Jamaican Veggie Patties Recipe

A favorite recipe from chef Bryant Terry's newest book, Vegan Soul Kitchen. A richly spiced potato, pea, corn, carrot, and cabbage filling is wrapped with a turmeric-hued pastry crust made with coconut oil.

Jamaican Veggie Patties

Shortly after posting Bryant Terry's list of favorite cookbooks last week, a number of you emailed asking whether or not I had a favorite recipe from his new book (Vegan Soul Kitchen). His Jamaican Veggie Patties immediately come to mind. The first time I read through the recipe I thought to myself - oh, they're hand-pies! And quickly filed them away in the lazy-day section of my brain. A richly spiced potato, pea, corn, carrot, and cabbage filling is wrapped with a turmeric-hued pastry crust made with coconut oil. You can make them large, you can make them small, and if you can't be bothered with the pastry side of the equation, the filling is delicious on its own over a simple bowl of brown rice or quinoa. It's not really a weeknight recipe, but you can certainly make a batch, bake a couple, and then freeze the rest for easy patties later.

Jamaican Veggie Patties

To give you a better sense of the recipes in the book, here's a sampling: Sweet Coconut Ginger Creamed Corn (which you might use as a an alternate filling here), Succotash Soup with Garlicky Cornbread Croutons, Spicy Smothered Green Cabbage, Collard Confetti, Upper Caribbean Creamy Grits with Roasted Plantain Pieces, Blackened Tofu Slabs with Succotash Salsa, Quinoa-Quinoa Cornbread, Black-Eyed Pea Fritters with Hot Pepper Sauce, Spicy Pickled Purple Okra, and Coconut-Pecan Pralines.

Jamaican Veggie Patties

The book is black and white with color photo inserts and spans 223 pages. If you're interested in fresh, updated, vegan recipes that explore the flavors and richness of African, Caribbean, and African American cuisines, this book is where it's at. For those of you who already have the book, let me know if you have any favorites yet - I'm trying to figure out which recipe to try next.

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Jamaican Veggie Patties Recipe

You can certainly experiment with different sizes here, but don't go much smaller than a 4-inch cookie cutter. Any smaller and they tend to come apart at the seams - a bit like gaping mouths (see lead photo). Also, be sure to roll the pastry dough thinly - a true 1/8-inch. And lastIy, I can't resist brushing the patties with a bit of beaten egg before placing them in the oven - it makes the crust nice and golden, but also takes them out of the vegan category.

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 cup 1/4-inch-diced yellow onion
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Coarse sea salt
2 larges cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup 1/4-inch-diced carrots
1/4 cup 1/4-inch-diced yellow potatoes
1/2 cup fresh green peas (or frozen)
1/2 cup sweet fresh corn (or frozen)
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup chilled coconut oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water

For the filling: In a medium-size saute pan over medium-low heat, combine the coconut oil, the onion cinnamon, allspice, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are caramelized. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, carrots, and potatoes, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the carrots and potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the green peas, corn, cabbage, thyme, and lemon juice, cover, and cook for 3 minutes more. Season with additional salt and the white pepper (or to taste) and set aside to allow the flavors to marry.

For the pastry: Combine 1 1/2 cups of the white flour with the pastry flour, turmeric, and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Set the remaining 1/4 cup white flour aside. Add the coconut butter to the flour mixture and rub with your fingertip until the mixture resembles fine sand, about 10 minutes (hs note: I've also make this dough by pulsing ingredients in a food processor with good results).

Combine the vinegar and water and mix well. Then, without overworking the dough, add the vinegar mixture by the tablespoon, while stirring, just until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and begins to coalesce. Squeeze into a tight ball, flatten, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F and remove the dough from the refrigerator.

With the reserved flour, lightly dust a clean surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut six 6-inch circles from the dough (you can use a bowl). Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling onto the center of one side of each circle, leaving about a 1/8-inch border. Fold the other half over to make a half-moon, press to seal, and make ridges around the edge using a fork. (hs note: if your dough is at all on the dry side you may need to run wet fingers around the edge of the circles to help get a good seal).

