Updated: May 18
Looking for a meat alternative? Jackfruit acts as a great pulled meat substitute.
What is jackfruit?
Jackfruit is a tropical fruit related to breadfruit. According to California Rare Fruit Growers, jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world, reaching 80 pounds and up to 36 inches long. The outside of the fruit is green or yellow when ripe. The inside flesh has large bulbs of yellow flesh that encloses a smooth, light-brown seed.
There may be up to 500 seeds in a single fruit. When fully ripe, the unopened jackfruit emits a strong odor, similar to onions, while the pulp of the opened fruit smells like pineapple and banana. There are two main varieties. In one, the fruits have small, fibrous, soft, mushy, but very sweet carpels with a texture like mussels. The other variety is crisp and not quite as sweet. This is the form you're likely to find sold in the US.
What does jackfruit taste like?
Bland and dry. Jackfruit doesn't taste like much. If you buy canned jackfruit, like what Trader Joe's sells, it takes on the flavor of the brine. So it may taste a little savory, not quite salty.
Why should I eat jackfruit?
Jackfruit is a rich source of fiber and can be used in place of shredded meat. However, it does not have protein or B12 or any of the other nutrients you'd get from meat. Jackfruit replaces meat in texture only.
That being said, I used jackfruit to replace shredded chicken in my Jackfruit Enchiladas recipe. It's faster and easier to pour it out of the can than to cook up chicken or pork. And you can add other protein and B12 sources like cheese, nutritional yeast, corn tortillas, beans, and rice to get the nutrients you need.
How to prepare jackfruit
I recommend buying canned jackfruit instead of trying to cut open a large hard-rind fruit. Trader Joe's sells canned jackfruit in a brine for less than $3 (in CA). It comes in pre-cut triangles and bulbs that you can pull apart to resemble shredded meat.
You can start by using your hands or two forks to pull the triangles apart so all of the flesh is exposed to the marinade you'll prepare.
I marinaded the jackfruit in a mix of onions, peppers, tomatoes, lime juice, and paprika for a couple of hours. Easy!
These jackfruit enchiladas are naturally gluten-free, peanut and nut-free, soy-free, fish and shellfish-free, and egg-free. You can make them dairy-free and vegan by using a dairy-free cheese like Daiya or Follow Your Heart Cheddar Shreds and using vegetable stock in the mole recipe instead of chicken stock.
Here's the recipe for jackfruit enchiladas:
Prep Time: 45 mins.
Marinating Time: 60 mins.
Bake Time: 20 mins.
Total Time: 1 hr. 15 mins.
Yield: 9 enchiladas
Serving size: 3 enchiladas
1- 20 oz. can jackfruit in brine
1/2 yellow or white onion
1 green pepper (any type based on heat preference)
1 medium tomato
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp paprika
Store-bought mole or ingredients for homemade mole found here
1 Tbsp Canola oil
9- 6"corn tortillas
1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
cilantro for garnish
Marinate the jackfruit:
Open the can of jackfruit and drain the liquid out. Dump the jackfruit into a large bowl. Pull apart the jackfruit with your hands until it resembles shredded meat. (There will be bulbs that do not shred, and these are perfectly edible.)
Dice the onions, peppers, and tomatoes and add to the bowl with the jackfruit.
Add lime juice and paprika and stir. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Make the mole sauce:
In the meantime, make the mole sauce. I use Gimme Some Oven's Best Enchilada Sauce. Leave on the stove on low to stay warm and thicken.
Assemble the enchiladas:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Add Canola oil to a frying pan over medium heat. Pour the entire bowl of jackfruit into the pan and stir occasionally to warm up.
Heat each tortilla in a second frying pan for about 3 minutes on each side, or until pliable. Line up the tortillas on a sheetpan or cutting board to assemble.
Add about 3 spoonfuls of the jackfruit mixture to each tortilla.
Add about 2 tablespoons of mole to each followed by a sprinkle of cheese.
Roll each tortilla and place seam side down in a baking dish. Line the enchiladas in the dish tightly side-by-side so they can't pop open. Once they're all in the dish, pour the remaining mole over the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake the enchiladas for 20 minutes or until heated all the way through. Remove from oven and garnish with cilantro.
Calories: 473 Carbohydrates: 50g Protein: 15g Fat: 25g Saturated Fat: 8g Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 37mg Sodium: 833mg Potassium: 512mg Fiber: 13g Added Sugar: 0g
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