It’s time to switch up your usual bowl game with this Jerk Soul Bowl. This dish is full of bold Caribbean flavor, and it’s easy to make! It consists of four components – plantains, jackfruit, curry chickpeas, and cabbage. Jerk paste, warm spices, aromatics, and scotch bonnet help flavor the dish. This healthy Soul Bowl recipe can be used as a lunch or dinner option or for meal prep throughout the week.
Bowl VERZUZ Battle: How It Works
Welcome to the first inaugural BOWL VERZUZ! This week is round 2 of the head-to-head battle with my husband, Chef Kenneth Temple. Each week we are given the same featured ingredient, and we must build a bowl around that ingredient. This week’s featured ingredient – jackfruit.
Every Friday in January, we will share our submissions, and we need you to vote on the best bowl by leaving a message in the comments below. My submission for this week’s battle is Jerk Soul Bowl, loaded with island flavor. While Kenneth’s delicious Vegan Chipotle Bowl With Jackfruit can be found here. If you like mine, leave a message below. If his bowl is your favorite, leave a comment on his page.
Vegetarian Soul Bowl With Island Flavors
I love everything Jerk flavored, jerk sauce, jerk chicken, jerk veggies; I even have a recipe for a jerk turkey. There’s some about jerk flavoring, its boldness, the balance of sweet and spicy that really checks so many boxes for me. I should have known that it would translate so well into a Soul Bowl. A soul bowl is just a hearty bowl of goodness, typically filled with plantains, rice, peas, and some type of protein. I went with jackfruit as my primary protein source in this recipe because it’s such a great meat alternative that really absorbs flavor well.
The key to working with jackfruit is releasing all its moisture. I wrap it in a towel and apply pressure to extract the excess moisture. By doing this, you help it absorb more flavor and get a crispier texture that mimics chicken.
Ready to make a jerk soul bowl that guarantees to impress? You’re going to need a few key ingredients, as listed below.
- Jackfruit: You can find canned jackfruit at most grocery stores. If you want to swap it out for meat or pulled chicken, that would also work great in the bowl.
- Jerk Paste: This is essential for infusing tons of amazing Caribbean flavors into the jackfruit, which will serve as the star of the dish. You can choose your favorite store-bought jerk paste or make this recipe from scratch.
- Plantains: A Caribbean food staple, plantains are the banana’s less sweet and starchier cousin. If you’ve never tried plantains fried in butter before, you are in for a serious treat.
- Jamaican Steamed Cabbage: Tender shredded cabbage with a combination of floral herbs and warm spices, aromatics like carrots, bell peppers, and garlic, the island’s staple pepper scotch bonnet, that ensure every bite is bursting with flavor.
- Channa (Chickpea Curry): No need to start from scratch on this one. A Dozen Cousin’s Trini Chickpea Curry is a delicious store-bought alternative full of Island flavor without all the work. Their curried chickpeas are boldly flavored and slow simmered with onion, garlic, and spices making them the perfect easy compliment to amp up the Caribbean flavor in this soul bowl.
- Scotch Bonnet Pepper: Prominent in both West African and Caribbean cuisine, scotch bonnet peppers add the perfect amount of heat to wake up your taste buds and liven up the dish. If you’re worried about the heat, feel free to reduce the amount.
How to Make the Best Jerk Soul Bowl
This soul bowl recipe is easy to make and beyond worth it for the show-stopping flavors. It consists of three components –plantains, jackfruit, and cabbage– so let’s break down how to make the dish in its entirety.
Fried Plantains: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Once hot, add butter and stir to melt. Add enough plantains to fill a single layer in the skillet.
Fry for 2 to 3 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove from the oil and sprinkle both sides with kosher salt while hot.
Jerk Jackfruit: Drain and rinse the jackfruit, then add to a large bowl. Use two forks to gently pull apart and shred the jackfruit. Wrap the pulled jackfruit into a clean towel and press out any excess moisture.
Add the jackfruit back to the bowl and toss the jackfruit in the jerk paste, making sure that it is fully coated. In a cast-iron skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add the butter, and once melted, add the jackfruit, then spread across the pan in an even layer.
Reduce heat to medium and continue for 20 minutes, stirring and flattening to an even layer every 5 minutes.
Jamaican Steamed Cabbage: Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, add the onion, scotch bonnet, and thyme, then sauté for two minutes. Add the garlic, bell peppers, carrots, scallions, salt, and pepper into the pan and toss to combine, cooking for two minutes.
Add in the cabbage, vegetable broth, and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low, cover with lid, and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Bowl Assembly: Divide the cabbage among 4 bowls. Top with jackfruit, followed by plantains and chickpeas. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with a side of mango pepper sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the answers to some of the most popular questions about this jerk soul bowl recipe:
What is Caribbean Food?
Caribbean cuisine is made up of a melting pot of influences from all over the world. Culinary influences from India, France, Africa, Spain, and many more countries play a huge role in the richness and diversity that make Caribbean food so beloved.
For example, when people from African countries came to the Caribbean islands, they brought foods like saltfish, mangoes, and okra. These foods were then transformed with Caribbean flair and turned into their own unique dishes like Jamaican saltfish fritters and mango salsa.
