Even if you can't get away this summer, your kitchen can help you take a vacation. These island-inspired recipes are ideal for changing things up at the dinner table, especially on Meatless Monday. Many tropical foods feature meat and fish, but these dishes are all deliciously vegan and pack quite a flavor punch.
First up, a Jamaican-inspired taco featuring tempeh. A flavorful jerk marinade really mellows out the earthy flavors of the tempeh, uniting savory ingredients like onion, garlic, ginger, and cayenne pepper with sweeter spices like allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and a hint of smokiness thanks to cumin and smoked paprika. Molasses, soy sauce, and lime juice round out this very flavorful marinade, which does double-duty as a sauce. Start marinating your tempeh on Monday morning -- or even Sunday night -- to ensure that it has time to soak up all of those flavors before assembling your tacos.
Recipe: “Vegan World Fusion Cuisine“
Jerk seasoning is just as delicious on these vegan Jamaican jerk fried plantains. Ripe plantains are marinated in a slightly spicy mixture featuring a healthy dose of habanero pepper before being fried until nicely caramelized in a skillet. The resulting plantains are the perfect blend of sweet, savory, and spicy.
Image via Fat Free Vegan
It's hard to talk about tropical foods without mentioning tropical fruit. This Caribbean-inspired dish unites pineapple and black beans for a sweet-and-savory dish that's full of nutrients. The combination of pungent allspice and sweet pineapple is a winner in this dish, which features both pineapple juice and whole chunks of pineapple.
The tropical ingredients in this Hawaii-inspired quinoa pilaf aren't just tasty -- they're also super nutritious. Protein-packed quinoa forms the base of this dish, which gets healthy fats from coconut and macadamia nuts, vitamin A from the sweet potato, and a host of vitamins and minerals from the leafy green vegetables.
Jerk tempeh image via My Darling Lemon Thyme
This flavorful recipe, adapted from Bryant Terry's "The Inspired Vegan," unites rich jerk marinated tempeh with a bright, fresh cilantro sauce that gets double the herbaceous flavor thanks to both ground coriander and fresh cilantro leaves. A bit of lime juice and a touch of jalapeño really make this dish sing.
Jerk tacos image via A Thought for Food