I’ve always been a fan of exploring new and exciting vegan recipes, and one dish that’s become a favorite of mine is this vegan BBQ jackfruit taco recipe. These flavorful tacos offer a satisfying combination of taste and texture, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking to try something new or expand their plant-based menu options.
If you’re unfamiliar with jackfruit, it’s a versatile fruit that, when used in savory dishes, can mimic the texture of pulled meat. This makes it an ideal ingredient for creating delicious vegan BBQ dishes that even meat lovers can appreciate.
In my BBQ jackfruit taco recipe, I incorporate a mouthwatering homemade BBQ sauce, seasoned jackfruit, and your choice of taco toppings to create a delicious and wholesome meal that’s both satisfying and nutritious.
Preparing vegan BBQ jackfruit tacos is a relatively simple process, and the result is well worth the effort. I encourage everyone to give this delightful dish a try and experience the beautiful flavors that these ingredients come together to create.
To find more easy-to-make plant-based food, check out these best raw vegan cookbooks for more inspiration!
Benefits of Jackfruit in Vegan Cuisine
As a vegan, I find jackfruit to be an excellent addition to my meals, not only because of its unique taste but also for its valuable contributions to plant-based diets. Today, I want to highlight the nutritional value of jackfruit and its fantastic texture and consistency when used in vegan recipes, such as tacos.
When it comes to nutrition, jackfruit is an impressively versatile fruit. It’s a good source of vitamins (like Vitamin C and A) and minerals (such as potassium, manganese, and magnesium) essential for maintaining good health. Additionally, jackfruit contains dietary fiber that aids digestion and helps keep healthy metabolism.
While jackfruit is not extremely rich in protein compared to other plant-based sources, it does contribute some protein to a vegan diet. It is more valued as a meat substitute for its micronutrient content and unique properties.
Texture and Consistency
One of the reasons I gravitate towards jackfruit as a vegan cook is its incredible texture, which resembles that of pulled pork or shredded chicken. It can achieve a tender and satisfying consistency when appropriately cooked, making it an excellent choice for various meat substitute dishes.
This texture proves to be incredibly alluring in a vegan BBQ jackfruit taco recipe. I can achieve the desired “meaty” texture by shredding the jackfruit and sautéing it with BBQ seasoning and sauce.
The jackfruit is a delightful plant-based alternative to my tacos when combined with fresh vegetables and aromatic spices. The versatility of jackfruit is truly noteworthy, and its contribution to plant-based diets is invaluable.
Adding it to a vegan meal plan enhances its nutritional value. It offers a unique and satisfying texture that can make transitioning to and enjoying a vegan lifestyle much more effortless and enjoyable.
Choosing the Right Jackfruit
Selecting the right jackfruit is crucial for a tasty vegan BBQ jackfruit taco. I recommend using young, green jackfruit in brine rather than ripe jackfruit.
Ripe jackfruit has a sweeter taste and softer texture, making it unsuitable for this dish. Canned young jackfruit is easy to find in grocery stores but rinse it well to remove excess brine before cooking.
Essential Spices and Herbs
We’ll need the right spices and herbs for a mouth-watering BBQ flavor. For a basic BBQ seasoning, I combine the following ingredients:
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Black pepper
- Chili powder
- Brown sugar
Feel free to adjust the spices to your taste, and add other herbs like oregano, thyme, or cilantro if desired.
The Base: Tortillas and Their Types
For the base of our vegan BBQ jackfruit tacos, we have a choice between corn and flour. Here is a comparison of the two:
|Firm, slightly coarse
Corn tortillas are gluten-free and provide a traditional, more authentic taco experience. On the other hand, flour tortillas are softer and easier to work with, but they contain gluten.
For a healthier option, you can try whole wheat or low-carb tortillas. The choice is yours, depending on your taste and dietary preferences.
Preparing the Jackfruit
Cleaning and Shredding
To prepare the jackfruit for your vegan BBQ tacos, you’ll first need to clean and shred it. Start by draining the canned jackfruit and rinsing it thoroughly to remove the brine.
