • Coconut oil for frying
Stush in the Bush Chimichurri Sauce
  • 3 packed cups of Italian parsley leaves
  • 6-8 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Yellow Yam and Pineapple Croquettes

  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat; add yams and cook until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pot water, then drain yams and transfer to a large bowl. Using a potato masher or fork, mash yams; if mixture is too stiff, add a tablespoon of pot water at a time until yams are smooth and hold together (You should have two cups). Add onion, coconut milk, pineapple, scallion, 2 tablespoons cilantro, and thyme, and mix until combined. Stir in salt and four grinds of pepper; taste mixture and add more salt and pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro, if desired.
  2. Using your hands, press two tablespoons of yam mixture together at a time to form balls, or croquettes. (If balls break apart, return them to bowl and add more pot water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture holds together.)  Pour coconut powder or panko onto a large plate and roll balls in breadcrumbs, pressing slightly to evenly coat; set croquettes aside.
  3. Meanwhile, fit a heavy-bottomed pot with a deep-fat thermometer and heat 3 inches of coconut oil to 375ºF over medium-high heat.  Fry croquettes in batches, making sure not to crowd pot, until balls are crispy and golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Season to taste with sea salt. Serve warm with Chimichurri Sauce.

Stush in the Bush Chimichurri Sauce

In bowl of a food processor, pulse to combine 3 packed cups Italian parsley leaves, 6 to 8 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons minced onion, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and a generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Scrape down sides of bowl, then with motor running, slowly pour ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil into parsley mixture; process until sauce is creamy, about 90 seconds. For subtle heat, add 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, if desired, and pulse to combine. Taste sauce and adjust seasonings, if needed. Serve with Yellow Yam and Pineapple Croquettes. Any leftover chimichurri can be stored refrigerated in a glass jar for up to two weeks.

5. Beet Carpaccio with Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette

Servings: 8

“I love the look on people’s faces—especially when they say beets taste like dirt—after their first bite of this salad,” laughs Lisa, who sometimes tops the lemony dish with feta from Jamaica’s Ruby Goat Dairy if her guests eat dairy.

Beet Carpaccio
  • 5 medium beets (about 2 pounds), roasted and skins removed
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese feta, optional
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette (1.5 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons chopped capers
  • 2 teaspoons caper brine
  • 4 teaspoons demerara sugar

Beet Carpaccio

Using a mandolin or sharp knife, slice beets into super-thin rounds. On a platter, arrange arugula then layer sliced beets in center of greens. Spoon vinaigrette evenly over beets, then top with feta, if desired. Garnish with lemon zest and dill and serve immediately.

Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette

In a food processor, add 1 cups chopped red onion; ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil; juice of 1½ lemons (about 4 tablespoons); 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill; 2 tablespoons chopped capers (plus 2 teaspoons caper brine); and four teaspoons demerara sugar. Process until dressing is emulsified but not completely smooth.

6. Spicy Tomato Soup with Chèvre

Servings: 8-16

Whenever tomatoes are abundant on the farm, Lisa pulls out her stockpot: “This soup’s so easy to prepare, and the coconut milk and whole tomatoes, skins and seeds included, give it a delicious, velvety richness,” Lisa says. Omit the optional goat-cheese garnish for vegans.

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, finely diced (about 3 cups)
  • 8 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus 8 sprigs for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 4-6 scallion, green and white parts, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 6 pounds plum tomatoes, cored
  • 2 13.5-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
  • 4 teaspoons sea salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons favorite hot sauce or minced habanero peppers, or to taste
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, optional

  1. In a stock pot over medium heat, add olive oil, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons basil, 1 tablespoon oregano, thyme, and scallions and stir to combine. With your hands over the pot, squeeze tomatoes a bit to release some of their juice before adding them to onions, garlic, and herbs. Cover pot and continue cooking, using a wooden spoon to break up tomatoes, for about 5 minutes.  Add coconut milk and, depending on how thick you like your soup, ½ to 1 cup of water. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer soup, 20 minutes more.
  2. In a conventional blender, working in batches, or with an immersion blender, puree soup until tomatoes and onions are blended and soup is creamy. Add salt, pepper to taste, and hot sauce or habanero peppers and stir to combine. Just before serving, swirl in remaining tablespoon of basil and oregano. Divide soup evenly between eight bowls, adding a tablespoon of goat cheese, if desired. Garnish with a sprig of basil and serve immediately.

