Vibrant Vegan Ackee Recipe For Your Next Culinary Celebration

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A distinctive dish, vegan ackee recipe transforms Jamaica’s national fruit into a vibrant culinary celebration. Simmered with fragrant spices, sweet peppers, and tomatoes, this creation mirrors the texture of scrambled eggs, offering a delectable, plant-based twist.

A symphony of flavors, it stands as a testament to the versatility of vegan cuisine, inviting all to savor its richness.


  • Ackee, when prepared vegan-style, is a rich source of dietary fiber, promoting digestive health.
  • The dish’s inclusion of bell peppers and tomatoes boosts its vitamin C content, enhancing immune function.
  • Using coconut oil instead of traditional fats adds a layer of subtle sweetness and provides healthy fats.
  • This recipe creatively substitutes eggs, making it a perfect option for those with dietary restrictions or preferences.

Don’t have time to read the full blog post? JUMP TO THE RECIPE HERE!

Are you searching for a mouthwatering twist on traditional Jamaican cuisine? Look no further than our Vegan Ackee recipe.

Imagine savoring the vibrant flavors of the Caribbean while indulging in a plant-based dish that’s both hearty and satisfying. As a culinary enthusiast, I understand the struggle to find diverse vegan options that must be maintained.

I’ve crafted this recipe, drawing inspiration from my journey to embrace more plant-based meals without sacrificing flavor.

Join me on a culinary adventure as we unlock the secrets of this delectable dish, perfect for both seasoned vegans and newcomers alike.

vegan ackee recipe

What Is Vegan Ackee? 

Vegan Ackee is a plant-based rendition of a classic Jamaican dish that traditionally features ackee fruit cooked with saltfish.

This vegan version replaces the saltfish with hearty vegetables and aromatic spices, creating a flavorful and satisfying meal.

Ackee, Jamaica’s national fruit, is the star ingredient, offering a creamy texture reminiscent of scrambled eggs.

Combined with onions, garlic, bell peppers, and a hint of heat from Scotch Bonnet pepper, Vegan Ackee showcases the versatility of vegan cuisine while celebrating the vibrant flavors of the Caribbean.

Quick Fact-Butter Ackee, Jamaica’s national fruit, is traditionally used in savory dishes. When unripe, it’s toxic, but once opened naturally, it transforms into a safe, nutritious delicacy.

vegan ackee recipe

Recipe Directions

  • Begin by heating oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onions to the skillet. Cook them, stirring occasionally, until they become soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic and bell pepper. Continue cooking for another minute to allow the flavors to meld.
  • Incorporate the spring onions, thyme, and tomatoes. Stir the mixture for about 1 minute, letting the tomatoes soften slightly.
  • Carefully add the ackee to the skillet. Season with black salt and a Scotch Bonnet pepper. Stir everything gently to ensure the ackee is well-coated with the seasonings. This is crucial to imbue the dish with its characteristic flavors without breaking the ackee.
  • Cover the skillet and reduce the medium heat to a simmer. Allow the dish to cook for about 5 minutes. The aim is to warm the ackee through and infuse it with aromatic spices and vegetables.
  • Serve the vegan ackee warm. A hearty, traditional meal pairs beautifully with dumplings, callaloo, and fried plantains.

vegan ackee recipe

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings 


  • Spicy Mushroom Ackee: Incorporate sautéed spicy mushrooms for a meaty texture and an extra kick.
  • Ackee and Tofu Scramble: Add crumbled firm tofu to the skillet along with the ackee for a protein-rich variation that mimics a traditional scrambled egg dish.
  • Curried Ackee: Infuse the dish with a curry powder blend for a warm, aromatic flavor profile.


  • Black Beans: Include cooked black beans for added protein and fiber, making the dish even more filling.
  • Sweet Corn: Add sweet corn for a burst of sweetness and color.
  • Vegan Sausage: Dice vegan sausage and sauté with the onions for a hearty, savory addition.

vegan ackee recipe


  • Avocado Slices: Top the dish with fresh avocado slices for a creamy texture and healthy fats.
  • Fresh Herbs: Garnish with chopped cilantro, parsley, or scallion greens for a fresh, herbaceous finish.
  • Lime Wedges: Serve with lime wedges on the side, allowing diners to add a tangy zing to their plate.


Vegetable Substitutions 

  • Cauliflower replaces chicken or beef in curries and stir-fries, offering a satisfying texture.
  • Mushrooms, particularly portobello and shiitake, serve as a meaty alternative to burgers, tacos, and gravies.
  • Eggplant provides a rich, creamy base for vegan lasagna, baba ganoush or as a substitute for fish in vegan sushi.
  • Due to its fibrous texture, jackfruit mimics pulled pork or chicken in sandwiches, tacos, and curries.
  • Zucchini makes excellent noodles in pasta dishes or can be used as a low-carb pizza base.
  • Butternut Squash is a great stand-in for cheese in mac ‘n’ cheese, thanks to its creamy texture when blended.
  • Lentils offer a hearty, protein-packed alternative to ground meat in Bolognese, meatloaves, and burger patties.
  • Chickpeas can replace tuna in salads and sandwiches, providing a similar texture and protein content.