For this recipe, it’s recommended to use unripe jackfruit, as it has a texture similar to pulled pork. The ripe jackfruit can be too sweet for a savory dish.
After rinsing, use a fork or your hands to shred the jackfruit into pieces. Depending on your preference, you can adjust the shreds’ size, but smaller particles work best for a “pulled pork” texture.
Marinating the Jackfruit
Now that the jackfruit is clean and shredded, it’s time to marinate it. Start by heating some oil (I like to use olive or coconut oil) in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped garlic and sauté for a minute or two, just until fragrant.
For the seasoning, mix the following ingredients in a bowl:
- BBQ sauce
- Smoked paprika
- Maple syrup
- Coconut aminos or tamari (or soy sauce, if not gluten-free)
Pour the marinade over the shredded jackfruit and mix well, ensuring each piece is evenly coated. Allow the jackfruit to marinate for a minimum of 10 minutes to help it absorb the flavors. The longer the marination time, the richer the taste will be.
Once marinated, cook the jackfruit over medium heat until it slightly browns. Add water or vegetable broth to the pan to keep it from sticking. As the jackfruit cooks, it should get even softer and absorb more of the marinade’s flavors.
These steps will give you flavorful, juicy, tender jackfruit— the perfect base for vegan BBQ tacos.
Cooking the BBQ Jackfruit
Sauteeing and Simmering
I start cooking the BBQ jackfruit by heating a skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, I add a small amount of oil to coat the pan.
I then saute the shredded jackfruit with some seasoning, such as salt, pepper, and smoky spices like paprika or cumin. As the jackfruit cooks, it takes on a more “pulled” texture, similar to pulled pork or shredded chicken.
Once the jackfruit is sufficiently sauteed and the spices evenly distributed, it’s time to add the BBQ sauce. A tangy and slightly sweet sauce works best for this type of taco, such as vegan marinara.
I pour enough dressing to coat the jackfruit, stirring occasionally to ensure the flavors meld together.
After adding the BBQ sauce, I let the jackfruit mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld further and the sauce to reduce and thicken. During this time, it’s essential to check that the heat is not too high – we want a gentle simmer rather than a vigorous boil.
Achieving the Perfect Texture
While the jackfruit simmers, I occasionally stir and check the texture. The goal is to have tender, well-seasoned jackfruit pieces with a slightly caramelized exterior from the sauce reduction. If the jackfruit is too dry, I add a small amount of water to the skillet to help it soften.
Conversely, if the mixture is too wet or saucy, I increase the heat and cook for a few minutes longer, allowing the excess moisture to evaporate. By paying close attention to the texture of the jackfruit, I can ensure the final product has the perfect balance of tenderness and flavor consistency.
Don’t forget to taste the jackfruit as it cooks, adjusting seasoning and spice levels if necessary. Keep an eye on the timer, ensuring the jackfruit doesn’t overcook.
While the jackfruit cooks, I prepare the taco shells and toppings. With everything ready, I assemble the vegan BBQ jackfruit tacos and enjoy them with my favorite accompaniments.
Assembling the Tacos
Layering the Ingredients
I first warm the tortillas to assemble the perfect vegan BBQ jackfruit tacos. You can do this in a pan on medium heat for about 30 seconds per side or place them in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for around 20-30 seconds.
Add a generous layer of BBQ jackfruit in the center with the tortillas warmed. To complement the jackfruit, I add slices of avocado drizzled with lime juice, adding a creamy texture and zesty flavor.
Next, I sprinkle a handful of cooked corn kernels and shredded cabbage onto my taco. These ingredients provide a satisfying crunch and add beautiful colors to the dish.
Customizing Your Taco
The beauty of tacos is their versatility, which allows for customization based on individual preferences. Add your favorite vegan cheese sauce or sour cream to enhance the flavors.