7. Rosemary-Red Stripe Beer Bread

Servings: 1

Flavored with fresh rosemary and Jamaica’s iconic pale lager, this foolproof quick bread can be baked and ready in less than an hour.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup demerara sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, plus 2 sprigs for garnish
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons for drizzling
  • 1 12-ounce bottle Red Stripe Beer

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 4-by-8-inch loaf pan with olive oil baking spray and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, use a wooden spoon to combine both flours, sugar, rosemary, baking powder, and salt. Add oil and beer and continue stirring until a wet batter forms.  Pour batter into pan and place rosemary sprigs on top, then drizzle with olive oil and run a knife along the edges. Bake bread until golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm.

8. Sweet Potato Gratin with Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce

Servings: 12

Assembled like lasagna, this hearty vegetable casserole features thin slices of the farm’s sweet potatoes and pumpkin-like Calabaza squash, plus a “cheese” sauce made from ground cashews, soy milk, and nutritional yeast, a vegan pantry staple that imparts a nutty, cheese-like flavor to just about any food to which its added.

Sweet Potato Gratin
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ pound potatoes, peeled
  • ½ pound squash, such as Calabaza, peeled
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons of fresh oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
  • Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup cashew milk
  • ½ cup grated vegan parmesan, such as Go Veggie
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives garnish
Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce
  • 3 cups raw cashews
  • 2 cups soy, almond, or cashew milk
  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeasts
  • 1 head roasted garlic
  • 4 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder

Sweet Potato Gratin

  1. Slice garlic in half lengthwise and rub it along bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish; drizzle olive oil in dish and swirl to coat.  Using a mandolin, slice potatoes and squash into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. In prepared baking dish, arrange sweet potatoes in overlapping layers, then top with salt and pepper to taste; a sprinkling of oregano, rosemary, and thyme; and a generous dollop of cheese sauce smoothed over with a spatula. Continue with a layer of potato and squash slices, again topping with seasonings, herbs, and cheese sauce. Continue alternating layers of sweet potatoes and potato and squash until you are close to the top of the dish, then finish with a layer of cheese sauce. Carefully pour the cashew milk over top, then sprinkle casserole with vegan parmesan and cover with foil.
  3. Bake gratin for 30 minutes, then remove foil and continue baking until top is golden brown and sauce is bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes more. Allow to cool about five minutes before slicing into squares. Garnish with a sprinkle of chives (and a drizzle of cheese sauce if you have any leftover) and serve immediately.

Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce

Start by soaking 3 cups raw cashews in water for 2 hours. Drain and rinse the nuts and place in a blender with 2 cups soy, almond, or cashew milk; ¾ cup nutritional yeasts, such as Braggs; the cloves from 1 head roasted garlic, Juice of 1½ lemons (4 tablespoons); 3 tablespoons olive oil; 4 teaspoons sea salt; 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard; and 1 teaspoon garlic powder. Process on high until smooth and creamy. Taste sauce and add more nutritional yeast, a few teaspoons at a time, if sauce is not cheesy enough.

9. Roasted Oyster Mushrooms

Servings: 8

While mushrooms aren’t traditionally grown in Jamaica, Food for the Poor, the island’s largest charity, now helps local women’s groups cultivate the fungi as a way to generate additional income. “I’m not a big fan of tofu, so it’s been amazing to get these meaty, locally grown oyster mushrooms from Pauline Smith, a local supplier and a co-founder of the project,” says Lisa.

