Described by Jamaican literary scholar Carolyn Cooper as “one of the enduring legacies of the fusion of African and Taíno cultures in Jamaica,” jerk plays a significant part in the history of Jamaican culture. Formerly a term to describe the way meat was prepared, it’s since grown to describe a unique flavor and overall style of cooking.
This Jamaican-inspired jerk dish infuses traditional Jamaican ingredients such as plantain, jerk seasoning, red beans, and rice, with one of my favorite meat alternatives—jackfruit!
Jackfruit is a fruit native to South India and for those who’ve never tried it, it has the texture of pulled pork with the flavor of a meatier artichoke. It easily absorbs flavors when cooked, making it the perfect conduit for this jerk-inspired vegan dish.
Vegan Jerk Jackfruit With Plantains & Rice
- 1 can jackfruit
- 1.5 cups cooked rice
- 1/2 cup cooked (or canned) red beans
- 1 tbsp jerk seasoning (see below for seasoning mix)
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 4 unripe plantains
- to taste salt
1. Drain and rinse jackfruit. Place jackfruit in a pan with oil and cook until tender (around 10–15 minutes). As your jackfruit is cooking, take two forks and pull the jackfruit until it separates into pulled pork-like texture.
2. Add 1 tbsp of Jamaican jerk mix (I use this recipe by Chili Pepper Madness), 1 tsp of lime, 1.5 cups of rice, and 1/2 cup of red beans to the jackfruit and stir on medium-low heat for 5–10 additional minutes.
3. While your jackfruit jerk is cooking, peel your plantains. I typically cut off the ends on either side and then peel or gently shave off the peel with a knife. Once you’ve peeled your plantains, cut into thin slivers.
4. Heat a frying pan or griddle with enough oil to lightly cover the bottom. You’ll need sufficient oil for the plantains to soften and fry well.
5. Fry plantains for 3–5 minutes on each side, or until slightly browned and tender. Add salt on top to taste.
Serve your jackfruit jerk with plantains on the side, and enjoy!
Also by Dana: Healthy Vegan Hummus Flatbread Pizza
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Photo: Dana Drosdick