Jamaican Jerk Veggie Style

One of the cuisines that I have always loved is Jamaican.  From the patties, to the roti, to the fragrant and rich stews, to the copious amounts of jerk sauce slathered onto everything, I love it all.  I have really been craving those flavors lately so I did some research to see what it would take to make myself a vegan Jamaican feast and turns out it’s not as difficult as I had imagine and absolutely worth it.

jamaican jerk marinade ingredients

Turns out the ingredients for jerk seasoning are things that I already have plenty of in my pantry and the fresh ingredients were easy to gather.

All About the Allspice

The first revelation I had in researching Jamaican recipes is that they use a ton of allspice or sweet peppercorn.  I use these dried berries in my stocks and pickles and I mill them into a powder to be used in baked goods.  But I had never seen such a fervent use of allspice before this!  Most of the Jamaican food recipes called for tablespoons of this stuff!

jamaican jerk spices

You could use preground spices if that is what you have in your pantry but I prefer to buy all of my spices in whole format so that I can mill them as I need them. The flavors are way more intense that way as the spices immediately start losing flavor once they are milled.

Even after all of these very pungent spices were blended together, I could definitely smell the allspice coming through.  These veggies were definitely not going to be boring.

jerk marinated veggies

This jerk marinade doesn’t have the most appetizing color but what it lacks in looks it makes up for in flavor.

Opt for Roasted

The temperatures have been cooler here in LA so I have been on a major roasting kick.  If I can roast it, I will!  I love how it fills my kitchen with warmth and delectable smells.  It also reduces active cooking time so I can take care of other things on the counter and stove top while the oven does it’s thing.  This helps a lot in reducing the amout of time it takes to pull together a meal.

roasted jerk veggies

The flavors definitely mellowed a bit after they were cooked but these veggies still packed a flavor punch when they were done roasting.

While these veggies were fantastic on their own, they definitely benefited from some extra Jerk Sauce which I also made.  I highly recommend using a variety of veggies that have different textures and flavors and using whatever is in season.  I can imagine this dish would be equally satisfying with summer squash, eggplant, corn, potatoes, beets, cauliflower and more.  It can easily become of your year round repertoire!

Delightful Recipe

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 lbs of vegetables such as winter squash, beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, radishes, potatoes, zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower,sweet potato, yam, etc.
  • 1/4 cup of all spice berries
  • 1 Tablespoon of black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon of whole cloves
  • 3 whole nutmeg
  • 2 habanero peppers, stems, seeds and membranes removed
  • Leaves from 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of neutral flavored veggie oil like grapeseed or safflower
  • Salt
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Chop all of your veggies into about 1 to 2 inch cubes.  If they come out irregular shape, that’s fine just make sure they are all about the same size so that they cook at the same rate.  Toss the cubed veggies in large mixing bowl and set aside.
  • In a spice mill or clean coffee grinder, combine the nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and black peppercorns and grind them into a powder.  Throw the spice blend into the blender with the habanero, green onions, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2 Tablespoons of oil.  Blend until a smooth paste forms.  Add more oil if it is still too thick.  Taste the marinade and add more salt if needed.
  • Pour the jerk marinade over the veggies and mix well so that all of the veggies are coated in the marinade.
  • Spread the marinated veggies out in an even layer on a baking sheet and roast until cooked through, about 20-30 minutes.
  • Serve hot with extra Jerk Sauce on the side.
  • Enjoy!
Jamaican jerk veggies

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