I call jackfruit “The Great Divider.” Dahling, are you familiar with jackfruit? If you are, then you’d understand immediately why I would christen it so. if not, read on. I’ll tell you why.

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Jackfruit (image courtesy of Wisegeek)

No one likes jackfruit. It’s not a middle of the road kind of fruit. You either rabidly love jackfruit and believe it to be nectar dripping from the lips of the fruit gods themselves or you find it to be the most offensive, putrid, abominable alien thing to ever be hurled into the face of the earth.

That, dahling, is jackfruit. I am right. This is law. I stand by this definition. Indeed, it is the hill upon which I die.

So, where do I fall? Am I rabidly fanatic or am I a rank disparager?  Well, as with many things in my life – it depends. If we are talking about ripe jackfruit, a large tropical fruit that takes on a sickeningly rotten smell the more it ripens – then I fall in the camp of the latter. Get this thing to a nunnery!

However, if we are talking about young, green jackfruit – slightly firm with no offensive smell – then yes I am indeed a fan. Let me explain.

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Being vegan is an exercise in nuances, abundant with discovery. The impression of the vegan lifestyle, particularly the diet, is that it’s one of restriction. The laundry list of what a vegan cannot have is widely reported as long and ever-growing. Whew! I’d like to believe that being vegan allows you to live fully, compassionately and creatively. Instead of focusing on what is removed from our diets, I’think it challenges us to discover new items or view familiar foods in entirely different ways.

Enter the young, green jackfruit. I would never have imagined using green jackfruit. Surely, I could not have dreamed of using jackfruit as “meat”. Perhaps because growing up as a young girl in Jamaica, I didn’t have to. Meat from animal sources was quite common and we rarely ate unripe fruit, unless it’s the occasional green mango with salt. (I told my other Jamaican friends about my obsession with green mango and salt. They told me that’s a Jenn thing, not a Jamaican thing. I reject that.) When I transitioned to a vegan lifestyle, I still craved the familiar textures and taste of meat. I wanted to live in alignment with the compassion I feel towards all human and non-human animals and I wanted to do so in as decadently delicious a way as possible. I am not an “Or” girl. Things are very seldom “this” or “that” for me. I’m more an AND girl. I want “this” and “that.” If I were to be assigned a super-hero symbol, it would be the ampersand (&). So, compassionate deliciousness is my thing.

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Chef Jenn demoing her Jerk Bbq Jackfruit Slider at Central Florida Veg Fest 2016. Image courtesy of Syed.

The young, green jackfruit often sold in cans soaked in brine or water has the uncanny (see what I did there? I said “cans” then “uncanny”. So, it’s funny because…oh never mind!) ability to transform its texture into something remarkably similar to pulled pork consistency. Texture, check! Add to that, jackfruit readily absorbs spices and seasonings and it is the perfect vehicle for a plant-based barbecue pulled “pork” sandwich. Flavor, check! I’ve found the earthy spiciness of jerk paste beautifully complements the smoky, sweetness of barbecue sauce, so I often use them together.

You can usually find canned Jackfruit at your local Asian market. Most grocery stores carry jerk paste, or you could make your own using this recipe.

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Part of the demo audience at Central Florida Veg Fest 2016 where Chef Jenn demoed her Jerk Bbq Jackfruit Slider. Image courtesy of Syed.

Check out my delicious Jerk Barbecue Jackfruit Slider below. It goes perfectly with my creamy, slightly sweet, very tropical Pineapple Broccoli Slaw.

Irie up, dahling!

Print Recipe
Jerk Barbecue Pulled Jackfruit Sliders Recipe
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Jamaican
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet onion sliced thinly
  • 2 cans jackfruit young/green in water/brine
  • 2 tsp jerk paste
  • 1 cup your favorite bbq sauce
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 8 Slider buns
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Jamaican
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet onion sliced thinly
  • 2 cans jackfruit young/green in water/brine
  • 2 tsp jerk paste
  • 1 cup your favorite bbq sauce
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 8 Slider buns
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F or 205 degrees C.
  2. Remove jackfruit from can and drain. Gently shred the jackfruit with your hands, by pressing down. Remove seeds if desired. Pat dry. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Add oil and allow to heat for 30 seconds. Add onion and allow to soften – 3 to 5 mins.
  4. Add jackfruit, jerk paste, bbq sauce, agave nectar, and liquid smoke. Stir to combine. Cook jackfruit on stove top for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Transfer jackfruit to lightly oiled sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Toast buns. Pile on jackfruit on bun, top with pineapple slaw. Serve and enjoy!
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Print Recipe
Pineapple Broccoli Slaw
Course Sides
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 bag broccoli slaw (found in bagged salads section of grocery store)
  • 1 cup pineapple cored, and thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks green onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy Mayo (eg. Vegenaise or Just Mayo)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Course Sides
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 bag broccoli slaw (found in bagged salads section of grocery store)
  • 1 cup pineapple cored, and thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks green onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy Mayo (eg. Vegenaise or Just Mayo)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine broccoli slaw, pineapple and green onion.
  2. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together mayo, sour cream, vinegar, sugar and celery seed. Pour dressing over pineapple broccoli mix. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper as needed.
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