Today, Caribbean food is a blend of African, Creole, Latin American, Cajun, European, Chinese, and Middle Eastern food. This type of cuisine emphasizes vibrant spices and fresh ingredients. We have the Caribbean (and all the cultures that have impacted the region) to thank for amazing dishes like this flavorful Jerk Soul Bowl!
What is jackfruit?
Jackfruit is a tropical fruit native to South Asia that is mild in flavor and similar to pulled meat in texture. It’s often used by vegans, restaurants, and foodies alike as a natural plant-based alternative to meat.
In this dish, we simmer the jackfruit in jerk paste and butter to allow it to absorb tons of incredible flavors. I bet you could trick your friends into thinking it’s pulled chicken!
What are the best soul bowl toppings?
You can choose from a wide range of toppings to dress up your soul bowl. That being said, I recommend reaching for simple additions that complement the flavors of the bowl and add a pop of color. My favorite toppings for this dish include fresh cilantro, Trini chickpeas, and my mango pepper sauce.
Can you make this a vegan jerk soul bowl?
Of course! Because we use jackfruit instead of meat, this dish is naturally vegetarian. To take it a step further and make it a vegan jerk soul bowl, all you have to do is replace the butter with a plant-based butter alternative.
Jerk Soul Bowl Storage Tips
Looking to make this dish in advance? Everything can be made 24-48 hours ahead of time and stored in individual airtight containers in the fridge until you’re ready.
If you end up making more than you can eat, don’t worry. Jerk soul bowls are great for saving for later! Make sure to store the fried plantains, jerk jackfruit, and steamed cabbage separately for best results. You can store this dish as explained below.
Fried Plantains – In the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Jerk Jackfruit – In the fridge for 4-5 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Jamaican Steamed Cabbage – In the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
More Recipe Ideas
Now it’s your turn!
This Jerk Soul Bowl is a must-try for anyone who loves bold flavors and easy, healthy recipes. With Caribbean-inspired flavors, this dish is full of delicious ingredients like plantains, cabbage, jackfruit, and curry chickpeas. Topped with fresh cilantro and serve with a side mango pepper sauce.
I hope this recipe has inspired some cravings in you because now is the time to whip up your breakfast burrito bowls! Remember to come back and leave me a five-star review when you do.
Oh and don’t forget to cast your vote for the Bowl Verzuz Battle down below as well.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 very ripe plantains peeled & sliced (see note 1)
- cooking spray
- 28 oz Jackfruit (2 cans) drained & shredded
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 3 tablespoons jerk paste
Jamaican Steamed Cabbage
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ medium yellow onion sliced thin
- ½ scotch bonnet minced
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 red bell pepper julienned
- 1 medium carrot julienned
- 2 scallions chopped
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ large head cabbage shredded
- 1/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth or water
Plating & Garnish
- Mango Pepper Sauce [see note 3]
- fresh cilantro
- 10 oz Trini Chickpea Curry (A Dozen Cousins) warm
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Once hot add butter and stir to help melt. Add enough plantain to fill a single layer in the skillet.
- Fry until golden brown 2 to 3 minutes per side, then turn over for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from the oil and sprinkle both sides with kosher salt while hot.
Jerk jack Fruit
- Drain and rinse the jackfruit and add to a large bowl. Use two forks to gently pull apart and shred the jackfruit. Wrap the pulled jackfruit into a clean towel and press out any excess moisture.
- Add the jackfruit back to the bowl and toss the jackfruit in the jerk paste making sure that it is fully coated.
- In a cast-iron skillet, heat oil over high temp. Add the butter and once melted, add the jackfruit, and spread across the pan in an even layer. Reduce heat to medium and continue for 20 minutes, stirring and flattening to an even layer every 5 minutes.
Jamaican Steamed Cabbage
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil and butter until butter is melted. Add the onion, scotch bonnet, and thyme and sautee for two minutes. Add the garlic, bell peppers, carrots, scallions, salt, and pepper into the pan and toss to combine and cook for two minutes.
- Add in the cabbage, vegetable broth, and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover with lid, and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Trini Chickpeas (A Dozen Cousins)
- Follow package instructions to warm up.
To assemble bowl
- Divide the cabbage among 4 bowls. Top with jackfruit followed by plantains and chickpeas. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with a side mango pepper sauce.
- Plantains should be sliced diagonally or at a bias about ½ inch thick.
- Steamed cabbage and jackfruit can both be cooked at the same time
- Jerk Paste can be store-bought or homemade. For storebought I like Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning. To make from scratch use this recipe.
- Mango pepper sauce can be store-bought or homemade. For storebought I like Shaquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce. To make from scratch my recipes is below:
- Mango Pepper Sauce Ingredients 4 habanero chilies with seeds, remove seeds to mellow down the heat 10 oz mango nectar 1 carrot diced 1 small yellow onion diced (about 3/4 cup) 5 cloves garlic ½ cup rice vinegar or white vinegar or apple cider vinegar 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice 2 tablespoons honey ½ teaspoon ground allspice 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Mango Pepper Sauce Instructions
- With gloves, cut habanero peppers in half. Remove seeds if you want to reduce the heat. Add the pepper and the rest of the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth – 30 seconds. Transfer to a saucepan and simmer on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes with constant stirring. Remove from heat and allow the sauce to cool to room temperature. Pour into air-tight container and store in the refrigerator until use.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
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