I was once a vegan. In fact, I was a few steps beyond the pale of vegan and was full-on Macrobiotic (a Japanese way of eating with the seasons where you basically just eat brown rice, steamed vegetables and seaweed). Like many vegans, I didn’t necessarily miss meat or desperately search for alternatives. A lot of fake meat products are gross and loaded with sodium and additives in an attempt to mimic…well…meatiness.
It is my belief that people who eat meat and like meat are after the burned fatty bits and texture, so in fact it’s impossible to achieve that meatiness with vegetable substitutes like soy. Maybe you’re avoiding meat because you know of the harmful environmental impacts of raising cattle or your doctor told you to avoid it or you think animals are friends not food? Eating habits have always been and always will be a touchy subject and I am in no place to judge.
So I offer you my humble BBQ jackfruit taco recipe, not as a substitute for BBQ pulled pork tacos, but as a welcome alternative to the hours of cooking time and the meat sweats that come coupled with making an eating BBQ pulled pork tacos.
Jackfruit is being heralded by the food media as the savior of the human race…or at least savior to vegans allergic to soy! It’s a large green bulbous fruit full of yellow pulp that’s just stringy and sturdy enough to mimic pulled pork.
It’s one of those foods that makes white people in the USA go WOW this NEW FOOD is so amazing when in fact people all over the world have been consuming it for centuries (especially in Thailand and India). But it seems like jackfruit got itself a great publicist because you can now find canned jackfruit on the shelves of Trader Joe’s!
You can also find jackfruit on the shelves of fancy groceries stories or Southeast Asian markets. Make sure your jackfruit is canned (fresh will not do) and NOT canned in syrup—that’s for dessert and is a different story. You want canned jackfruit that’s pink and spongy.
Tacos are also a very personal food so feel free to put WHATEVER you want on them! Cheese? Salsa verde? Radishes? Cabbage? You can also play around with the BBQ seasoning for the jackfruit. You really can’t go wrong with ketchup, hot sauce and some spices. If you want to make this REALLY easy, you can just mix your jackfruit with 1/2 up of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, fry it up and call it a day!
BBQ Jackfruit Tacos
Serves 2 (makes 6 tacos)
1 20 oz. can of jackfruit in brine (about 2 cups of jackfruit)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped onions (red, white, yellow, it doesn’t matter)
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon harissa (or any smoky hot sauce)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt, to taste
6 small corn tortillas
1 avocado cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Thinly sliced white onion
Thinly sliced radishes
- Drain and rinse your jackfruit. Lay out the pieces on a cutting board and using two forks or your fingers begin to shred the fruit into small stringy pieces. You should end up with about 2 cups of shredded jackfruit.
- Add the jackfruit to a mixing bowl with the ketchup, harissa, pepper, chili powder, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix until the fruit is completely coated.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skilled over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a dash of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes. Then add the jackfruit mixture. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, only stirring occasionally so the jackfruit has a chance to burn a bit.
- Assemble the tacos with the jackfruit on the bottom followed by avocado, onions, cilantro and whatever else you’re using! Serve with salsa verde or more hot sauce!
Pro-tip: Double the recipe and have the toppings on a bed of rice or quinoa for lunch tomorrow!
You may also like these recipes from the archives: