Caribbean Jerked Shrimp With Hearts Of Palm Salad

Reggae music, sand and waves, a fruity rum drink and spicy food. The Caribbean comes to mind and more specifically the island of Jamaica. On a sunny, warm day my mind often thinks back to fun times visiting the islands of the Caribbean. If you can’t take a trip to the islands, then a meal that has lots of flavor and color will make you think you are there.

If you have traveled to Jamaica, you have probably heard of a cooking term referred to as “jerk”. It is a traditional way of spicing and then smoking or grilling meats. The first time I had this spicy barbecue was at a roadside hut outside of Ocho Rios, Jamaica. A large pit had been dug in the ground, a wood fire built, and meats were placed on an expanded metal screen and then covered with corrugated metal. When you placed your order, meat was taken out of the pit and hacked with a machete into bit size pieces. Primitive to say the least but the spicy meal was fantastic.

I am going to share my recipe for a spicy jerked shrimp with a colorful hearts of palm salad to cool down the heat.

Caribbean Jerked Shrimp With Hearts Of Palm Salad

Caribbean Jerked Shrimp With Hearts Of Palm Salad 

  • 4 – 6 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined per person
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. of jerk seasoning* see recipe below or use Walkerswood Traditional Jerk Seasoning which is made in Jamaica and is an excellent wet rub in a jar
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice

If you do not like overly spicy food, start mixing your marinade with a teaspoon of jerk seasoning and taste. Add as much as you like to achieve your desired spiciness. Place your shrimp in a bowl and toss with marinade. Cover and let sit for about 10 minutes. Skewer shrimp (I like to use 2 soaked skewers for easy turning) and grill till pink on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes depending on the heat of your grill. Be careful to not overcook or the shrimp will become tough.

*Jerk Seasoning

  • 3 – 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 – 2 Scotch bonnet, habanero, or jalapeños, stemmed and seeded (wear gloves), depending on you tolerance to heat (Scotch bonnet being one of the hottest chilies)
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. each of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. each, nutmeg and cinnamon

Put all the ingredients into a processor and pulse until a paste is formed. Any unused paste can be frozen.

Hearts Of Palm Salad

  • 1   14 oz. can of hearts of palm, drained, rinsed and dried on paper towels
  • 2 sweet gherkins, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped pimento
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. or more of red onion, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Warm the minced garlic in the olive oil to infuse for 1 minute. Then add all the other ingredients except the palm. Let the dressing sit for a few minutes for the flavors to mingle. Stir well right before using. Line a platter with your favorite greens, top with the hearts of palm, and drizzle with the sweet and savory dressing.

Traditional jerk is usually made with chicken or pork. Most Jamaican families have their own version of jerk that is a closely held and treasured recipe. Feel free to make changes to suit your tastes and then guard the recipe with your life or share it with the world as I have done.

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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

159 thoughts on “Caribbean Jerked Shrimp With Hearts Of Palm Salad

    1. Hi Bam, Thank you for your nice comment. Absolutely wear gloves…I put it in my recipe but maybe I should put it in capital letters. I like to pair a cooling salad when I make something spicy.

    1. Thank you Joanne, for your nice compliment. It does make a nice summer meal cooked on the outdoor grill. I have also prepared it on a grill pan with good results.

  1. I’ve never been to that part of the world, but your description had me feeling those ocean breezes. I’d like to take my machete to that shrimp and what a perfect salad for spicy food. I’ve only had “jerk” once. At a large chain type restaurant. I like heat, but it was so hot I couldn’t eat it. I’ve not tried it since. I better give it another chance.

    1. Hi Lea Ann, Thank you for your nice compliment. I agree that some jerk is way to hot for me. As you can see I gave options on the peppers used…jalapeños will be far less spicy. Also when making the marinade, start with a very small amount of the jerk seasoning paste and add until you get the heat level that you are comfortable with. I’m of the theory that you can add more but it is hard to take away.

