I’m so excited to share this recipe for vegan beef and cheese Jamaican patties with you. I’ve published it with permission from author Denai Moore. These are from her cookbook, Plentiful, which you should definitely check out!
I recently made another recipe from a fellow vegan creator’s cookbook. You can see how School Night Vegan’s tofu salmon fillets turned out here. Out of all the beautiful recipes in Plentiful this one caught my eye. I’ve never ever had a vegan Jamaican patty and the nostalgia is huge for these. I used to eat real Jamaican beef patties from the corner store in high school. Although most high school memories are shit, this one is deliciously memorable!
In Plentiful, a book that’s the first of its kind, Denai Moore pays homage to flavors and authentic dishes from her Jamaican roots whilst firmly planting them within a modern-day context. From her convenient Rice & Peas Arancini to her comforting ‘Oxtail’ Gravy & Roasted Garlic Spring Onion Mash, the recipes are approachable, engaging, and downright delicious.
Jamaican food is often misrepresented, simplified, and reduced to being really spicy – and MEAT heavy. Denai is a Jamaican chef who loves to make vegan food and in Plentiful she debunks this taboo about Jamaican food. With this book, she shows how exciting, diverse, and vibrant vegan flavors and Jamaican food truly are.
Follow Denai on Instagram for more too!
As Denai mentions in her book these patties are a labor of love and are totally worth preparing especially if you’re going to share them with close friends or family. The vegan beef filling is incredibly flavorful. Actually, it’s so amazing I would make it by itself and eat it over rice!
how to make Jamaican patties
First, watch the video that I made for my YouTube channel, as watching the steps will definitely help. Despite me kind of messing up the dough the way it was instructed, the recipe worked out completely fine. I had to troubleshoot and simply incorporated all the butter into the dough and added more flour until it was the right texture. This is more like an enriched pizza dough. But I realize it’s probably simpler and more foolproof if you make the dough like a pie crust. And skip the extra layers of butter. I will provide instructions for that in the written recipe.
Denai makes a laminated dough, like a rough puff pastry. She does this by using a lot of vegan butter that’s very cold and rolling it between layers of dough. Now even I haven’t made a laminated dough from scratch, so this was a first for me. Obviously, it takes practice. So what I did to fix my mistakes might not be the correct way to make a Jamaican patty pastry, but I found the modified method to be satisfying in the end nonetheless. My butter started getting too warm when I rolled out the final dough.
Hot tip: chill longer than mentioned, perhaps. I think it will even depend on what brand of vegan butter you use! And especially if your house is particularly warm. I was doing this in the dead of summer and this LA heat is no joke!
I also chose to brush my finished patties with a coating of Just Egg, since that’s what I had available in the fridge and I know from experience it makes a nice shiny finish on baked pastry. Feel free to do the same or follow the instructions in Denai’s recipe below. I’ve written the recipe straight from her cookbook, so watch the video for other tips and tricks. You might notice I forgot to add green onion to my filling too. It didn’t make a big difference as I’m obsessed with the filling!
vegan beef and cheese jamaican patties
The recipe is written as it is in the cookbook, Plentiful, but I offer an alternative to making the dough that might be a little easier for you.
- 7 1/2oz / 215g salted vegan butter block (if making the dough the simpler way you only need 4oz of butter)
- 3 1/4 C all-purpose flour
- 4 tsp ground turmeric
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 7oz / 200ml cold water
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp molasses
- 1 tbsp white miso paste
beef and cheese filling
- 2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 green onions, finely chopped
- 2 tsp ground allspice
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Scotch bonnet or habanero, deseeded and finely chopped
- 7oz / 200g vegan ground beef
- 2/3 C boiling water
- 2 springs fresh thyme, leaves chopped
- salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 slices vegan cheddar cheese, halved
- nondairy milk, for brushing pastry
To make the pastry, cut the butter into two pieces of 3 1/2oz / 95g and 4oz / 120g. Half the 4oz / 120g portion in two and then freeze all three portions of butter until very cold, at least 15 minutes. If you want to make a simpler dough like the way you would make pie crust, then take only 4oz of butter and cut it into small cubes then freeze it until very cold.
In a food processor, combine the flour, turmeric, salt, and sugar. Take the 3 1/2oz of cold butter and cut it into cubes or small pieces. Feed it through the food processor tube while blitzing. Mix until it resembles breadcrumbs. To make the simpler version you can combine the flour, turmeric, salt and sugar in a bowl with a whisk or in the food processor. Take the 4oz of cubed chilled butter and feed it through the food processor tube while blitzing. Mix until it resembles breadcrumbs. Or if making this by hand in a bowl you can use 2 forks, a pastry cutter, or your fingers to pinch or cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resemebles a crumble dough.
Slowly stream the cold water while blending or mix it by hand with a spoon in the bowl. It will come together as a dough, cleaning the sides of the food processor or bowl. Wrap this dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 1 hour in the fridge. If you followed teh simpler method your dough can chill as long as you like and then it's ready to roll out and cut into circles once the filling has cooled.
Make the flavor paste by whisking together the soy suace, tomato paste, molasses, and miso in a bowl. Set aside.
To make the filling, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and sweat the onions for about 5 minutes with a good pinch of salt. Add the allspice, garlic, and hot pepper and allow to soften for about 2 minutes. Add the flavor paste and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the vegan ground beef. Break it up if it comes in block form like the Beyond Meat or Impossible product and cook until it's browned and cooked through. Then deglaze the pan with boiling water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, add the thyme and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until reduced. You want the mixture to be thick and saucy, so reduce further or top up with more water as needed. Season with salt and ground pepper to taste, then transfer to a bowl and allow to cool completely before adding it in the pastry.
To continue with the pastry (for the laminted method), remove the dough from the fridge after 1 hour. It's fine to leave it in there longer as well. It should be chilled so that it's firm and not too soft. Roll it on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle. Grate one of the frozen 2oz portions of butter over the top of the dough to cover. Fold over either side of the pastry rectangle to meet in the middle, sealing the edges. Then fold again in the other direction. Seal together, cover in plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. If you are in a warm environment definitely chill your dough for much longer. Repeat the above steps again with the remaining 2oz of chilled butter.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4-inch thick. Cut out as many 6-inch circles as you can. Add a heaping tablespoon of the beef and cheese filling onto one half of each circle leaving a 1/2-inch gap around the edge, then top with the cheese. Brush the edges with a little bit of water, fold the empty half of the pastry over the filled side and crimp or use fork prongs pressed all around the edge to seal. Repeat until you've made all the patties. Place the patties on a baking tray and brush with a little bit of nondairy milk. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and flaky.