Meat Your Maker: Using Jackfruit As A Meat Substitute

As the vegan and vegetarian crowd consistently gains more prominence in the culinary community, chefs are constantly looking for ways to create vegan friendly spins on their favorite dishes. With its pulled pork like consistency and flexible flavor profile, we believe that jackfruit is poised to make waves in the vegan community. Get a head start on the competition by checking our favorite jackfruit “meat” dishes.

Getting Started

Before you start busting out delicious creations in your kitchen, it’s important to make sure you have the right jackfruit for the job. Unripe and ripe jackfruits are two entirely different beasts, with the latter resembling a traditional tropical fruit rather than a delectable meat substitute. If you’re using whole jackfruit, be sure to select the young, green fruit. Can’t tell if the fruit is ripe or not? Use you senses! Ripe jackfruit will have a much more prominent scent and will have more “give” when pressed. Finally, once you cut the fruit open, you can tell by the color of the fruit; ripe jackfruit has a yellow hue while unripe jackfruit is green.

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches

For your first foray into the world of savory jackfruit dishes, we’d recommend trying BBQ jackfruit sandwiches. Since the fruit is often compared to pulled pork both texture and flavor-wise, throwing it into your pulled pork recipe is a simple and rewarding dish. For best results, try focusing on the interplay between savory and sweet flavors by lathering your jackfruit in bbq sauce and pairing with fresh coleslaw or pineapple slices. 

Vegan Pot Pie

Not to be outdone by pork dishes, jackfruit can easily fit into a variety of fish or chicken dishes. One of our favorite ways to incorporate the savory fruit is by placing it into a pot pie recipe and filling with hearty potatoes, carrots, and peas for a filling main course. If you want to go fully vegan, be sure to use vegetable stock, plant-based milk, and a vegan friendly pastry recipe. In terms of seasoning, fresh herbs are ideal, so don’t be afraid to get a little heavy handed with some parsley or rosemary. 

Jackfruit Tacos

Unlike other meat-substitutes, jackfruit isn’t a great source of protein, so you may need to utilize beans if you’re cooking with nutrition in mind. Jackfruit tacos are a particularly versatile way to use the two, as jackfruit can be used in chicken, pork, and fish taco recipes. Try combining a “fish taco” slaw, black beans, fresh guacamole, and spicy jackfruit for a delectable dish that could trick even the staunchest meat-eater. 

Jackfruit Curry

Take inspiration from jackfruit’s Southeastern Asian heritage by using it in a Thai inspired curry! Jackfruit is exceptional at soaking up strong flavors and bringing them to the front of each bite, so it’s a fantastic partner to the complex spiciness of Thai curries. Leaning into flavorful Thai ingredients like coconut milk, curry pastes, and chilis is definitely the way go, but don’t forget a fresh glass of Thai tea to wash it down. 

Jackfruit Stir-Fry

Looking for a more conventional Asian dish? Try throwing in some jackfruit into your next stir fry! By stir-frying your jackfruit, you can help bring some extra crunch to the plate that you may not expect. Better yet, you don’t need to get complicated with your seasoning to create a rich flavor profile; a simple soy or teriyaki sauce marinade can still bring a stellar taste. Top with rice or noodles and serve alongside meaty shiitake mushrooms, fresh veggies, and caramelized onions for an addicting main.