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 grapeseed oil / 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.