Tacos are my “single girl” food. You know, the food that you make whenever your partner, kids, or roommates are out of town and you get to sit down and be really honest about what you and only you feel like eating? I never tire of them and am always looking for ways to amp up my taco game.
But if for some reason you’re sharing, these jackfruit tacos are a saucy, lick-your-fingers addition to the weeknight roster for the vegans and non-vegans in your life. They’re ready in fewer than 30 minutes, and couldn’t be simpler to pull together—it’s more assembling than cooking, really.
What Is Jackfruit?
If you’re not familiar with jackfruit, it’s a large fruit that’s thought to be indigenous to India. Today, it grows in tropical regions, such as Southeast Asia and Brazil. It can be purchased frozen in its ripe, sweet form and used in dessert recipes or smoothies, or you can find it in its young green unripe form, packaged in cans.
Both are edible, but they’re not interchangeable per se. For today's recipe, we're focusing on unripe canned jackfruit.
Young green unripe jackfruit has the texture of a stringy, pulled meat but doesn’t actually taste anything like meat on its own; in fact, it tastes more like artichokes! But much like tofu, jackfruit takes on the flavor of whatever sauce, marinade or spices you’re cooking it with, making it an incredibly versatile meat substitute and an obvious choice for vegetarian tacos, sandwiches, salads, and wraps.
Where to Buy Jackfruit
Canned jackfruit is available at most Asian grocery stores and well-stocked grocery stores with a natural-foods focus (such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or Amazon).
- Curious about jackfruit? Read more here: What is Jackfruit and How Can You Use It?
How to Prepare Your Jackfruit
Be sure to buy canned unripe, green or young jackfruit for this recipe. (Ripe jackfruit is sweeter and has a different texture; it won’t work in this recipe.)
After removing it from the can, give the pieces of jackfruit a good rinse to remove that briny, salty flavor.
Next, shred your jackfruit before starting to cook. Take the larger canned chunks and simply use your fingers or a fork to shred them, much like you would pulled pork or chicken, or canned tuna, which it loosely resembles.
If you’ve got little bits of the core on some of the chunks, don’t worry about those. You can leave them as they are or give them a quick chop with a kitchen knife. They’re edible as well. And you won’t even notice them once you cook the fruit down.
Ways to Use Leftover Pulled Jackfruit
If you end up having leftover jackfruit filling, it’s great folded into a breakfast burrito, salad, or wrap. But if your crew is anything like mine, leftovers won’t be likely with these quick, new family favorites!
More Meat-Free Mains to Try!
- Cauliflower Chickpea Curry
- Roasted Poblano Corn Chowder
- Pesto Pasta with Spinach and Avocado
- Eggplant Parmesan
- Easy Tuscan Bean Soup
How to Store and Reheat Jackfruit
You can store leftover jackfruit in the refrigerator or freezer. It'll keep for weeks in the freezer, but just a couple of days in the fridge.
Canned jackfruit doesn't have to be cooked, per se. But it's nice to heat this recipe up for the taco filling. You can re-heat any leftover jackfruit by sautéeing it over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes. You can also reheat it in the microwave for a minute or so straight from the fridge, or a couple of additional minutes, if frozen.
Leftover jackfruit is the perfect addition to any meatless, vegan or vegetarian meal.
Sides for a Fun Jackfruit Taco Night
BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Tacos
- 2 (14-ounce) cans jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
- 3/4 cup barbecue sauce, store-bought or homemade
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika, smoked or regular
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- To serve:
- 10 to 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
- 1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
- 4 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup red cabbage, shredded
- 1/3 cup corn kernels, canned, frozen and defrosted, or fresh from the cob
- 1/4 cup sour cream (optional)
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
Shred the jackfruit:
Place the drained jackfruit in a bowl large enough to work in. Using your fingers or two forks, break apart the chunks of jackfruit into shredded pieces.
Cook the onions:
In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño (if using) and cook for an additional minute, until the garlic is fragrant.
Cook the jackfruit:
Add the shredded jackfruit to the pan and stir well. Add the barbecue sauce, cumin, oregano, coriander, smoked paprika and salt to the pan.
Stir to evenly distribute the spices and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, or until the jackfruit is browned and slightly crisped around the edges. Fold in the orange zest.
Assemble the tacos:
In a separate, lightly oiled skillet, warm the tortillas and add a large spoonful of cooked jackfruit to the center of each. Top with avocado, radishes, cilantro, cabbage, corn, and sour cream (if using). Serve with wedges of lime, for squeezing.