The weather has gotten warmer, and what better way to celebrate summer than with a pitcher of refreshing sun tea and a plate of juicy jackfruit tacos?
But wait…a fruit that can be used as a substitute for pulled pork or chicken? It may sound out there, but don’t knock it till you try it. Shredded jackfruit is so yummy, and the texture is really similar to traditional taco filling. Try this recipe during your next Taco Tuesday, or why not make it a special treat for Father’s Day weekend?
What Is Jackfruit?
Jackfruit has become a popular plant-based substitute for meat and commonly appears in recipes for pulled pork sandwiches, tacos, chili, and even sushi bowls.
This oversized, green, or yellow sea urchin-like fruit is native to Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India. Belonging to the same family as mulberries, figs, and breadfruit, the jackfruit is the largest tree fruit in the world and can reach up to 80 pounds in weight.
Fun fact: A man from Kerala, India, recently approached the Guinness World Records seeking the world record for the heaviest jackfruit after reportedly finding a mammoth prickly fruit weighing more than 100 pounds in his backyard.
Health Benefits of Jackfruit
Jackfruit is good for you: it's low in calories, naturally fat- and sodium-free, rich in vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and fiber.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one cup of sliced jackfruit contains 2.84 grams of protein, 11% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of riboflavin, 15% of the RDI of magnesium, 15% of the RDI of copper, and so much more.
Jackfruit has a relatively low glycemic index (GI), which is a measure of how quickly your blood sugar rises after having some food. Studies have shown that diets that include lots of low-GI foods could be helpful in promoting blood sugar control.
Jackfruit is also high in antioxidants like carotenoids and flavanones, which contain anti-inflammatory properties and may reduce the risk of several diseases.
If you’ve watched YouTube videos on how to open a jackfruit, then you know that it can be a sticky and labor-intensive affair. Luckily, jackfruit can now be found in grocery stores and Asian food stores as fresh, canned, or frozen varieties.
I love jackfruit because it is versatile and can be eaten unripe or ripe, raw, or cooked.
Ripe jackfruit turns brown and has a subtly sweet and fruity flavor. It has been said to taste similar to a combination of fruits, including apples, pineapples, mangoes, and bananas. It can be eaten plain but is also a great addition to dessert recipes, smoothies, or baked treats.
Unripe jackfruit has bright green skin and doesn’t taste anything like meat on its own; in fact, it tastes more like artichokes! Much like tofu, unripe jackfruit takes on the flavor of whatever sauce, marinade or spices you’re cooking it with. This quality, along with its stringy texture when it is pulled apart, making it an incredibly versatile meat substitute and an excellent choice for sandwiches, salads, wraps, and even curries.
How To Prepare Your Jackfruit
Most recipes that use jackfruit as a meat alternative use unripe canned fruit, which you can purchase online here.
Note: When buying it canned or frozen, make sure you purchase young green jackfruit in water or brine and not the sweet, ripe kind in syrup.
Right out of the can, the jackfruit will likely be in big chunks. Give it a thorough rinse to remove that briny, salty flavor. Next, you can shred your jackfruit using your fingers or a fork, or you can use a potato masher while it cooks.
Sauté with some minced onion and garlic. Add your savory spices like cumin, coriander, and smoked paprika and cook for about 5 minutes until saucy.
A Quick Way to Make Jackfruit Tacos
If you’re like me and you like meals ready to eat in under 10 minutes, you can pick up a pack of pre-seasoned jackfruit. I got mine from the Basil Bandwagon Natural Market as well as some almond flour, grain-free tortillas.
All I do is sauté some onions and add the jackfruit while I warm the tortillas. And then it’s time to put everything together! Place a tortilla on a plate and a couple of spoonfuls of jackfruit. You can use whatever toppings you fancy. I added some slaw, sliced avocados, marinated red onions, and parsley (you can use cilantro) and topped it all off with a squeeze of lime.
For a truly filling meal, you can serve your tacos with my three-bean salad.Print
If You Enjoyed This Jackfruit Tacos Recipe Then You Should Try…
My nutritious quinoa with kale stem pesto that has pine nuts and sweet potato and would make a great side dish.
This vegan jackfruit BBQ sandwich from A Couple Cooks.
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