Always dreaming about vacation? Always dreaming about food? We don’t blame you. Given that there are apparently a few more weeks of winter to get through, most of us are probably fantasizing about lying on a warm beach, fresh coconut drinks in hand. While we may not be able to buy you a trip to Barbados, we can give you the next best thing: island cuisine! These 7 recipes use Caribbean ingredients to create some serious flavor explosions. Some are authentic; others are a twist on traditions. But every one will temporarily transport you to the tropics.

Photo: Recipe Runner

Fire up your grill (or use your indoor pan) to sear these skewers. The sweet and spicy mango habanero sauce is an easy and perfect complement to the citrusy but savory chicken.

Photo: Savory Tooth

People in the tropics crave warm comfort food too! Serve it up Cuban-style with this melt-in-your-mouth stew of shredded, slow-cooked beef and veggies over rice. 

Photo: African Bites

Jamaicans sure know how to make eating your greens exciting. Sauteed with shrimp, lots of garlic, and a few slices of bacon, this dish will get anyone to love cabbage. 

Photo: Connoisseurus Veg

Taking a Caribbean curry and veganizing it, this cozy, coconutty bowl makes sure even herbivores can enjoy some of that island flavor. Whip it up in just 30 minutes for an easy but out-of-the-box meal. 

Black beans and rice might sound unexceptional, but don’t dismiss this as just another side dish. Spiced up with cumin and oregano, infused with garlic, and cooked with bacon, it’s anything but basic. 

Photo: Wanderlust Kitchen

If you’re looking for a quick, light meal that’s still got plenty of flavor, make this spiced seafood dish. Using common Caribbean ingredients like scotch bonnet pepper and thyme, it can easily transport you to the beaches of Barbados in just 20 minutes. 

Photo: Nutrition Stripped

This may be more Caribbean-inspired than traditional, but it does the islands proud anyway, with typical ingredients from the region like plantains, cumin, and lime. Plus anything served in “boats” is always more fun to eat

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