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.
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!
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.
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:
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 Shakshuka, Grilled 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!
Jamaican Jerk Grilled Eggplant (30 Minutes!)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without sauce.