  • 2 pounds oyster mushrooms, sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick strips
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh oregano leaves
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400°F.  On a large, rimmed baking tray, add all ingredients except parsley and massage mushrooms until evenly coated with oil, vinegar, and herbs. Roast mushrooms until browned and tender and any liquid has evaporated, about 40 minutes.  Once mushrooms cool, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

10. Garlicky Haricots Verts

Servings: 8

“In Jamaica it’s hard to find thin, delicate green beans, so it was a real treat when Chris started growing haricots verts,” says Lisa. “I cook them quickly over high heat with lots of garlic, black pepper, and a sprinkle of crunchy Maldon salt. It’s simplicity at its best.”

  • 1-1½ pound of haricots verts, trimmed on stem end only
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 10 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Maldon salt

In a large nonstick frying pan over low heat, add olive oil and garlic and sauté until garlic is golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Add haricots verts, sea salt, and a drizzle more of olive oil, tossing beans frequently until garlic is crispy and beans are bright green and tender-crisp, about 7 minutes. Season with pepper to taste and finish with a sprinkle of Maldon salt.

11. Appleton Reserve Raisin Beignets with Vegan Chocolate-Coconut Sauce

Servings: 4 dozen beignets, 2 cups vegan chocolate-coconut sauce

Raisins soaked for three days in Jamaica’s Appleton Estate Reserve Blend Rum give these fluffy dough pillows a boozy bite. To eliminate dairy in the dessert, Lisa uses ground flaxseed meal, a reliable (and cholesterol-free) substitute for eggs in vegan baked goods.

Appleton Reserve Raisin Beignets (4 dozen)
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • Appleton Estate Reserve Blend Rum
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal
  • 7 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading
  • ½ cup demerara sugar
  • 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1¼ cups lukewarm water (115°F)
  • 1 cup vanilla soy milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • Coconut oil
  • Confectioner’s sugar
Vegan Chocolate-Coconut Sauce (2 cups)
  • 1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, such as Thai Kitchen
  • 2-3 ounces dark chocolate, melted (about ¼ to 1/3 cup) or 1/3- ½ cup dark cocoa powder
  • 5 tablespoons demerara sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt

Appleton Reserve Raisin Beignets

  1. In a quart-size canning jar, add raisins and cover completely with rum by 1 inch. Tighten lid and allow fruit to soak— they will plump up as they absorb the liquor—for at least three days.
  2. In a small bowl, combine flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons water and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken. Meanwhile, in bowl of a stand mixer, add flour, yeast, sugar, and salt and process for 1 minute to combine. With mixer running, slowly add soy milk and lukewarm water, then the shortening to dry ingredient until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, forming a ball, about 15 minutes.  Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until soft and pliable, about 5 minutes. Transfer dough to a bowl lightly coated with coconut oil, then flip dough to coat both sides; cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  3. Transfer dough, which will be very soft, onto a lightly floured surface or board. Flour your hands and fold raisins and some of their liquid into dough. Knead dough until raisins are fully incorporated and dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. With a rolling pin, stretch dough into a large, ½-inch-thick 18”-inch square. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel to rest and rise a little more, about 15 minutes.
  4. With a 2-inch-square cutter or sharp knife, cut dough square into 2-inch squares and set aside on a heavily floured baking sheet. Fit a heavy-bottomed pot with a deep-fat thermometer and heat 3 inches of coconut oil to 375°F over medium-high heat. Fry beignets in batches, making sure not to crowd pot and flipping halfway, until squares are deep golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
  5. While beignets are still hot, arrange on a large platter; dust heavily with confectioner’s sugar then top with a drizzle of Vegan Chocolate-Coconut Sauce. Serve immediately.

Vegan Chocolate-Coconut Sauce

Lisa buys her dark chocolate from Kingston-based One|One Cacao, a small-batch confectionery that sources all of its beans from farmers on the island. “Jamaican chocolate has a rich, distinctive flavor and often melts with a reddish hue depending on where the cacao was grown,” she notes.

In a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, add half of coconut milk and chocolate or cocoa powder and whisk vigorously until combined, about 10 minutes. Whisk in sugar, vanilla, and salt, then remaining coconut milk and continue to whisk until sauce is smooth and pourable, about 10 minutes more. If sauce is too thick, add water, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.