  2. I would love to visit the Caribbean. It’s on my ‘must-see’ list of places to stay. I’ve heard of ‘jerk’ recipes and having looked at a few of them, the flavours must be incredible. Your prawns look wonderful xx

    1. Hi Charlie, Thank you for your nice compliment. The prawns were large and flavorful. You have so many wonderful places to visit in your portion of the world but I do hope you get to visit the Caribbean sometime.

    1. Hi Bonnie, Hearts of palm have a very mild flavor and I think you would enjoy trying them. When we lived in Florida, there were a few restaurants that had fresh ones on the menu. Thank you for your nice comment.

    1. Hi Monique, I hope you will enjoy the meal. Jerk seasoning from the islands…that is a nice gift. The hearts of palm go nicely with the spicy shrimp.

    1. Hi Carolyn, Hearts of palm is usually found canned. In Florida, it is harvested from what is called a swamp or palmetto palm. The salad does balance out the heat of the jerk seasoning.

    1. Thank you Tanya, for your nice compliment. You grow some lovely hot peppers that would be perfect in jerk. Pork and chicken are the most traditional meats for jerk…you are all set.

    1. You are right, John. Habanero and Scotch bonnets are extremely hot and go a long way in the heat department. It is why I suggested jalapeños for those that don’t like a fiery dish. There are always substitutions to accommodate everyones tastes.

  3. Great minds think alike 🙂 we must have both been craving some sunshine and Jerk. I love the colours in your dish, and I might just try adding vinegar to my Jerk marinade next time!

    1. Hi Petite, I think it is so funny that we were both craving jerk and sunshine from both sides of the Atlantic. Let’s hope we have a sunny summer. A little vinegar is typical in many jerk recipes.

  4. I’m excited to try your jerk recipe Karen – generous of you to share your secret! Love the heat, but still haven’t found the Scotch Bonnet peppers. Maybe they just don’t have them on the West Coast? Also love hearts of palm salads, so what a winning summer meal this is!

    1. Hi Spree, Thank you for your nice compliment. I hope you will enjoy making this meal. I think any hot pepper can be used…just adjust the amount. The Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning is a very authentic and spicy product made in Jamaica that you could use. I have had it served as a condiment at some restaurant’s when I lived in Florida.

  5. I appreciate such an authentic recipe, Karen. So many bottled jerk seasonings or dressings just don’t appeal to me, and I’ve mostly dismissed them. I haven’t even considered a dish like this and I know it would be really tasty. Our summer evenings are just getting started and the grilling is beginning to call! I love hearts of palm, and again, don’t work with it much, so we would really enjoy this meal. It’s creative! Debra

    1. Thank you Debra for your nice compliment. I is still cool here in Maine and I have to wear a sweatshirt when I’m out at the grill but we have hot days coming this week. I’m glad that you enjoy the recipes for this meal…they are easy to prepare. The only jarred product that I have come across that I think is authentic is the one from Walkerswood. Even then, I fiddle with it…can’t leave well enough alone.

    1. It is so lovely to here from you, Ambrosiana. I miss the fresh hearts of palm that I got to enjoy sometimes in Florida but I like the canned as well. I do love the flavors of the Caribbean and this dish brings back good memories.

    1. Thank you Mad Dog, for your nice compliment. I like the flavor of jerk on seafood. I just don’t use as much as I would on chicken or pork as I don’t want to overwhelm its delicate flavor.

  6. It is So hot her in Toronto right now and this look like just the thing. It’ll be nice to do something with hearts of palm other than eating them straight out of the tin. (I do chill them before opening; I’m not a barbarian!) And grilling the shrimp will keep me from overheating in the kitchen! Thanks Karen!

    1. Hi Shushup, Thank you for stopping by and your nice comment. This is a nice dish to prepare in the summer…no heating up the kitchen. If you like hearts of palm, I think you will enjoy the salad.

    1. Hi Ashley, Thank you for your nice comment. When the weather is hot and you don’t feel like heating up the kitchen, this is a nice meal to prepare.

