Here’s an easy recipe for vegan Jamaican jerk seitan that you can switch up using seitan, beefy-style plant protein, or tofu. This skillet dish is light and lovely, like an ocean breeze, even if not totally authentic.
It’s a feast for the eyes and a treat for the palate, with its sweet and savory notes.
Serve it straight from the skillet and let everyone make their own plates, or construct individual bowl servings as shown in the accompanying photos.
Either way, this lovely vegan jerk dish is delicious served with coconut rice and garnished with mango, avocado, and cilantro.
A shortcut jerk sauce
The key to any Caribbean-inspired jerk dish is a good sauce. Though I do like good-quality prepared sauces, I haven’t found a bottled jerk sauce I completely love. They’re usually way too salty.
On the other hand, to make an authentic Jamaican Jerk sauce requires Scotch Bonnet peppers and a few other ingredients that aren’t close at hand.
My compromise is Jamaican-Inspired Easy Jerk Sauce which you can you can link to and use for this and other recipes in the future; I’m reprinting it here so you need not toggle back and forth while making this recipe. It’s made in minutes if you have the right ingredients.
That said, feel free to use bottled jerk sauce, which you’ll find shelved with other BBQ sauce and other marinades in well-stocked supermarkets. Compare brands, because you’ll want to find one with natural ingredients and the lowest possible sodium content.
Homemade Super-Easy Jerk Sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot
- 2/3 cup juice fresh or bottled orange juice
- 2 tablespoons molasses or agave
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- Juice of 1 lime (or 2 to 3 tablespoons bottled lime juice)
- 1 small hot chile pepper, seeded and minced, or 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon Jamaican jerk seasoning blend (see Notes)
1 Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tablespoons or so of water in a small bowl. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and whisk together.
2 Use as directed as recipes; by adding this sauce to a recipe toward the end of cooking time and cooking briefly, it will thicken up nicely.
Plant protein options
DIY or packaged seitan: For the seitan, you can use a packaged variety (available in natural foods stores and some supermarkets). If you’re a DIY kind of person, try this site’s Easy Homemade Seitan recipe. See our Guide to Seitan featuring lots more hearty seitan recipes.
Other options for “beef”-style plant protein: there are several brands of plant-based beefy-style protein including Gardein and Viana.
Or go with soy: You can also vary this recipe by using baked tofu (use two 8-ounce packages) or Butler’s Soy Curls.
Other Jamaican-inspired recipes you may enjoy:
Recipe adapted from Plant-Powered Protein by Nava Atlas. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky, BitterwseetBlog.com.
- 1 1/2 cups white Basmati rice
- 2 cups water
- 14-ounce can light coconut milk
- 1 recipe Jamaican-Inspired Easy Jerk Sauce (see the full recipe above recipe box) or about 3/4 cup good-quality bottled jerk sauce, as needed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large red or yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into long, narrow strips
- 1 medium green bell pepper, cut into long narrow strips
- 12 to 16 ounces packaged or Easy Homemade Seitan (see link in Notes) or beef-style plant protein (see options in Notes), in bite-sized chunks or strips
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups diced fresh ripe mango (or use canned if unavailable)
- 1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and diced or sliced
- Parsley, cilantro, or basil for garnish
- Combine the rice, water, and coconut milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a slow boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the liquid has absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. If the rice isn’t done to your liking, add 1/2 cup additional water and cook until absorbed.
- Follow the recipe to make the jerk sauce; skip this step if using bottled sauce.
- Heat half of the oil in a wide skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the peppers and continue to cook until the onions and peppers are lightly browned. Transfer to a bowl or plate.
- Heat the remaining oil in the skillet. Add the plant protein and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown on most sides.
- Pour in the sauce, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for a minute or so longer, until the sauce has thickened and the seitan is nicely glazed. Stir in the onions and peppers.
- To serve from the skillet: Have everyone take some rice to use as a bed for the jerk protein. The avocado and mango are served on the side and the cilantro is sprinkled on top.
- To make bowls: Distribute some cooked rice between 4 shallow bowls. Arrange the jerk seitan and peppers on one side of each bowl, and some of the avocado and mango next to it. Sprinkle some fresh herb over the top and serve at once.
Use packaged seitan; or try Easy Homemade Seitan — you’ll need about half of the recipe. There are several brands of plant-based beef-style protein including Gardein and Viana.
Variation: Try varying this recipe with baked tofu (use two 8-ounce packages) or Butler’s Soy Curls.
If you like this seitan recipe, see lots more …
Here are more ways to veganize classic recipes.