Caribbean Jerk Chili (Vegan)

Ages ago I entered a chili competition at work. (Like, back when I was actually working at a real job. Which yes, has been ages ago.) I did a Caribbean Jerk Chicken Chili. I had just returned to Canada from living in the Dominican Republic. I was home-sick and missed tropical flavors. There’s a post on this site with that recipe. It has chicken in it. Silly me. But I don’t want to delete it. There’s memories there.

In any case, even though the Dominican Republic isn’t like some of the other Caribbean islands where there’s jerk seasoning I took some liberties and emphasized that this was Caribbean-inspired. From my brain. Not authentic food.

So it was probably at least 2 full years ago when I came up with this recipe. I’ve never made it since. While there were meaty months within those last two years, this chili dish never made it back onto the menu. Now that I’ve returned to being fully vegan, I’m starting to think it’s time for a vegan version of this dish. It turned out even better than the chicken chili. I promise! I’m not even exaggerating to sell you on the vegan version.

One of these days I intend on making my very own jerk seasoning but not this time. Sorry.

I did find a great brand of Jamaican Jerk Seasoning at Superstore though. It’s in the international foods aisle. It’s Walkerswood Traditional Jerk Seasoning. I chose this one ¬†because they use virtually no junk in their products. Everything Walkerswood produces is gluten-free. The ingredients in this Jerk paste are simple: scallions, scotch bonnet peppers, salt, black pepper, all spice, nutmeg, citric acid, cane sugar, thyme leaves. No fillers, no hard to pronounce chemical ingredients. The flavor and the heat are both great.

caribbean jerk chili

vegan chili

Caribbean Jerk Chili (Vegan)

5.0 from 2 reviews
Caribbean Jerk Chili (Vegan)
Recipe type: Main Courses
Serves: 6-8
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 rounded teaspoonfuls Walkerswood Traditional Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1-2 tablespoons lime juice, to taste
  • 3 (14 oz.) cans beans, drained and rinsed (see note below)
  • Water, to cover
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  1. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat.
  2. Saute garlic, celery, onion, and bell pepper about 3 minutes until they begin to soften.
  3. Add Jamaican Jerk seasoning, starting with a bit at a time.
  4. Add coconut milk, tomato paste, rinsed beans and lime juice. Stir to combine well.
  5. Taste for seasoning and add more Jerk if necessary. Remember: It's easier to add heat than take it away!
  6. Cover pot, reduce heat to minimum and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add in half of the diced mango and half of the minced cilantro. Stir to combine. Replace cover and let simmer another 10 minutes.
  8. Serve over rice with fresh mango and cilantro to garnish.


Note about the beans: I originally used canellini (white kidney) beans for this but when I went to make this I realized I had run out. This time I used a can of navy beans, a can of black-eyed peas and a can of Romano beans. I actually really loved the combination of these three. I called it small, medium, large and the varying textures and starchiness really added a depth to the chili that I didn’t get when I used just canellini beans. So, try experimenting!

I also feel I need to clarify what I mean by ‘2 heaping teaspoonfuls’ of the Jerk seasoning. I used just a regular spoon, not a measuring spoon, rounded with a big dollop of the Jerk seasoning. That’s as accurate as I can get. You should be starting small and tasting as you go anyway to avoid overdoing the spice for your personal tastes.

This might seem like an odd recipe but I just love it. My tummy is so full right now and I can’t stop thinking about eating this again for lunch tomorrow. That’s how much I love it. I hope you do too.

Have you ever come up with an adventurous recipe that sounds far-fetched but turns out amazing? I’d love to hear about it!

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24 Responses to “Caribbean Jerk Chili (Vegan)”

  1. Lise
    June 25, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    What a great idea. I love jerk seasoning but I never really know what to do with it. I will be making this for dinner next week!

    • Megan
      June 26, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

      I hope you love it as much as we do!

      • Lise
        July 4, 2012 at 7:40 am #

        I made it last night. So good!! This will for sure be a staple from now on. Thank you!

        • Megan
          July 4, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

          Yay! I’m so thrilled it was a hit. :) Thanks for letting me know how you liked it.

  2. brendan
    July 11, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    this is great – made it last night and my wife loved it. simple and delicious!

    • Megan
      July 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      Love to hear stuff like this Brendan! Thanks for stopping by to tell me. It’s one of our favorites now too.

  3. Rabz
    July 12, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    Megan, I was looking forward to making this but for the life of me, I can’t find the Walkerswood Traditional Jamaican Jerk Seasoning. I looked everywhere even Wholefoods. Where do you find it?

    • Megan
      July 12, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

      So I’m here in Canada, and I found it in the ethnic aisle of Superstore. Honestly, you could just make this with any ‘safe’ jerk seasoning and I bet you’d still have tremendous success. Try it out with a brand of jerk seasoning paste you can find easily locally and let me know how you liked it. Get an idea of what is in the Walkerswood one from their site and pick a seasoning paste with similar ingredients and you should be okay.

  4. Rabz
    July 13, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    ah!!! superstore! the one store i didn’t check! :) i am in canada as well (vancouver). will go there tomorrow. thanks!

  5. erica
    July 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    If you have Bed Bath and Beyond near you. They will have it in their food/spice area.

    • Rabz
      July 15, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

      thanks erica, found it at superstore. will cook this and cinnamon buns tomorrow …yum :)

  6. Seraphina
    August 8, 2012 at 2:24 am #

    Made this tonight and OMG!! SO amazing. I’m not a huge fan of chili as a rule but this is no ordinary chili! It will be served in my house over and over again! Thank you so much!

    • Megan
      August 8, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

      Love hearing stuff like this Seraphina. Thanks for stopping by to share. I don’t think I’m a huge chili fan normally either but you’re right … this is no ordinary chili. Glad you guys enjoyed it. :)

  7. Theyearofautumn
    October 16, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    Just made this for lunch and it is brilliant! Both me and the hubby looove it!! Going to recommend this to friends and family for sure, and will definitely be making this again. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe :) I love Jamaican (and other ethnic) food so the flavors here are very well suited to my taste buds. Delish!

    • October 16, 2012 at 11:35 am #

      Thanks so much for your comment! I’m thrilled you and your hubby loved this recipe. It’s one of the favorites in our house too.

  8. Justina
    October 21, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    How much does this recipe typically yield? We are thinking of making it tonight, but aren’t sure how much to make.

    • October 21, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

      This will serve 6-8 easily!

  9. teri
    November 14, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    I’m going to be trying this for sure! Might sound odd, but i’m going to use garbanzo beans and either navy beans or kidney beans…i just love caribbean jerk!

    • November 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

      Using garbanzo beans does not sound odd to me at all. I’m a huge fan of switching up the beans. Enjoy!

  10. December 27, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    This is SO delicious! Thanks for such a great recipe, perfect for the winter ;-)

    • December 28, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

      You’re welcome Akeiba! Glad you enjoyed it. I agree – this does make for a perfect winter chili. :)

  11. September 27, 2014 at 5:32 am #

    Please be mindful that walkers wood may contain non-gluten free soy sauce in it’s ingredient list.

    • September 30, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

      Thanks for the note Chris. I just double checked on the Walkerswood website at all their ingredients labels and none even list soy sauce at all. Perhaps we are thinking of different products? In any case, the ingredients on the Traditional Jerk Seasoning appears to be gluten-free.

  12. Dana
    January 7, 2015 at 1:46 am #

    Just made this tonight…LOVED it. Even my teenager liked it! =)

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