I’m not vegan, but I lean towards eating that way most of the time, and part of my experiments with making plant-based swaps in my favorite meals has brought jackfruit to my plate. I’ve seen it used as pulled “pork” and have had it smothered in BBQ sauce on a salad at Veggie Galaxy, but I had never tried it at home, so I ventured to the Super 88 Market and got myself a few cans to play around with.
Jackfruit is a fairly neutral-tasting, ginormous tropical fruit that’s part of the fig family. You probably won’t find it fresh in the Boston area, but the canned version in brine works great for savory applications. I prefer using this as a meat replacement over processed soy frankenfoods, and in this recipe it’s a substitute for shredded chicken, rich in fiber, Vitamin C, and several B vitamins. Our protein will come from the cannellini beans in this dish.
Jackfruit comes canned in syrup as well, so make sure you double check that you have the young green ones in brine. Also, this really is more savory than anything; don’t try to put the brined version in desserts. I tried it thinking it would be neutral enough if I rinsed it well, but came up with what looked like an apple-chicken pie. Such is life with culinary curiosity. Learn from my mistakes.
If you’re unable to find fresh tomatillos, canned will work fine, or green tomatoes with a bit of lime juice.
This is a warming recipe for cold nights that’ll make your mom proud with all the green in your bowl. Don’t forget to bake up some corn tortillas for dipping!
- ½ cup water
- 1 20oz can young green jackfruit
- 2 tsp coconut oil / ghee
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 ½ tsp cumin
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 lb tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut into wedges
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 can diced green chilis
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- Heat water in a skillet until boiling. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add jackfruit, and cover for about 10 minutes, until the fruit softens and can be shredded with a fork or your fingers. Drain, shred, and set aside.
- Meanwhile in a blender, puree broth, ⅓ of the tomatillos, green onions, cilantro, and garlic until smooth. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, heat oil on medium heat and add onions and cumin. Cook until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add remaining ⅔ of the tomatillos and cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes.
- Add broth mixture, green chiles, oregano, and salt to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add jackfruit and cannellini beans and cook for 30 minutes.
- Serve with fresh cilantro for garnish.
Ruth Sandin says
I have never seen tomatillas in the grocery store! Where do you get them?
Ruth Sandin says
Another thing- about jack fruit: I have bought it in the past and have only used it as shredded BBQ, but some of it is kind of tough. I always thought that canned food was already fully cooked. So, reading to simmer it is new information for me. I will try it. Thanks!
Yes! you can find jackfruit in the Boston area in the freezer section! go to this website for store locator. https://thejackfruitcompany.com/
This company is a big supporter of Boston Veg Festival.
Good to know, thank you!
We made this a while back and it was amazing! Served it traditional Mexican restaurant style with refried beans, rice and tortillas and we’re very impressed.
Awesome! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, thank you for sharing that with me 🙂
Michael Williams says
Deliciousness. I’m having this for the week, for lunch. I added a can of black beans to stretch. Winner winner with this one.
Woohoo! The extra black beans sound great!
Second time making this delicious recipe. Absolutely excellent!
I’m so glad you’re enjoying it. Thank you for sharing with me!
Absolutely love this recipe!!! So good!
Hannah Shaw says
What size for the green Chiles? My store has three sizes.
I usually use the small 4oz can
Is there any way to mimic, if not flavor, something if the satisfying robust flavor of pork. I’m not into frankefoods either. And I’m fully committed to vegan. But pork really dies bring something to green chili that seriously missing when the pork is missing. Oh well. It’s not pork. I just wondered if you have any experience with “mimicking” meat. I do like jackfruit, but it does not really mimic meat. Or poultry or fish. It does not “absorb” flavors. And though may look like shredded beef, texture is not the same. I’m interested in duplicating flavors more than visual similarities. Any help here? Within this recipe or others you may have tried. I’m also commenting on this because I wonder if other people struggle with this as well, transitioning to vegan.
Thank you for any input.
Haley Pearson says
I wonder if you could use vegan techniques for boosting umami, which is the meaty flavour that you’re missing? Googling ‘vegan umami options’ might yield some ideas.
Also, Jack Fruit is not a “frankenfood”. It’s an actual fruit flesh. Try it out. I love it!