Jamaican Inspired Jerk Lentils

I know a recipe is good when I don’t have to ask someone how it is. They just tell me. In a way, I’ve been super proud of what I’ve been able to research recently when it comes to Caribbean flavors. By no means do I claim myself an expert, but I absolutely appreciate all of the complex flavors they are able to create in their dishes. One of the main things you’ll hear might be in the form of jerk spice.

The term jerk spice is related to the rub that often used to coat the outside surface of different meats before they were cooked/smoked. It also is one of the key identifying flavors for Jamaican cuisine. It’s origins point toward tribes within Jamaica that began the practice of jerking, which involves poking holes into meat to help absorb flavor. Smokey, spicy, a little sweet and most important is making sure that the flavors fully infuse into the food.

This made me go to the store…which ultimately led me to the spice aisle. This only caused me to be disappointed that there was no jerk spice available. So I decided to make my own instead based on the multiple resources I’ve found over the last month. I’m sure it is far from truly authentic, but it does combine a lot of the traditional seasonings you find in the typical seasoning mix.

It’s a long list, but make a batch and you are set for a few meals at least.

Homemade Jerk Spice Blend

  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp dry thyme
  • 2 tsp dry parsley
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Add ingredients to a jar, seal and shake and you are ready to go.

Dinner was definitely more delicious with it. So if you want to know the first recipe you should make with this spice blend, I highly recommend making some beans and veggies flavorful with it. The following recipe is definitely a keeper for me.

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Jamaican Inspired Jerk Lentils

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 14 reviews
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course


Global eating is so important, and I feel like I'm able to experience a little more by learning about jerk spice. So delicious and if you're lucky enough, hopefully you can find this spice in your international section of your store.


  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1/2 red onion (diced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger (minced)
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp jerk seasoning (homemade or store bought)
  • 2 tsp brown mustard
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 3 cups mushroom or vegetable broth
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • Zest of 1 lime


  1. In a medium pot, add in onion and saute until softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add in ginger, garlic and bell pepper and saute until garlic and ginger become fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add in lentils, tomatoes, jerk seasoning, mustard and maple syrup.
  4. Stir to combine and then add broth.
  5. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat down to a simmer.
  6. Cover lentils and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes or until most of liquid is absorbed by the lentils and lentils have become tender.
  7. Add in lime zest and lime juice, stir and remove from heat to serve.


  • Save some prep time by purchasing pre-mince ginger and garlic (definitely no shame doing that). 
  • Really great as a meal prep item paired with either rice or plantains and some veggies like spinach. 

Did You Try This Recipe?
Then let me know what you thought! Share your creations by tagging me on Instagram with the hashtag #plantbasedrdeats



  1. Easy recipe.. I look forward to making the home made jerk spice and making my food even more interesting
    I usually end up using my Indian spices and curry powder so this jerk spice will be a new addition to my spice cupboard.

    1. So glad to hear on all accounts! I love playing around with different spice blends to get some additional fun flavors in my meal rotations. I’m a huge fan of Indian spices and hope this jerk spice adds to the fun flavors you already have!

        1. Personally, I used a dry saute method on a non-stick surface, but you can absolutely use oil, water or vegetable broth to help prevent any sticking. Hope this helps!

  2. One of the most delicious recipes I have ever made!!!!! This is the second time I cooked this as of last night, and everyone who ate scraped their plates clean 😍 if that doesn’t say something, I don’t know what does!!! Thank you for this beautiful and flavorful meal!

    1. Honestly, this comment brings me the greatest joy! So so thrilled Judy. Thank you for taking the time to share this. Makes me so happy I shared this. 🙂

      1. Thank you!!! Seriously, I’m so obsessed, I’m making it again tonight 🤣 would love some more recipes from you!

  3. This was very good! I did cheat and used the Jamaican jerk seasoning we already had from the store, but never thought of using it on lentils before.

    Followed your suggestions and made a bowl with rice, spinach, fried plantain, and the jerk lentils.
    Put a pic on instagram.

    1. I’m so thrilled to hear that Larry! Thank you so much for making these lentils. Definitely nothing wrong with using jerk season, definitely makes life easier. 🙂 Looking forward to seeing your picture!

  4. These were so delicious! I made them to use as filling for your sweet potato empanadas recipe and they were fabulous. We had extra lentils and they were perfect on their own, too. Will definitely make again in the future!

      1. I was just wondering how they’d be in the same empanada recipe I just read! I am definitely going to try. Once I smoked lentils on the grill alongside my partner’s non vegan meal…he enjoyed smoking everything ! They tasted so good alongside other grilled veggies!

        1. That would be a perfect filling! I love lentils in general in my empanadas and think these would go perfectly in them. 🙂 Super glad you enjoyed them! Makes me so happy to hear.

    1. I’m so glad you made this! Thank you! And yes, I’ve frozen this with great success. Hope that helps!

  5. I love this recipe! I’ve shared it three times since I made it this morning. This will definitely be my go to recipe for sharing meals.

  6. Yum added plantain pieces in and roasted pinkie and mushrooms yum 😋 was a meal on its own!!! Has with steamed cabbage greens and peas sautés in garlic mint butter and

    1. Makes me so happy to hear. Thank you so much! Plantains with this is the literal best! Really yummy additions. 🙂

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