If I had to eat one kind of food for the rest of my life, it would be a toss-up between tacos and salad. They’re both incredibly versatile foods that can be prepared in an endless number of ways–boredom would be nearly impossible. While it will always be a difficult choice, the tables of my forever food face-off started to turn towards tacos when I started eating vegan. Salads are usually a pretty straightforward, safe bet for vegans. Vegan tacos though – they get points for their very existence. Tacos are typically filled with meat and cheese so it takes intention to build a delicious vegan alternative.
These vegan jackfruit tacos have lovely chipotle pepper flavor with cumin, smoked paprika, and fresh lime juice to bring the tang. They’re also topped with a creamy avocado cilantro sauce which adds additional flavor complexity and rounds out the smokiness of the jackfruit. They’re easy to make, popping with flavor, and guaranteed to surprise folks with that faux-pulled meat texture. Still not convinced? Ok, let’s get into the tough questions.
what’s a jackfruit?
Jackfruit is native to south and southeast Asia, specifically India, Bangladesh, and Thailand. The unripe fruit can be cooked in savory dishes, while the sweet, ripe jackfruit is used in desserts. It’s easy to grow, with jackfruit trees able to produce up to 150 jackfruits annually. Individual jackfruit can grow up to 100 pounds—making each tree capable of producing 15,000 pounds of jackfruit a year. Jackfruits are determined to persevere with a tough outer shell that defends against pest invasions, and jackfruit trees can handle high temperatures and droughts which are common conditions in their growing regions. All of these things earn jackfruit the label of a miracle food.
what does jackfruit meat taste like?
On its own, a ripe and raw jackfruit tastes like a cross between a mango and a pineapple. But we’re not using a ripe jackfruit for these tacos – we’re using a young jackfruit. Young jackfruit are much more like chameleons and less like fruit – they can adapt to how they’re cooked, taking on all sorts of new flavors. Jackfruit can be shredded, seasoned, cooked, and served up as an alternative to meat and won’t taste fruity at all. Versatility at its finest.
is jackfruit good for you?
Short answer – yes. Long answer – yes, jackfruit is good for you because it’s full of fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavanones. Jackfruit is also a healthier substitution than pulled pork because it’s cholesterol-free and brings a lot of plant-based goodness that meat doesn’t provide. Compared to other fruits, jackfruit also has more protein – 3 grams of protein per cup versus 0-1 grams for other types of fruit.
Hungry for more spicy or smoky vegan recipes? Check out vegan chili, Moroccan chickpea stew, homemade sofritas, vegan palak paneer, chana masala for more inspiration. If you make these tacos and sip a glass of wine, let me know! Leave a comment, rate this recipe, and tag #plantandvine on instagram so I can see your tacos in action.
vegan jackfruit tacos and wine pairings
These vegan jackfruit tacos are super flavorful, so you need a wine pairing that can stand-up to the intensity without getting overwhelmed. You also don’t want the wine to be too bold or it could conflict with the spiciness. Here are some wine pairing ideas to get you started:
- Albariño: Spanish white wine that offers lovely tropical and stone fruit flavors which are perfect for balancing spice. Albariño also has the right amount of acidity to refresh you between bites. This is my favorite wine pairing for this meal.
- Suggested Regions: Rías Baixas, Spain
- Dry Rosé: Brings the acidity of a white wine while boasting nuances of red wine’s ripe black and red fruit flavors. You can find a bottle of dry Rosé practically anywere, so if you’re short on options, this is a good option.
- Suggested Regions: Southern Rhone, France
- Beaujolais: If you’re thirsting for a red wine, try a lightly chilled Beaujolais. Imagine red fruit (strawberry, cherries, and cranberries) flavors with a bit of salt and stone. Delicious.
- Suggested Regions: Beaujolais, France
Want to learn more about wine pairing techniques? Check out my wine pairing guide and guide to vegan wine for more ideas. Or, if you already have a bottle of wine and need the scoop on how to decant, check out the best wine decanters.
Vegan Jackfruit Tacos with Avocado Cilantro Sauce
Flavorful and delicious jackfruit tacos with avocado cilantro sauce – perfect balance between spicy and creamy.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: Vegan, Healthy, Mexican
- Method: Stove
- Cuisine: Vegan, American, Mexican
- 2 (20 oz) cans jackfruit, in water or brine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons cane sugar
- 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, roughly chopped (depending on preferred spiciness)
- 2-3 teaspoons adobo sauce (from the can)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2/3 cups water
- 2-3 tablespoons lime juice
- Corn tortillas for serving
- Shredded red cabbage, hot sauce, pepita seeds, chopped cilantro for serving (optional)
Avocado Cilantro Sauce:
- 1 large avocado
- 1 lime, juice
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro (stems removed)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup of water (as needed for consistency)
- Drain jackfruit and rinse in a colander. Cut off the tougher core portion of the jackfruit (this is the part that doesn’t easily flake apart). You can either finely chop the core or throw it away. Once the core is removed, use your hands to shred the jackfruit into small stringy pieces. Rinse the jackfruit once more in a colander, drain, and lightly pat dry. It doesn’t need to be 100% dry but you want to remove excess water. See photos for additional reference.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil, onion, and garlic. Sauté for 4 minutes, until onions are soft.
- Add jackfruit, salt, smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, cane sugar, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, soy sauce, water, and lime juice. Stir to coat evenly. Reduce heat to low – medium. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While jackfruit is simmering, prepare your avocado cilantro sauce by combining all ingredients in a small food processor and blending until smooth.
- After simmering the jackfruit, taste and adjust flavor as needed. I added more smoked paprika, cumin, soy sauce, and lime juice.
- Turn up heat to medium-high and cook for 2-3 more minutes until additional spices are aromatic. Remove from heat.
- Serve immediately with fresh tortillas, sliced cabbage, cilantro, hot sauce, pepita seeds, and avocado cilantro sauce.
- Store leftover jackfruit in covered container in refrigerator up to 4 days.
*Recipe is a guide. Adapt as desired. Inspired by Plant & Vine’s guest recipe on Recipes Worth Repeating.
Keywords: jackfruit taco, vegan taco, spicy jackfruit taco, pulled jackfruit taco