Jamaican Jerk Grilled Eggplant (30 Minutes!)

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Wood platter with rice topped with vegan Grilled Jamaican Jerk Eggplant

If you like spicy, saucy food, this recipe is for you. And seeing as we are about to enter grilling season (at least in the Pacific Northwest!), it’s the perfect time for another grillable plant-based recipe.

Shall we?

Stirring together ingredients for our gluten-free vegan Jamaican Jerk dressing recipe

The inspiration for this recipe came from Jamaican jerk chicken. It’s been so long since I’ve had that dish, but I’ve always been drawn to smoky, spicy, earthy foods. Jerk seasoning fits all of those categories.

Origin of Jamaican Jerk Cooking

When referring to Jamaican cuisine, “jerk” refers to a style of cooking that involves marinating vegetables, fruits, meat, or fish and cooking it over pimento wood. It’s thought that this cooking style originated in the 17th century from formerly enslaved individuals known as Maroons.

Jerk seasoning typically contains habanero peppers and allspice, among other ingredients such as scallions, onions, and other spices. The following is our inspired version!

How to Make Jamaican Jerk Eggplant

This recipe requires 30 minutes from start to finish, and hopefully you have all the ingredients you need in your pantry right now! Don’t sweat it if you’re missing a couple of spices. If you’re checking most the boxes, you’re good!

Thinly sliced eggplant slathered with gluten-free homemade Jamaican Jerk dressing

Eggplant is sliced into thick “steaks” and generously brushed with your jerk marinade, which is comprised of tamari, coconut sugar, fresh ginger, garlic, lime juice, chilies, onion, and an array of spices like cinnamon, coriander, and cayenne.

The result is a sauce with BIG flavor that soaks right into the eggplant before they’re grilled to perfection. Mmmm.

Cooking thinly sliced Jamaican Jerk Eggplant on a cast iron griddle pan

For serving, I went for rice (you could also use cauliflower rice!). And I even whipped up an impromptu dipping sauce for serving, which is entirely optional but adds another wave of flavor I adore to this dish.

I hope you LOVE this recipe! It’s:

Hearty
Smoky
Spicy
Tender
Healthy
Quick + easy
& Insanely delicious

This would make the perfect plant-based dish for grilling this spring and summer. If you don’t have a grill, don’t worry! I relied on my grill pan, which worked just as well without all of the fuss of firing up the grill.

This is a beautiful side dish or appetizer, and it would pair especially well with my Creamy Kale Salad with Shallot & Chickpeas, Garlicky Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas, Simple Vegan Potato Salad,  Penne Pasta Salad, 1-Pot Chickpea ShakshukaGrilled Corn & Zucchini Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette, or Best Vegan Gluten Free Cornbread.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see. Cheers, friends!

A wood platter with Grilled Vegan Jamaican Jerk Eggplant over rice with lime wedges

Jamaican Jerk Grilled Eggplant (30 Minutes!)

Spicy Jamaican jerk spiced grilled eggplant! Ready in 30 minutes, incredibly flavorful, and the perfect plant-based side dish!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Wood platter filled with Vegan Jerk Eggplant slices over white rice
4.86 from 55 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 (“steaks”)
Course Side
Cuisine Caribbean-Inspired, Gluten-Free, Jamaican-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2-3 Days

Ingredients

EGGPLANT

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp each sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (~2 Tbsp minced garlic per 4 cloves)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 cup tamari or coconut aminos (or soy sauce if not GF)
  • 2-3 Tbsp coconut sugar or maple syrup (plus more to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil (or grape seed or avocado oil // plus more for grilling)
  • 3 stalks green onions or scallions (thinly sliced)
  • 1 medium serrano or habanero pepper (thinly sliced // seeds removed)
  • 1 large eggplants (or sub 2 small per 1 large)

SAUCE optional

  • 1/4 cup vegan BBQ sauce (I like Annie’s)
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp grape seed or olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 pinch each sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 stalk green onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

Instructions

  • In a small mixing bowl, mix together cinnamon, coriander, all spice, cayenne, salt, pepper, thyme, garlic, ginger, lime juice, tamari, coconut sugar, coconut oil, green onions or scallions, and serrano / habanero pepper.
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more tamari for saltiness, lime juice for acidity, fresh herbs for earthy flavor, coconut sugar for sweetness, pepper for heat, or garlic for bite / zing.
  • Slice eggplant vertically (lengthwise) into 1/2-inch-thick “steaks” and generously brush both sides with the marinade.
  • Heat up a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat and lightly oil / grease to discourage the eggplant from sticking. Once hot, add eggplant and grill on both sides until golden brown and grill marks are present – about 3-5 minutes each side.
  • In the meantime, prepare sauce (optional!) by adding BBQ sauce, lime juice, oil, coconut sugar / maple syrup, ginger, salt, pepper, onion, and cayenne pepper to a small and whisking to combine. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lime for acidity, coconut sugar for sweetness, cayenne for heat, or salt for saltiness.
  • Serve grilled eggplant as is or over rice, over cauliflower rice, or with sauce (optional), and garnish with fresh herbs, such as parsley or green onion. Best when fresh! Leftovers won’t be as good as fresh, but they will keep in the refrigerator up to 2-3 days.

Video

Notes

*Recipe loosely adapted from the New York Times.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without sauce.

Nutrition (1 of 8 servings)

Serving: 1 “steaks” Calories: 73 Carbohydrates: 9.4 g Protein: 1.9 g Fat: 3.9 g Saturated Fat: 3.2 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 660 mg Fiber: 3 g Sugar: 5.5 g

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Reader Interactions

  1. Lindsay says

    This is so so delicious! I marinate tofu and various veggies and make kebabs on the bbq and serve with coconut rice! One of my favourites! Thank you!

  2. Samantha says

    Love this recipe! It’s definitely a regular in our kitchen, and much easier than I initially thought to make. I make extra marinade and use it on whatever veggies we have in the house. Typically serve this with coconut right rice and black beans with okra. Thank you for being reliably great :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad you enjoy it, Samantha! Love your serving idea too. Thank you for sharing! xo

  3. Dani says

    I LOVED this recipe! It’ll be great with cauliflower steaks too!!! I did forget the soy sauce and it was still good.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Simone, we don’t have a feature like that, but you could save to pinterest or print out the recipes you like and assemble them in a binder. Hope that helps!