  7. Love the look of the dish – like the seasoning – used something very likeness to my blackened salmon or chicken breast … like the dressing, but the palm hearts … I jump over. Looking good, Chef !

    1. Thank you Viveka, for your nice compliment. Jerk seasoning does remind me of a blacked seasoning but with the flavor of a lot of allspice and hot chili.

  8. I love Jerk seasonings Karen, and now I have a recipe to go to. I’ve eaten many a meal from Jamaican friends who have settled in the UK, and you are right every family has their own way of preparing it.

    1. Hi Claire, I love foods that are prepared in the traditional jerk style. I’m sure your friends make some great dishes. Not too much ethnic food in Maine so I have to prepare it myself when I can get the ingredients. This is one dish that the ingredients are readily available.

  9. I love and often have jerk pork chops and sometimes jerk chicken. Funnily enough I use the same commercial paste, “Walkerswood Traditional Jerk Seasoning Hot and Spicy” that you mention in your post. I’ll have to save your recipe for when I get more ambitious though. 🙂 Especially on jumbo shrimp like you photographed … Never had hearts of palm though.

    1. Hi Boleyn, Jerked pork and chicken have so much flavor. The next time that you make a jerk dish try the hearts of palm salad. It is a nice compliment to the spicy flavors of the jerk.

  10. I adore the seasonings in jerk marinades or spice mixes, but have never used them on shrimp before. My son loves Jerk Chicken and requested it on his last visit. I’ll try it with seafood next. This recipe and the accompanying hearts of palm salad look like a perfect match.

    1. Hi Victoria, I think you would enjoy the jerk seafood for a nice change of pace. And the hearts of palm salad compliments the flavors of the jerk and is a nice cooling addition to the meal.

  11. What a tasty summer meal, Karen. I’ve only had hearts of palm a few times and I haven’t loved it, but perhaps it’s the recipe that didn’t strike me. I must try your recipe because I do love all the flavourings.

    1. Hi Eva, Thank you for your nice comment. Heart of palm has a very mild flavor and I think some people just don’t add enough seasoning to enhance the flavor.

  12. I love Jerk seasoning and sauces, but I’ve never tried the palm hearts! I love this recipe Karen, I am going to try it really soon.
    Cheers!

    1. Hi Eri, Thank you for your nice compliment. The hearts of palm salad has a nice cooling effect with the spicy jerked shrimp. I’m glad you like the recipes and I hope you will enjoy the meal.

    1. Thank you Velva, for your nice comment. This recipe has lots of flavors and does remind me of the tasty dishes I have enjoyed visiting the Caribbean.

    1. Thank you Betsy. I thought this meal really has the feel of the Caribbean…especially Jamaica. The salad cools off the spice from the shrimp and has a nice compliment of flavors with the sweet pickles and pimentos.

    1. Hi Lisa, I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe. I think the combination of spicy shrimp and hearts of palm with sweet pickle makes a nice meal full of flavor.

  13. Your jerk recipe is one that I would love to try, Karen, and shrimp would be a good way to go. I avoid ordering jerk when I’m out because I’ve no idea of the heat. One waiter’s “mild” can leave me in a flop sweat begging for more water. Instead, i can now follow your jerk recipe and start with the jalapeños, working my way up to whatever heat I can comfortably withstand.
    I’ve served hearts of palm in salads but never by themselves. I bet they’re delicious and would be prefect served with these shrimp. Something else I need to try.

    1. I’m glad you like the recipe, John. The nice thing about making jerk at home is that you can experiment with the heat level until you get it to your comfort zone. The hearts of palm has a nice cooling effect on the spiciness of the jerk. The salad goes very well with any seafood dish.

    1. Thank you Two Kitchens, for stopping by and your nice comment. I’m glad you enjoy the recipe. This is a lovely and quick summer menu with lots of flavor.

    1. Hi Kristy, Thank you for your nice comment. I think that you might have been able to have found hearts of palm served in Hawaii…I think you would you enjoy it.

