Vegan Jamaican Jerk Kabobs

Who says you have to be a carnivore to enjoy the sweet, spicy flavors of Jamaican Jerk cooking?

My husband and I were married in Jamacia. Besides and amazing and romantic wedding we fell in love with the local cooking. It took me a while to find the right mix of ingredients when changed to a vegan diet, but there have become one of our household favorites.

Scotch bonnet peppers are a staple of Jamaican Jerk cooking. They look like a Scottish hat, hence the name. They are similar to habanero peppers, which are some of the hottest peppers on the planet.

Jamaican Jerk kabobs not only provide plenty of protein but will seriously boost your daily intake of fresh fruits and vegetables!

Vegan Jamaican Jerk Kabobs

Kabob ingredients:

2 8 oz. packages of chicken chunk alternative  (plain, no breading)
1 15 oz. can pineapple
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 orange pepper
1 8 oz. package small portobello mushroom caps
½ onion

Jamaican Jerk marinade ingredients:

½ cup packed brown sugar
8 garlic cloves
4 Scotch Bonnet peppers
2 bunches scallions (green onions)
1 tablespoon ground thyme
¼ cup organic allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Dump thawed vegan chicken chunks in a large shallow dish. Use a fork or meat fork to punch holes into the chunks, which will allow them to absorb more marinade. In traditional Jamaican cooking, the meat is scored and rubbed with the sauce for more flavor.

Drain juice from pineapple; reserve juice in a bowl, and add pineapple to the vegan chicken chunks. Chop peppers and portobellos into bite-sized chunks that will easily stay put on a skewer.

Slice the halved onion vertically into wedges. Add peppers, portobellos, and onion to the pile of vegan chicken chunks.

Chop and add scallions, thyme, and all other Jerk marinade ingredients to a blender or food processor; puree until smooth.

When chopping the peppers, be sure to wear rubber gloves, and wash your hands thoroughly afterward. And whatever you do, don’t rub your eye! You can decrease the heat of the peppers by discarding the seeds and by reducing the number of peppers you use.

Likewise, you can turn up the heat by retaining the seeds and increasing the numbers of peppers. You can add a little more soy sauce, or even some of the pineapple juice, to make the marinade more liquid if you like.

Pour the marinade over the vegan chicken and chopped vegetables. Traditional Jamaican Jerk cooking calls for marinading overnight, then cooking very slow over a low charcoal fire.

But if it’s winter or you’re in a pinch for time, you can marinade the vegan chicken and vegetables in the refrigerator for an hour. Then place them on skewers and broil them until the edges of the vegan chicken and vegetables are crispy and beginning to blacken.

If you can’t find any Scotch bonnet peppers, try organic jalapenos. You can also experiment with using different types of organic produce. Try cherry tomatoes, mangoes–whatever you like.

To make this meal truly traditional Jamaican, serve the kabobs with a side of hard dough bread. Red Stripe beer optional. Serves four. You be jammin’, mon!

Want more recipes like these? I post a new recipe every Saturday.

cj "cathy jo" johnson





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