I am so excited to share today's BBQ Jackfruit Tacos recipe with you guys! These tacos have been my go-to vegan summer cookout recipe. They're super easy to make, low-calorie, and full of smoky flavor!
What is the difference between young Jackfruit and ripe Jackfruit?
If you're new to eating plant-based or are just looking to eat more meatless recipes, you may have heard of jackfruit. Jackfruit is the largest fruit in the world and is a bit funky-looking. However, the large bumpy fruit that you may have seen in pictures is not what we are using in these BBQ Jackfruit Tacos.
These tacos use young jackfruit. Young jackfruit differs significantly from ripe jackfruit. The ripe jackfruit is bright yellow and super sweet. In my opinion, it tastes like a fruit punch. Ripe jackfruit is best eaten fresh or frozen and blended into smoothies.
Young jackfruit, on the other hand, does not have a strong flavor and is pale in color. Young jackfruit is found canned in water and is used in savory dishes. It has a shredded chicken or pulled pork-like texture and absorbs the flavor of what it is cooked in. In my opinion, it is the best WFPB meat substitute out there!
Why These BBQ Jackfruit Tacos Are Good For Weight Loss:
If you're looking for more plant-based weight loss recipes, these BBQ Jackfruit Tacos may be for you. I say this because these tacos are a high-volume, low-calorie-dense meal. Jackfruit is the ultimate meat substitute, in my opinion, because they're high in fiber and low in calories. Meat is the opposite and contains no fiber, and is high in calories.
Therefore, by substituting high-calorie meat with low-calorie and high-fiber jackfruit, you can eat more food and lose weight. You may be wondering, what about protein? Although jackfruit contains some protein (2 grams per serving), it is not a high-protein food.
However, these BBQ-pulled jackfruit tacos still contain enough protein (they're not high protein, but if you eat a good balanced diet, you'll be set). It's important to look for tortillas that are made with whole foods and plant-based ingredients. If you're not gluten-free, make sure to get whole wheat because it contains more fiber and protein. If you are looking for a high-protein, gluten-free tortilla, I recommend using Chickpea Tortillas. They're high in protein and fiber. This will help keep you full and lose weight.
Ingredients For These BBQ Jackfruit Tacos:
For The Vegan BBQ Sauce And Jackfruit:
- Tomato Paste
- Smoked Paprika - It's important to use smoked paprika and not regular paprika because this is what gives the barbecue the smoky flavor.
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Stone Ground Mustard - You can use regular yellow mustard, but Stone Ground is more nutritious.
- Liquid Aminos - You can substitute with soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Date Syrup - You can also use maple syrup, but I think date syrup compliments the barbecue flavor best.
For The BBQ Jackfruit Tacos:
- Gluten-free tortillas - You can use whole wheat tortillas if you do not follow a gluten-free diet; both are great options!
- English Cucumbers - You can use any cucumber, but English is my personal favorite.
- Healthy Vegan Coleslaw
How To Make These BBQ Jackfruit Tacos:
These BBQ Jackfruit Tacos are super easy to make! The first step is preparing the jackfruit. To make the shredded jackfruit, simply strain the canned ingredients and rinse in warm water. I like to let my jackfruit soak in water or even sometimes boil in water to release some of the salt. Canned jackfruit has a high sodium content. I like to keep my sodium intake under, or around about 1500mg daily, so releasing some of the salt from the jackfruit helps me keep it in check.
Once washed, begin to shred the jackfruit. I find the easiest way to make shredded jackfruit is to take your clean hands and squeeze the jackfruit through them. You could also use a fork, but I find that the hands-on method works best.
Next, make the vegan BBQ sauce. To make this sauce, all you will need is a small bowl and a whisk. Add all barbecue sauce ingredients together and whisk until smooth. Combine the shredded jackfruit and BBQ sauce together and mix until evenly coated.
Add to a pan with water, vegetable broth, or oil, and cook until it starts to brown slightly. Cover and remove from heat. Prepare the vegetables. Cut the cucumber julienne and make my Healthy Vegan Coleslaw according to directions. Warm the tortillas and assemble the tacos. Top with cilantro and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions:
What Does Pulled BBQ Jackfruit Taste Like?
