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Caribbean chicken with jerk seasoning is a Paleo Whole30 dish Shawn and I enjoy regularly.  We are big fans of this hot and spicy dish.

In my early 30’s I produced my TV pilot celebrating food and wine. The crew and I shot one segment in Jamaica. We were in a bus winding through country roads on our way back to the hotel from Tuff Gong Studio, where I interviewed Ziggy Marley about his Rastafarian diet.  


We noticed a large sign at the side of the road stating, “Jerk Chicken.” We felt famished. Having started our day at 6 am with no lunch, we all needed to eat. I asked the bus driver to pull to the side of the road. I excitedly jumped off the bus. The Jerk chicken man had a hole dug into the ground, covered by palm leaves to retain the hole’s smoke. He removed the leaves. I spotted chicken pieces cooking on the grill. He burned fresh pimento leaves underneath the grill, adding flavour to the jerk seasoning. I cannot even express the unique and spicy smell of the grilling chicken. It was the best Jerk chicken I had ever tasted. I still think of this memory today when I made Jerk Chicken at home either on the grill or in the oven.  


RECIPE NUTRITIONAL VALUE:  This recipe uses fresh Scotch Bonnet peppers. These little flavour bombs contribute more than just heat to your recipe. Scotch bonnets are a valuable source of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B, as well as iron, niacin, riboflavin, and magnesium. They are also high in dietary fiber, phytochemicals, carotenoids, and flavonoids.


Just as Italian tomato sauce has as many recipes as Italians, so does jerk seasonings. I like this version because I always have pumpkin spice in my cupboard as I make many pumpkin pies and muffins. This jerk seasoning is cheaper to make and is just as tasty, in my opinion!


RECIPE TASTE PROFILE:  This recipe celebrates the taste and flavour sensations of spicy, hot, and sweet.  


DIRTY-BIRDY WINE PARTNER (For those maintaining a Paleo Whole30 lifestyle):  Jerk chicken is too hot to pair with wine. 

I suggest cider. Fermented from fresh apples, dry cider is fruity and can nicely offset the heat and spice of the Jerk seasoning. The cider’s fruitiness also works nicely with the sweetness from the date paste in the sauce.


Get all your ingredients ready.
Place all ingredient in blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Set chicken on parchment in oven proof pan. Bake at 350 F until juices run clear and chicken is cooked.

  • Author: FRESHDOH
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 50
  • Total Time: 65 minutes
  • Category: PALEO WHOLE30
  • Method: BAKING
  • Cuisine: DINNER
  • Diet: Gluten Free


8 chicken legs, trim excess fat and skin

6 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces

8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1 to 2 Scotch bonnet, stem removed*

1 1/2 -inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup Coconut Aminos

2 cups pitted dates

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon pumpkin spice

1 tablespoon garlic powder


*use one Scotch bonnet pepper for mild; 2, for hot


Spray oven proof pan with avocado non-stick cooking spray or coat in avocado oil.  Line the bottom of the pan with parchment.  Set aside. Add remaining ingredients to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.  Spread marinade over chicken pieces.  Let rest in refrigerator for 3 – 24 hours.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line an 18 by a 13-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.


Remove chicken from marinade. Arrange pieces on the baking sheet leaving space between them. Bake in the preheated oven until cooked through, about 45 – 50 minutes while broiling during the last few minutes for better browning.


Allow enough time to marinate so those flavors can really soak into the chicken, at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.  Want to maximize the flavor? Rub some of the marinade underneath the chicken skin. 

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