Have you ever seen a jackfruit?
I had passed by them in the farmer’s market, not knowing what that prickly thing was. Never thought twice about it. Until I saw this recipe by Jessica @ Clean Green Simple: Carolina Pulled “Pork” BBQ Sandwich.
Curiosity killed the blogger.
Exhibit A: the funny-looking fruit in the back left corner of the $35 farmer’s market pic I posted Monday:
Jackfruit. Not just any jackfruit – that is just 1/4 of a jackfruit (they pre-slice them). They can grow to be 8o lbs and 3 ft long! My quartered piece was just 99 cents. So cheap – I would have been losing money if I didn’t buy it!
It was delicious raw – a little chewy, tropically-sweet, reminiscent of a mango in flavor. It’s also in season right now!
Jackfruit is also super-nutritious:
- Energy replenish-er and revitalizes the body instantly (I can vouch for this – I perked up and went to the gym after dinner!)
- Good source of Vitamin-A, B, C cancer-preventing antioxidant flavonoids (like β-carotene and lutein)
- Mineral-rich (potassium, magnesium, manganese and iron)
- Full of fiber
- Improves iron absorption
- Normalizes blood sugar levels and supports healthy thyroid gland
Using about 1.5 C of fresh jackfruit (you can also find it canned), I followed Jessica’s dry rub recipe (red pepper flakes, paprika, cayenne pepper, ground mustard, black pepper, and garlic powder) except I subbed shallot for the regular onion and I omitted the salt and onion powder (the spices were more than enough flavor!).
The wet sauce I ad-libbed a bit based on what I had on-hand.
So. Good. It took a long time to make since I had to peel/seed the jackfruit
and I got the spice rub in my eye, but it was TOTALLY worth it.
I had also just seen Evan @ The Wannabe Chef post a socca taco shell, so I decided to turn Jessica’s sandwich into a taco! These were super easy to make and I liked them much better than “regular” hard taco shells.
Served with a salad of roasted tomatillo, cilantro, watercress, and lime juice.
Oh, and did I mention you can eat jackfruit seeds? Yup. I can’t find the stats, but they are rumored to be a good source of protein. I toasted those up in a skillet and tossed them on my salad too!
My BBQ-Taco ended up being vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. Combine that with a 99 cent jackfruit, it felt $$$ free.
Jackfruit BBQ Taco
- 1.5 C jackfruit (~1/2 of a jackfruit)
- 1 shallot, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Socca, bread, or taco shell… whatever you want to put it in
For the dry rub:
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground mustard
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- pinch garlic powder
For the wet sauce:
- 4 T fire-roasted tomato chunks
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp canola oil
- 1 tsp blackstrap molasses
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 C water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Sauté shallot with a splash of oil over medium heat until translucent. Add garlic and sauté ~1-2 mins longer, until fragrant.
Mix together dry rub spices and toss with jackfruit pieces until coated. Add to a medium-sized pan and cook over medium-high heat for ~5 mins to toast spices.
Stir together wet sauce ingredients and add to pan, along with shallot and garlic. Simmer jackfruit in sauce for 20-30 mins until softened.
Using a fork, shred the jackfruit pieces into small stringy bits. Spread mixture evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 mins until slightly dried out and toughened.
Scoop in to taco shells (or bread) and garnish with lime and cilantro. Enjoy!
It’s certainly not everything I ate, but everything else paled in comparison.
Have you ever had jackfruit? What is the coolest thing you’ve ever made?