Additionally, you can top your taco with nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor and extra nutrients. For extra spice, a spoonful of salsa or a drizzle of hot sauce will kick up the heat while adding depth to the dish.
Finally, garnish your taco with fresh cilantro leaves or diced green onions for a burst of freshness that balances the rich BBQ flavors.
Extra garnishes and toppings:
- Vegan cheese sauce or sour cream
- Nutritional yeast and substitutes
- Salsa or hot sauce
- Fresh cilantro leaves or diced green onions
Remember that building layers of flavors and textures is the key to an unforgettable vegan BBQ jackfruit taco. So, get creative while assembling your tacos, and enjoy every delicious bite.
Additional Tips and Variations
Homemade vs. Store-Bought Sauces
When making vegan BBQ jackfruit tacos, you can choose between homemade and store-bought sauces. I prefer homemade sauces because they allow me to control the ingredients and flavor profile.
A simple vegan BBQ sauce can include tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and seasonings like smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. However, a store-bought vegan BBQ sauce will do just fine if you’re short on time. Just be sure to check the label for any hidden non-vegan ingredients.
Alternative Toppings and Substitutions
You can try various toppings and substitutions to keep your jackfruit tacos exciting and cater to different tastes. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Quick Pickles: Thinly-sliced cucumbers or radishes, pickled in vinegar and seasoned with salt and sugar.
- Spicy Vegan Mayo: Mix vegan mayonnaise with your favorite hot sauce for an extra kick.
- Vegan Sour Cream: Use a store-bought version or make your own by blending soaked cashews, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.
You can also serve your tacos with lime wedges, which add a vibrant, zesty flavor. Use lettuce leaves instead of traditional tortillas if you want a low-carb option.
Vegan BBQ jackfruit tacos can be part of a larger meal, accompanied by various side dishes. Here are a few serving suggestions:
- Salads: A simple green salad, a tangy coleslaw, or a zesty corn salad complement the rich flavors of the tacos. This chopped kale and quinoa salad fits the bill perfectly!
- Rice and Beans: Prepare a batch of cilantro-lime rice and black beans on the side for a satisfying, protein-packed addition.
- Enchiladas: Create a complete Mexican-themed feast by including vegan enchiladas filled with beans, veggies, and vegan cheese, covered in a flavorful homemade sauce.
Adding a variety of sides and alternative toppings can make your vegan BBQ jackfruit taco meal even more versatile and appealing to everyone at the table.
Storing and Reheating
Best Practices for Storage
When storing leftover jackfruit tacos, I have discovered a few valuable tips. Firstly, keeping the components separate is best to maintain freshness and avoid sogginess. For example, the jackfruit filling, tortillas, and toppings, such as vegan guacamole and pico de gallo, should be placed in separate airtight containers.
Regarding freezing, the jackfruit filling freezes exceptionally well and can be stored for up to 3 months. To freeze, transfer the cooled filling to freezer-safe bags or containers, being careful to label and date them.
Tortillas can also be frozen in their original packaging or a resealable plastic bag. However, I recommend consuming fresh toppings within a day or two, as they do not freeze well.
Reheating Without Losing Texture
To reheat the jackfruit filling, I suggest defrosting it in the refrigerator overnight if it was previously frozen. Once it has thawed, transfer the filling to a skillet or microwave-safe dish, adding a splash of water if necessary to prevent drying.
I prefer using a skillet over medium heat, as this method allows for better control over the texture and allows me to brown the jackfruit slightly, resulting in a more desirable meaty texture.
For reheating tortillas, the stove or microwave can be used. If using a stove, place the tortilla on a dry, hot skillet for 10-15 seconds per side until warm and pliable. Alternatively, in a microwave, wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 20-30 seconds.
Once the filling and tortillas have been reheated, assemble your tacos by placing the filling on the warm tortillas and topping with your choice of freshly prepared toppings. Enjoy your delicious vegan BBQ jackfruit tacos with all the flavors and textures as if they were newly made!