Quick Tip-To enhance flavors in vegan dishes, roast your vegetables before adding them to soups or stews. This simple step deepens the dish’s complexity and richness.

Vegetable Substitutions 

Best Side Dishes 

  • Fried Dumplings (Johnny Cakes) These are a Caribbean staple, offering a slightly sweet, dense bread perfect for dipping and scooping up the ackee.
  • Callaloo A green leafy vegetable dish, often cooked with garlic and onions, adds a nutritious and flavorful side that complements the creamy texture of ackee.
  • Fried Plantains Their sweet, caramelized exterior contrasts the savory ackee, adding a layer of complexity to your meal.
  • Coconut Rice The subtle sweetness of coconut rice pairs wonderfully with the spices of the ackee dish, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.
  • Rice and Peas A classic Jamaican side, rice and kidney beans seasoned with coconut milk, garlic, and thyme serve as a hearty base for the ackee.
  • Steamed Vegetables A mix of steamed carrots, broccoli, and bell peppers adds color and texture and balances the meal with freshness.
  • Avocado Salad A simple salad with avocado, tomatoes, cucumber, and a lime dressing can add a refreshing, creamy touch.
  • Sweet Potato Fries Offering a sweet and savory crunch, sweet potato fries are a delightful side that pairs well with the soft texture of ackee.

Best Side Dishes 

How To Serve?

  • Warm and Fresh: Serve the ackee warm to ensure the flavors are at their peak. Freshness is key, so aim to serve it shortly after cooking.
  • Traditional Accompaniments: For an authentic experience, serve it alongside traditional Jamaican sides like fried dumplings (Johnny cakes), fried plantains, or callaloo.
  • Rice Base: Lay a bed of coconut rice or rice and peas on the plate before topping it with the ackee. This combination makes for a hearty and satisfying meal.
  • Avocado Garnish: Slice some avocado on the side or top for a creamy texture and a fresh contrast to the savory ackee.
  • Brighten with Herbs: A sprinkle of fresh chopped herbs such as parsley or cilantro can add color and freshness to the dish.
  • Lime Wedges: Serve with lime wedges on the side. A squeeze of lime juice can enhance the flavors and add a refreshing zest.
  • Colorful Vegetables: Accompany with steamed or roasted vegetables for added color, texture, and nutrition.
  • Presentation: Use a shallow bowl or a wide plate to present the ackee beautifully, allowing each meal component to be seen and appreciated.
  • Hot Sauce or Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, offer some hot sauce or a homemade Scotch Bonnet pepper sauce on the side.
  • Complete the Meal: To end the meal sweetly, consider a light dessert, such as a tropical fruit salad or a scoop of mango sorbet.

Quick Tip-Finish any dish with a sprinkle of fresh herbs for an instant flavor boost. They add brightness and depth, transforming simple meals into gourmet experiences.

How To Serve

Storage & Make Ahead 

  • Storage: Store leftover Vegan Ackee in an airtight container. It will stay in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Make Ahead: Prepare components like sautéed onions, garlic, and bell peppers in advance. Store them in the fridge, then assemble them with ackee for a quick meal.

Fact-Ackee, the key ingredient in the vegan ackee dish, is rich in essential fatty acids crucial for brain health and reducing inflammation.

Storage & Make Ahead 

Time-Saving Tips 

  1. Prep Vegetables in Advance: Chop onions, garlic, bell peppers, and tomatoes ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator. This speeds up the cooking process.
  2. Use Canned Ackee: Opt for canned ackee to eliminate the need to clean and prep the fruit. Just ensure to drain and rinse it well before use.
  3. Batch Cooking: Make a larger batch of Vegan Ackee and freeze portions for later. It reheats well, making for an easy meal on busy days.
  4. One-Pan Method: Cook everything in a single skillet or pan to reduce cleanup time. Start with the aromatics and build the dish from there.
  5. Spice Blends: Prepare a spice blend in advance that you can use for this recipe and others. Having a pre-mixed seasoning saves measuring time during cooking.
  6. Quick Sides: Serve with simple, no-cook sides like avocado slices or a quick salad, minimizing overall preparation time.
  7. Hot Water Trick: If incorporating ingredients like dumplings or plantains, start them in hot water to reduce cooking time.

Vibrant Vegan Ackee Recipe For Your Next Culinary Celebration

Vibrant Vegan Ackee Recipe For Your Next Culinary Celebration

Recipe by Julia

Vegan Ackee, a plant-based twist on a traditional Jamaican dish, showcases the unique, creamy fruit ackee, sautéed with a colorful medley of onions, garlic, bell peppers, and spices. This delicacy mirrors the texture of scrambled eggs, offering a hearty, flavorful experience. Ideal for those seeking a nourishing, vegan-friendly meal, it’s a testament to the versatility of vegan cuisine.

