Image of a stack of Jamaican patties on a white plate and a hand reaching to take one

Vegetable Jamaican Patties Recipe

Jamaican patties may be one of the most iconic dishes from Jamaica. The simple formula of a delicious Caribbean spiced filling inside a flaky pastry means it’s loved by many. Not only for its delicious flavour, but also for its convenience, as it’s a great snack for on the go. 


The most common Jamaican patty filling is ground beef, sometimes with cheese, and you can find lots of Jamaican beef patties recipes online and in almost all Caribbean recipe books. Other popular fillings include chicken, saltfish, ackee and lamb, all seasoned with Caribbean spices and scotch bonnet chilli (if you like spice!). 

Image of two patties on a white place with scotch bonnet chillies in the background

This Jamaican patties recipe uses vegetables as the filling making it suitable for vegetarians. As it’s becoming more common for people to cut down on the amount of meat they consume, I thought this would be a great recipe to start with.

History of Jamaican Patties

The Jamaican patty is a product of the colonial history of Jamaica. It evolved from a mix of Cornish pasties introduced to the Caribbean in colonial times and spices introduced by Indian indentured labourers and enslaved people from Africa. 


Jamaican patties, along with other Jamaican dishes, were then introduced to the United Kingdom and North America in the 20th century when Jamaicans immigrated to different countries. 


In the UK, Jamaican patties became popular in cities like Birmingham, London and Manchester that had a large Caribbean population, especially so after the arrival of the SS Windrush which symbolically marks the beginning of mass immigration of the Windrush Generation to Britain.

Image of Jamaican patties fresh out the oven on a baking tray

In recent years you can find Jamaican patties that have been pre-made and frozen for the mass market. As its population has grown in the UK over the years, you can find all different types of Jamaican patties on the shelves of major UK supermarkets, corner shops, Afro-Caribbean grocery stores, market stalls and even fish and chip shops.


You can also find delicious Jamaican patties in Caribbean restaurants across the UK. One stand out restaurant for Jamaican patties is the Jamaican Patty Company who specialise in patties. It opened its first store in London’s Covent Garden, but you can also find them in London's Liverpool Street area.

Vegetable Jamaican Patties Recipe

This recipe includes a delicious vegetable filling. To make things easier, I used frozen mixed vegetables that included carrots, peas and green beans. But of course you could cut up your favourite fresh vegetables and use them instead to create your own unique vegetable filling.


This delicious recipe will help you bring a taste of the Caribbean to your kitchen. It’s perfect to serve as a snack or a light dinner, and it’s great to make for a party or gathering. In Jamaica, it’s also often eaten as a full meal inside coco bread.

Image of Jamaican patties on a white plate. One is cut in half to show the vegetable filling

This recipe is flavoured with onions, garlic, spring onion, ginger and scotch bonnet chilli, to add some heat. However, if you prefer a milder taste you could always use less scotch bonnet or remove it completely.


Making pastry from scratch can seem daunting, but it can be really simple - especially if you have a food processor. But even if you don’t (I didn’t use one) it can still be easy to whip together, you may just have to spend a little more time on it.


You may also notice that the pastry used to make a Jamaican patties is more yellow in colour than other meat pastries from other cultures. This is because turmeric is used for extra flavour, and as a colouring agent. 


Now for the recipe!

Recipe for Jamaican Vegetable Patties

 

Ingredients

Makes five patties


For the vegetable filling:

  • 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 250g frozen vegetables (1)
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • 2cm grated ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 scotch bonnet, deseeded and chopped (2)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/2 an onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp all purpose seasoning (or more to taste) (3)
  • Black pepper

For pastry:

  • 225g plain flour, sifted
  • 112.5g butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg lightly beaten (4)
Image of Jamaican patties on a white plate

How to make Jamaican Vegetable Patties

Step 1

Boil your frozen vegetable following the packet instructions and then drain.

Step 2

Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan. Add the spring onion, ginger, garlic, scotch bonnet, bay leaf, thyme and onion and fry for 5 minutes until softened.

Step 3

Add in the cooked vegetables, all purpose seasoning and black pepper and cook for around 5 minutes until all nicely combined. Leave to cool. Once cooled, remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.

Step 4

For the pastry:


With a food processor. Put the flour, turmeric, sugar, salt and butter into a food processor and blitz until the mixture forms crumbs. Add around 6 tbsp of ice cold water into the food processor and blitz until the pastry forms into a ball. Cover with cling film and chill for an hour. 


Without a food processor. Put the flour, turmeric, salt and sugar into a bowl and mix. Then add in the butter. Using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it form crumbs. Add around 6 tbsp of ice cold water and mix until the pastry forms into a ball. Cover with cling film and chill for an hour. 

Step 5

Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 6/200°C. Cut your pastry ball in half and roll out each piece to around 3mm thick onto a lightly floured surface or baking paper. Cut around a small round saucer to create 5 rounds of pastry. Re-roll any trimmings as needed.

Step 6

Place the rounds on a baking tray lined with baking paper (you may need more than one). Dollop a generous spoonful of the vegetable filling on one half of each round leaving a 1cm border around the edge. 

Step 7

Brush the edge with a little water then fold over the pastry to create the traditional semi-circle shape of a patty and press down the edges with a fork. Pierce fork holes into the centre of each patty.

Step 8

At this point you could freeze some patties to bake later (5)


Brush the patties with the beaten egg to glaze (4) and bake for 25 minutes (around 35 minutes from frozen) until the pastry is golden, the filling is piping hot and the base firm. 


Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

(1) If you prefer, you can use fresh vegetables chopped into small cubes or slices to create your own unique filling.


(2) If you prefer a milder flavour, use less scotch bonnet or omit it completely. You may prefer to substitute if with a different milder chilli or a sprinkle of a mild chilli powder or chill flakes.


(3) Feel free to season your patty filling with whatever seasonings you like. Jamaican and Caribbean cooking is known for cooking by eye and tasting as you go along to get the right flavour so feel free to experiment!


(4) You can substitute egg for milk or a non dairy milk for glazing. 


(5) Freeze unbaked patties for later: cover the baking tray with your patties and place in the freezer unbaked. When you're ready to cook your frozen patties, simply take out of the freezer, glaze with beaten egg, and place in a preheated oven (Gas Mark 6/200°C) for around 35 minutes or until they are golden, the filling is piping hot and the base firm.

Sources & Further Reading:

1. How Jamaican Patties Became a Beloved British Snack. Read more

2. Why Jamaican patties are such a popular snack food in the UK. Read more

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