The default response when people ask for a vegetarian version to a dish is often “just omit the meat” but that doesn’t always yield great results because the meat itself is adding a lot of flavor to the dish. In the case of a veggie pelau, building flavor is a slightly more involved process but with a combination of the right aromatics, veggies and spices we can make achieve a tasty product. For my veggie pelau I like to use more garlic and pimentos than I would usually use for a chicken or beef pelau. With the pimentos we leaving in the seeds and membrane as well. Whatever little heat we can get from that is welcomed here. Pumpkin is a must as well as carrots, breaking down the natural sugars in those vegetables add great flavor to the dish. I’m breaking my own rule about not using more than two herbs in a dish and combining a great trio here. I’m using a blend of Cuban Oregano, Chives and Shadon Beni. I also like a spice combo of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. We’re building a complex flavor profile here, so don’t skip on the spices. Combined with some bay leaves, this is going to add some rich Caribbean flavor without the Golden Ray.