Most people think grilling enthusiasts are all about the meat, but there is a rising vegan and plant-based trend focused on living healthier and balanced. What's gained in nutrition doesn't have to be sacrificed in flavor as we see in Jamaican Jerk Grilled Eggplant. Featuring the same beloved bold and spicy flavors of Jamaican jerk style cooking, thick eggplant steaks soak up the spices and marinade with terrific texture and color. Taking only thirty minutes to prep and grill makes this dish an instant weeknight favorite when time is limited.

The eggplant is hearty but still not as dense as beef, meaning it doesn't need to marinate for hours to soak in the flavor and moisture. The marinade is an explosive mixture of citrus, spices, sugar, garlic, tamari, and serrano pepper, hitting the spicy and sweet combination known in jerk cooking. The eggplant steaks can be grilled straight on the grates or using a grill pan using some oil to prevent sticking. The Muscle Grill Griddle Plate accessory from American Made Grills is handy for grilling vegetable and meat-substitute dishes that are more delicate. To finish, a matching barbecue sauce featuring ginger, lime juice, and coconut sugar is like a delightfully sticky glaze. Served over rice, this dish is a quick and healthy end to a busy day with an addictive fiery-sweet zing.

Serves 2-3

Jamaican Jerk Grilled Eggplant Ingredients


  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp each sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced (~2 Tbsp minced garlic per 4 cloves)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 cup tamari or coconut aminos (or soy sauce if not GF)
  • 2-3 Tbsp coconut sugar or maple syrup (plus more to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil (or grapeseed or avocado oil / plus more for grilling)
  • 3 stalks green onions or scallions (thinly sliced)
  • 1 medium serrano or habanero pepper (thinly sliced, seeds removed)
  • 1 large eggplant (or sub two small ones for each large one)


  • 1/4 cup vegan BBQ sauce (I like Annie’s)
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp grapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • A pinch of sea salt and black pepper
  • One stalk of green onion (thinly sliced)
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Jamaican Jerk Grilled Eggplant Directions

  1. In a small mixing bowl, mix cinnamon, coriander, allspice, cayenne, salt, pepper, thyme, garlic, ginger, lime juice, tamari, coconut sugar, coconut oil, green onions or scallions, and serrano/habanero pepper.
  2. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more tamari for saltiness, lime juice for acidity, fresh herbs for an earthy flavor, coconut sugar for sweetness, pepper for heat, or garlic for an added bite/zing.
  3. Slice eggplant vertically (lengthwise) into 1/2-inch-thick “steaks” and generously brush both sides with the marinade.
  4. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat and lightly oil/grease to discourage the eggplant from sticking. Once hot, add eggplant and grill on both sides until golden brown and grill marks are present – about 3-5 minutes each side.
  5. In the meantime, prepare the sauce by adding BBQ sauce, lime juice, oil, coconut sugar/maple syrup, ginger, salt, pepper, onion, and cayenne pepper to a small and whisking to combine. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lime for acidity, coconut sugar for sweetness, cayenne for heat, or salt for saltiness.
  6. Serve grilled eggplant over rice or cauliflower rice with sauce, and garnish with fresh herbs, such as parsley or green onion. Best when fresh! Leftovers won't be as good as new, but they will keep up to 2-3 days in the refrigerator.

Taken from