Slow Cooker Stew Peas

This slow cooker, vegan twist on a Jamaican classic is packed with flavor. Red peas, which we know in the United States as kidney beans, provide a beautiful color and yummy flavor. Kidney beans require a special kind of cooking for food safety—we explain why in the Notes! 


Serves 4 

  • 1 cup dried red peas (kidney beans) 
  • 1 cup lite coconut milk 
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (substitute with 1 teaspoon dried thyme) 
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder 
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder 
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 4 cups water, divided 


  1. The night before starting your Simple Slow Cooker Stew Peas, wash and rinse beans thoroughly under running water to remove any residue or hard particles like rocks. 
  2. Place dried beans in bowl and cover with just enough water to cover the beans. Cover and set aside to soak for at least 5 hours or overnight for quicker and even cooking time. 
  3. Before cooking, drain and rinse beans againAdd beans and 2 1/4 cups of water to a medium pot on the stove and bring to boil. Lower to simmer and cook for at least 30 minutes. See Notes for the importance of pre-boiling kidney beans! Drain and rinse beansAdd beans to slow cooker. 
  4. Wipe can of coconut milk with a damp cloth. Open can of coconut milk and add 1 cup of coconut milk to the beans. 
  5. Wash fresh thyme thoroughly under running water, gently rubbing leaves. Chop fresh thyme and add to beans. 
  6. Add onion Powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt to beans. 
  7. Add 1 ¾ cups of water to the beans (can store remaining coconut milk in a sealed container and use the coconut milk can—one 13.66-ounce can is approximately 1 ¾ cups). 
  8. Cook on low heat for 4 hours or until beans can be easily pierced with a fork.


  • For best taste, the recommended beans are: Kidney, Navy, Butter, or Gungo Peas  
  • This recipe can be made with low- or no-salt-added canned kidney beans instead of dried beans. If using canned beans, drain and warm them up on the stove for 10-15 minutes before adding remaining ingredients in the slow cooker. 
  • Raw kidney beans (red and white) contain a naturally occurring toxin that causes an upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting. This illness can occur from just a few beans if they are not cooked properly. Be sure to soak beans, especially kidney beans and broad beans, for at least 5 hours (or overnight), pour away the water, and then boil the beans in new water for at least 30 minutes. That water should also be poured away because the toxins are now in the cooking water! More information can be found in the FDA’s Bad Bug Book under Phytohaemagglutinin (kidney bean lectin).” 

black and white nutrition facts label for slow cooker stew peas