Since young jackfruit has a very mild flavor, these BBQ Jackfruit Tacos will taste like whatever you season them with. I love making my own homemade barbecue sauce with simple ingredients. I love customizing the flavor each time.
However, if you are in a rush or would rather just buy pre-made store-bought BBQ sauce, you can use that instead. When buying a pre-made barbecue sauce, it is very important that you choose one that is made with clean ingredients. Barbecue sauce is typically made with sugar, brown sugar, ketchup, butter, and even meat-based broth. Therefore, checking the label is important.
My go-to pre-made vegan BBQ sauce is from True Made Foods. Not only are their sauces vegan (one of them isn't, so just be sure to avoid that one), but they're made without refined sugar and with vegetables!
Where Can I Find Young Jackfruit?
Even though jackfruit is just starting to gain popularity in the mainstream, it's actually relatively easy to find at grocery stores. I have found jackfruit at Publix, Harris Teeter, Trader Joe's, Winn Dixie, Whole Foods, Sprouts, and local health foods stores.
However, buying jackfruit at the grocery store can be quite expensive. It's normally around $5 for a 14-ounce can. Personally, I think that's a little much. My favorite way to buy young canned jackfruit is off Amazon. I bought a 6.1 Can Organic Young Jackfruit (It's excessively big) for $8.
If you were to buy 6 pounds of young jackfruit at the grocery store, it would cost you about $30. Needless to say, buying young jackfruit in bulk is the way to go. If you are looking for more information on how to store the leftover jackfruit, see below!
How To Store Leftover Jackfruit:
If you buy jackfruit in bulk, as I mentioned above, it is important that you know how to properly store jackfruit. You can store jackfruit in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days if you plan on using it right away. However, if you don't know when you'll be using it next, I recommend freezing it.
To freeze the leftover jackfruit, simply add it to an airtight container and freeze. When thawing the jackfruit, you'll want to place it on a paper towel to absorb the excess water. Season, reheat, and enjoy!
Does Jackfruit Actually Taste Like Chicken?
Although jackfruit is one of the best vegan meat substitutes, it does not taste like chicken. However, it can taste like chicken. I say this because jackfruit works a lot like meat in the sense that it absorbs the flavor of whatever it's cooked with. Just like plain chicken does not have a strong flavor, plain jackfruit does not have a strong flavor.
Therefore, whenever making a jackfruit recipe, it is important that you use lots of seasonings to achieve the perfect meat substitute. For this BBQ Jackfruit taco recipe, I used smoky, salty, and sweet flavors to achieve the perfect barbecue flavor.
What To Serve With BBQ Jackfruit Tacos:
There are so many delicious recipes that pair great with these BBQ Jackfruit Tacos. I love making this Loaded Southwestern BBQ Pasta Salad with vegan cheese, or my Jackfruit Buffalo Dip to pair with these tacos. Make sure to check out more of the sides on my website to find the perfect one for you!
BBQ Jackfruit Tacos
For The Pulled Jackfruit:
- 2 14oz young jackfruit or 2 ½ cups
- warm water
For The Vegan BBQ Sauce:
For The BBQ Jackfruit Tacos
- 1 batch Healthy Vegan Coleslaw
- 1 english cucumber
- 8 gluten-free or whole wheat taco tortialls
For The Pulled Jackfruit:
- Begin by straining and rinsing the jackfruit. I like to let mine soak in a large bowl of water to decrease the sodium content before straining.
- Once strained, add to a bowl and begin to pull it apart. I find the easiest way is to just use your hands and pressed it though your fingers.
For The Vegan BBQ Sauce:
- Add the liquid aminos, spices, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, and date syrup together and mix until smooth. Add the mustard and mix again.
- Combine with the pulled jackfruit and mix until evenly coated.
- Add to a pan with ½ cup vegetable broth or water and cook until the liquid has cooked out.
For The BBQ Jackfruit Tacos:
- Begin assembling the tacos. Warm up the tortillas and scoop Healthy Vegan Coleslaw onto them. Julienne cucumber and add to the taco. Add about ½ cup worth of BBQ jackfruit and top with cilantro. Serve and enjoy!