The first time I ever had a jackfruit taco was at Sunshine Cafe in Morro Bay, CA. Sam and I were feeling adventurous and we had never heard of jackfruit before. Being the consummately curious foodies that we are, we both ordered a double. To our delight, we had “discovered” a vegan meat alternative that was actually a whole food! This was no formed patty of mysterious ingredients. No, this was the delightful texture of pulled meat dripping in delicious sauce filling our tacos. Holy cow, it was good!
Years later, to my surprise, I discovered that Trader Joe’s is now carrying cans of the curious fruit for easy consumption. You better believe that I grabbed a can likety-split for experimenting with at home. Jackfruit tacos? Coming right up!
I personally love the stringent acidity that tomatillos add to dish, so I decided to make my jackfruit tacos a bit of a verde sauce using tomatillos, jalapeños, garlic and onion.
If cooking with tomatillos is new to you. The simply need to be peeled free of their papery skin and washed a little to remove any sticky residue or dirt. Then, just chop them up like a tomato.
Start your sauce in a medium sized pan with a little olive oil. Add in two chopped tomatillos, one chopped red onion, four minced cloves of garlic, and two jalapeños that have been deseeded (only if you don’t want this spicy) and chopped. Don’t forget to season with salt!
As those veggies begin to saute and release some of their juices, it’s time to crack open the jackfruit can and investigate this new (to me) ingredient. Simply cubed and stored in acidic water, the jackfruit is super hard to my surprise. Draining it, I just dumped it into the pan and added half a bottle of Black Butte Porter (or whatever beer ya like).
Cover your pan and cook for roughly 15 minutes, so that the flavors meld and the jackfruit softens a bit. In the meantime, make your taco Tapatio sauce (this might be the best part).
Start with 1/4 cup of may and add in 4 minced garlic cloves, the squeeze of half a lemon (roughly a tablespoon), a pinch of salt, and Tapatio to taste of heat. I used a two teaspoons because I knew that who I was cooking for tended to like only a little heat…..but if I was cooking for just myself, I would have more.
Give your ingredients a stir and let it sit off to the side so that the flavor can marry while you finish the jackfruit and crisp up some tortillas in a separate pan coated with a little oil.
Once your jackfruit has cooked for about 15 minutes, it should be ready to make up with a potato masher, or pull apart with a couple of forks. At first, I thought the jackfruit would become exceptionally soft like pork cooked for hours that just falls apart. After “googling” up what I was looking for, I discovered that you start mashing when it still seems pretty firm. So, I mashed away and the texture quickly became the perfect pulled meat consistency. You know the magic when you first discovered spaghetti squash? This was kind of like that moment. It was so crazy and I loved it!
Since the sauce I cooked the jackfruit in was flavorful, and the Tapatio sauce was incredible, I decided to keep the tacos simple with just a little bit of shredded cabbage for color and crunch.
Just line those beautiful tacos up and drizzle generously with the Tapatio sauce. Man these are yummalicious! To make this a complete meal, I would definitely serve some yummy beans and even rice on the side for a complete protein profile.
Cheers to experimenting in the kitchen!
Jackfruit is a wonderful whole food option when going meatless. The texture is remarkable like pulled meat when cooked, and it does a great job of absorbing
- 1 can jackfruit, drained
- 1/2 bottle beer
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, deseeded and minced
- 2 tomatillos, chopped
- 1 cup veggie broth
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- salt to taste
- 9 corn tortillas
- 4 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 cups shredded cabbage, for topping the tacos
- 1/4 cup vegan mayo
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 lemon, juiced (about a tablespoon)
- 1 pinch salt (to taste)
- 2 tsp Tapatio (or more to taste)
Start by sautéing the onion, garlic, jalapeño, and tomatillos in olive oil. As they soften, add the jackfruit, beer, and salt to taste. Simmer covered for approximately 15 minutes. Add veggie broth if it get to dry, you want this to be saucy.
In a non-metal bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce and set aside so that the flavors can meld.
While the sauce is getting happy and the jackfruit is softening, start to fry your corn tortillas in a pan coated with coconut oil, which has a higher smoke point than olive oil.
The jackfruit will be done in a total of 15-20 minutes. It won't be super soft, but it will mash with a potato masher or pull apart with a couple of forks.
To serve, pile the tacos with the jackfruit mixture, some fresh shredded cabbage and the creamy Tapatio sauce.