Transfer the patties to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Serve immediately with some hot sauce.

Makes six big patties, or a couple dozen smaller ones.

Reprinted with permission from Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine by Bryant Terry. (Da Capo Press, March, 2009)

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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I just received my copy of this book and have only skimmed through it. This recipe did catch my eye and I'm glad that you chose it, because based on the title I imagined them being more like hamburger patties. Now that I know they're like little empanadas, I really want to make them! Great post! I always love getting your take on recipes!

Kristin @ De Nacho

Wow, now that I've read some of the names of recipes in this book, I want to go look for it! As if I don't own enough cookbooks. I, too, am wondering about the coconut butter. Do you think it would be a disaster to use regular unsalted butter (and make this really not vegan)?


This looks delicious, thanks for posting. Does the recipe double well?


Woohoo! At last, a decent veggie alternative to the amazing (as I remember them) Jamaican beef patties! Now I don't have to feel left out when everyone's ordering their favorite snack.

Heather C.

The turmeric pastry sounds fantastic. Can't wait to try these!


Where do you find coconut butter? I haven't seen that anywhere.


This brings back memories of my wife and I crisscrossing Jamaica on an old motorcycle, years ago. Patties are a foodgroup down there, we had them with every filling you can possibly imagine! Thanks for the inspiration.


Oh wow--if I made these, my husband would think he'd died and gone to heaven (this is one of his favourite foods!) I'm sure I would enjoy them myself...this is a must try weekend experiment, for sure.


Hi Heidi, your patti's look delicious but i am confused with the name of 2 of the ingredients ie.yellow onion whats that? and red pepper flakes, are they dried red chilli flakes? bronwen

bronwen ahern

Heidi, you've done it again - these look great! I love how your recipes are always nutritious as well as delicious (hey that rhymed!).

Tabitha (From Single to Married)

These sound so good. I assume by coconut butter, you mean coconut oil? I have coconut butter (from whole foods, but also available on Amazon) but it a puree of coconut meat, including the oil. Probably not the right thing for making pastry.


This sounds other worldly. But I live in a remote part of western North Carolina, 100 miles from any sizable city in any direction. Where oh where does one find coconut BUTTER? And what might one substitute for it without ruining the original recipe? Help anyone?

Elizabeth in north carolina

Wow - his cookbook looks like it's full of innovative vegetarian cuisine. These patties are a great example!

ashley (sweet & natural)

Wow - his cookbook looks like it's full of innovative vegetarian cuisine. These patties are a great example!

ashley (sweet & natural)

They look amazing...too bad it is breakfast time or I would make them right now! Thank you!

Jacqueline M

oh my goodness! a few years back there was an AMAZING vegan, rasta "roach coach" here in sacramento. the city closed them down because they weren't mobile every fifteen minutes (stupidest law ever) and me and my husband have been suffering ever since. these patties are similar to theirs but they had some coconut oil fried greens in them that were outta sight. thanks for posting!


I love Jamaican Patties! I was just wondering what other recipes I could use my coconut oil for. Can't wait to try these, although I'll have to search for coconut butter!


Heidi, this is such a delicious and nutritious recipe! Am thrilled to see use of turmeric, a super spice, the health benefits of which I have extolled at length in my blog. Do you think, as a short-cut on weeknights, one could use vol-au-vent cases instead of the pastry? And include the turmeric in the vegetables to maintain the overall nutritiousness of the dish? Thank you for sharing….love reading your blog.


OMG! I grew up in Jamaica...patties bring back memories of a childhood spent in the sun...the feel of the breeze coming off the ocean....i remember eating vegetarian, beef, chicken and even prawn patties....thank you for this recipe...I am going to make it for my husband and daughter this weekend...


Yum! I LOVE pies in all forms. This is sure to be a winner.


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