  14. Well.. now I know what a “jerk” is.. and I don’t need to buy a pre-made seasoning jar at the store. I haven’t tried hearts of palm yet either, I do think we get that here but I’ll have to see. I would really enjoy this dish. I think those different barbecues made it so much nicer, but I have a smoker in mine so that might make a difference! xo Smidge

    1. Hi Smidge, Jerk seasoning adds lots of spice and heat to any meat. The nice thing about this dish is that it can be also prepared on a grill pan.

  15. Wow I love the flavours in that jerk seasoning! Though we use a lot of palm here in our cuisine I never tried that on salad, definitely this will be on my to try list

    1. Hi Raymund, Thank you for stopping by and your nice compliment. I like palm, especial when it is fresh. I hope you will enjoy this meal.

  16. I have heard so many times about this Jamaican way to prepare food… Your shrimps look extraordinary. Thank you for sharing the seasoning recipe (I don’t think I would be able to buy it here).

    1. Hi Sissi, I think you are right about not being able to buy the seasoning in Switzerland. It is easily prepared from ingredients that most everyone should be able to purchase no matter where they live.

    1. Hi Larry, Thank you for your nice compliment. Knowing that you make your own chili powders, I figured you would have made jerk meats before. I checked out your recipe…boy you like yours hot with 6 Scotch bonnet chilies although your recipe is for a large quantity. Heart of palm are canned and will probably be located in your market near canned artichoke hearts.

    1. Hi Wendy, Thank you for your very nice compliment. I’m happy to hear that you enjoy so many of my recipes. I was surprised how many people haven’t heard of hearts of palm…I love using it for salads. I enjoy cooking on the grill in the summer and eating outside. I like to make the most of the nice weather while I can.

    1. Hi Angie, I find that it is very easy to make the same salad over and over. The hearts of palm is different and gave an island note to the spicy shrimp.

  17. When I see this dish, it certainly looks like Jamaica and all it’s colours. I’ve certainly heard of Jerk seasoning, but I wonder what heart of palm is, (looks) similar to artichoke?

    As for food I’m all for spice though and as I probably won’t be on holiday anytime soon, it’s probably the best way yet to go to Jamaica!

    1. Hi Alli, Thank you for your lovely compliment. If you like spicy, then I think you will enjoy jerk seasonings. Hearts of palm is the core of a multi branched palm tree that is raised to be eaten. You will find it canned in the market probably near where you would find canned artichokes. I would say that the texture is very similar to a canned artichoke, just a little firmer. In some parts of the world you can find it fresh.

  18. An excellent recipe all around and especially for the hearts-of-palm which I like, but also like other readers l’m not very creative with! As for the jerk seasoning recipe – I suggest Fresno chilies – their heat is ‘fruity heat’ – very nice for baby mouths like me and my husband but spicy and more interesting than jalapeno!

    1. Thank you Carol, for your nice compliment. After posting this recipe, I have discovered that not many of my readers have tried hearts of palm. I’m glad to hear that you like it. As with many ingredients, seasoning is very important as well as a nice olive oil and some form of acid. I like lime juice for many salads as it is not too harsh. Thanks for the suggestion for the Fresno chilies for those that don’t want too much heat.

      1. It is funny about peppers, you can buy two or three of the same variety…one will be so mild and another will put your mouth on fire. I always cut a tiny bite from one before I use them and adjust the recipe accordingly. If they are killer hot, I’ll mince them small and if they don’t have much heat then I’ll chop them bigger. Better safe than sorry.

    1. Thank you Marina, for your nice compliment. Hearts of palm is a nice change of pace from your regular salad and is very tropical to go with this island inspired meal. I want to thank you so much for asking about the tomatoes after our flooding rains. They are doing very well considering what they have gone through. I’ll do my next post about the garden in Maine to update their progress.

    1. Hi Natalia, I thought for sure that you had been to Jamaica. I’m glad you enjoyed the post…jerk is definitely the taste of Jamaica. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Thanks for the nice comment. Jamaica has beautiful beaches, good food and lots of adventures awaiting. But if you can’t take a trip to Jamaica, this meal will give you the feeling of being there. Put on some reggae music and enjoy…even if there is no sand around.