Course: Breakfast
5 from 1 vote


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  • 1 Can 1 Jamaican ackee (drained and set aside)

  • 2 Tablespoons 2 Coconut Oil

  • 1 Cup 1 Onion, diced

  • 2 Cloves 2 Garlic, Minced

  • 1/2 Cup 1/2 Red bell pepper, diced

  • 1 1 Spring onion, chopped

  • 1 Sprig 1 Thyme, fresh (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)

  • 1/2 Cup 1/2 Tomato, chopped (or cherry tomatoes, halved)

  • 1 Whole 1 Scotch Bonnet pepper (or Habanero, optional)

  • Sea Salt(To taste)


  • Heat Oil: Start by heating 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Cook Onions: Add 1 cup of diced onions to the skillet. Cook them, stirring occasionally, until they become soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.
  • Add Garlic And Bell Pepper: Stir in 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1/2 cup of diced red bell pepper. Continue cooking for another minute to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Incorporate Spring Onions, Thyme, and Tomatoes: Add 1 chopped spring onion, 1 sprig of thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried), and 1 medium chopped tomato (or 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes cut into halves). Stir the mixture for about 1 minute, allowing the tomatoes to soften slightly.
  • Add Ackee: Carefully add the drained ackee from one can to the skillet. Season with sea salt to taste, and add one whole Scotch Bonnet pepper (or one Habanero for flavor, optional). Stir everything gently to ensure the ackee is well-coated with the seasonings, being careful not to break the ackee pieces.
  • Simmer: Cover the skillet and reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow the dish to cook for about 5 minutes. The goal is to warm the ackee through and infuse it with aromatic spices and vegetables.
  • Serve Warm: For a hearty and traditional meal, serve the vegan ackee warm, ideally accompanied by dumplings, callaloo, and fried plantains.
  • Equipments List
  • Large Skillet
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Cutting Board
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Can Opener
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Colander
  • Serving Plates
  • Lime Squeezer (optional)


  • Use a gentle touch when stirring the ackee to maintain its delicate texture.
  • Customize the heat level by adjusting the quantity of Scotch Bonnet pepper used; remove seeds for less heat.
  • Draining the ackee well ensures the dish is smooth enough.
  • Coconut oil adds a subtle sweetness and authentic Caribbean flavor, but olive oil can be a substitute.
  • Fresh thyme gives the best flavor, but dried thyme is a convenient alternative.
  • Serve immediately to enjoy the dish’s full flavor and texture.

nutrition table

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Use Fresh Ackee Instead Of Canned Ackee For The Vegan Recipe?

Yes, you can use fresh ackee instead of canned if it’s available. Fresh ackee must be properly prepared to ensure safety, as unripe ackee can be toxic. Wait for the ackee fruit to open before harvesting naturally.

Then, remove the seeds and the red pod splits membrane. Boil the ackee pods in water for about 20-30 minutes to ensure they are safe to eat before using them in your recipe. This step is crucial to eliminating any potential toxins.

What Can I Substitute For Scotch Bonnet Pepper If I Can’t Handle Spicy Foods?

If you’re sensitive to spice or can’t find Scotch Bonnet peppers, substitute them with a sweet bell pepper to mimic the fruity flavor without the heat.

Alternatively, a small amount of paprika can offer a mild flavor and a hint of color. For those who still want a kick without the intense heat, jalapeño peppers are a milder option.

What Can I Substitute For Scotch Bonnet Pepper If I Can't Handle Spicy Foods?

Is There A Gluten-Free Version Of This Vegan Ackee Recipe?

The vegan ackee recipe is naturally gluten-free, primarily vegetables and ackee fruit. However, ensure all accompanying sides or ingredients, such as dumplings or bread, are made with gluten-free alternatives if you’re aiming for a completely gluten-free meal.

How Can I Make This Dish More Protein-Rich?

To increase the protein content of your vegan ackee dish, consider adding legumes such as chickpeas or black beans directly into the mix.

Tofu is another excellent option; you can sauté it separately and add it to the skillet and the ackee. These additions enhance the protein content and add to the dish’s texture and flavor diversity.

Can I Freeze The Leftover Vegan Ackee, And How Should I Reheat It?

Yes, leftover vegan ackee can be frozen for future use. Place the cooled ackee in an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag and store it in the freezer.

When ready to eat, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat it gently on the stove over low heat, adding a splash of water or vegetable broth to prevent drying. Stir occasionally until it is thoroughly warmed. This method helps maintain the dish’s texture and flavor.

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Greetings from the heart of Vie De La Vegan, where each dish we share is a chapter in a larger story of discovery, wellness, and the transformative power of a plant-based diet. My name is Julia, and I am thrilled to be your guide on this delightful culinary adventure.

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