    1. By all means Carol, make your jerk with chicken…it is very traditional. The hearts of palm is a nice tropical salad to cool down the spiciness of the jerk. I hope you will enjoy the recipe. Thanks for your nice compliment.

  19. I’ve never been to the carribbean, but this meal sounds delicious. I love ordering hearts of palm in restaurants but never think to buy it for myself! I’m going to have to try this out.

    1. Hi Amy, Thank you for your nice compliment. I hope you will make a trip to the Caribbean for a vacation someday. Until then, I think you can get an idea of the food and flavors through these recipes. If you enjoy hearts of palm, definitely try preparing it at home as it is much less expensive.

    1. Hi Barb, Thank you for your nice comment. I hope you will enjoy this meal. No…the roadside stand wouldn’t part with how they prepared their meat.

  20. This salad looks fantastic. I have to go easy on the heat, but I think it will still have lots of flavor. I’d love to be in Jamacia while eating this!

    1. Thank you Lynda, for stopping by to visit and your nice comment. I’m glad you like the salad. Making the jerk seasoning yourself means that you can totally control the heat…even leaving the chilies out all together if you want.

    1. Hi Lorraine, Chicken and pork are the traditional meats to use jerk seasoning on but I do like it on seafood. Thanks for your nice comment.

    1. Hi Pumpkin, Thank you for your nice compliment. Hearts of palm is a pantry item that I keep along with artichoke hearts, jarred peppers, etc. They are so convenient when you want to prepare something a little different.

  21. Oh, how I love jerk flavors! This is such a perfect spicy summer dish–and brilliant idea to pair the shrimp with something to cool them down a bit.

    1. Hi Cucina, I like the flavors of jerk…the allspice along with the chilies give so much taste to any meat that you use. The hearts of palm salad is a perfect balance to the heat of the dish.

    1. Thank you Honey, for stopping by and your enthusiastic comment. I think you would really enjoy this shrimp dish as it is full of flavor.

  22. Thanks for the recipe of jerk seasoning….and I love the you paired the shrimps with heart of palm…looks delicious!
    Hope you are enjoying your week Karen 🙂

    1. Thank you Juliana, for your compliment. The jerk seasoning is a nice recipe to have in your recipe collection as it is full of flavor. The hearts of palm add an authentic tropical touch to the meal. The cooling salad goes very well with the spicy shrimp.

    1. Hi Celia, Thank you for your nice comment. Jerk is a spicy and flavorful seasoning. Scotch bonnet is the traditional pepper used in Jamaica. I know a lot of people will find them or habaneros too hot so I included jalapeños as an option. Anyone sensitive to heat could eliminate the peppers altogether.

    1. Hi Jenny, Thank you for your nice compliment. I’m glad you liked the photos on my post about summer. I can sympathize with you about cold weather…we had plenty of it. The spicy prawns might warm you up.

  23. I absolutely love hearts of palm. I used to make a decadent artichoke and hearts of palm gratin that I learned in cooking school but havent thought about it in years. Love this salad and paired with jerk shrimp looks delicious! And much healthier than a gratin. 🙂

    1. Hi Karista, Thank you for your nice comment. A cooling salad goes well with a jerk dish. The combination of hearts of palm and artichokes sounds good.

  24. I agree! I love the freshness of salad with the spiciness of jerk. A lovely summer dish! And as I remember, although the gratin was delicious, it was quite heavy and probably best served only once and a while. Which is probably why it’s not in my regular recipe rotation. 🙂

    1. Hi Ducky, the hearts of palm salad is a nice tropical touch to this meal. The salad gives a cooling effect to the spicy shrimp. I think you would enjoy it.

    1. Hi Susan, Jerk seasoning has so much flavor. When making the seasoning, you can control the spiciness according to your own taste. The hearts of palm is a nice tropical salad that cools the spiciness of the jerk. Thank you so much for your compliment.

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