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Give your tacos something to be happy about! These Crispy Jackfruit Carnitas are full of flavor and made with strictly plants and spices! A healthy, delicious vegan filling for tacos, enchiladas, burritos and quesadillas and Burrito bowls! Perfect for Sunday meal prep! Video.
Many of you who come to the blog are requesting more plant-based recipes. Whether you are vegan or just trying to introduce more plants into your daily life – here is a simple fun recipe to try using canned jackfruit that you’ll be able to use in a variety of dishes throughout the busy work week!
Crispy Jackfruit Carnitas can be made ahead then used in like you would with taco meat- in quesadillas, these delicious jackfruit tacos, enchiladas or burrito bowls or Mexican breakfast bowls. And I’ve found this to be especially handy during the busy work week. Meal prep a batch on Sunday and you’ll find a hundred ways to use it during the week.
The best part? Crispy Jackfruit Carnitas are totally vegan ( and also bean-free!), only take 20 mins to make ( if that) and can keep up to 4 days in the fridge!
Watch How to make Crispy Jackfruit Carnitas! | 60-sec video
What is Jackfruit?
Jackfruit is a tropical fruit that grows in Southeast Asia, Brazil and parts of Africa. It is similar to breadfruit, and when young is quite mild and flavorless, best for using as a meat-substitute, and what is used when canned. Fresh jackfruit can grow up to 50lbs, one of the largest fruits on the planet. Jackfruit is high in fiber and very low in calories with a texture similar to pulled pork or shredded chicken. Again, perfect texture for a meat substitute!
Where to Buy Jackfruit?
You can find Jackfruit in the canned vegetable section of most grocery stores, or online. I like the Trader Joes Brand of canned Jackfruit.
How to Cook Jackfruit?
Jackfruit can be pan-seared, sauteed, simmered, or even roasted!
What does jackfruit taste like?
Unlike fresh jackfruit, canned Jackfruit is processed when it is unripe and still green- so even though it is a fruit, it has very little sweetness. It has a very mild flavor, with a subtle tanginess – perfect for soaking up all the flavors it is cooked with. A great candidate for this recipe!
What can you do with Jackfruit?
Because canned jackfruit is green, unripe and not very sweet it can be used in a multitude of savory ways in the kitchen.
Use it as a vegetarian “meat” substitute in curries, stews, tacos, or stir-fries! The most popular way to use jackfruit is to bathe it in BBQ sauce and use it in sandwiches!
Make sure to strain the jackfruit and cut it into thin smaller pieces, cutting through the tougher core.
Then wring out all the water using a kitchen towel. This is KEY!!! You want it as dry as possible to get it crispy! I would also encourage this with other recipes too, wringing it out gives it a better texture.
Give it a good wring and unwrap.
Isn’t it strange how much it looks like chicken?
To make the Jack fruit Carnitas, saute onion, garlic and jalapenos until fragrant and golden.
Add the jackfruit and salt and spice blend. Cook until crispy and deep in color. Doesn’t this look gooooooood???? Squeeze with lime juice.
Then use the Crispy Jackfruit Carnitas in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, bowls…. or refrigerate for the workweek to come.
More Jackfruit Recipes you may like:
I’m so excited for you try the jackfruit carnitas… and also very curious about what you will think about it!
Please leave your comments below!
Hope you are having a fabulous week.
Crispy Jackfruit Carnitas
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 2 cups 1x
- Category: Vegan, meal prep
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: Mexican
Crispy Jackfruit Carnitas a Mexican-inspired vegan recipe that can be used as a meat substitute in tacos, enchiladas, burritos or burrito bowls. Perfect for Sunday meal prep- this lasts 4 days in the fridge.
- 20 ounce can of Jackfruit, (packed in WATER not syrup), drained.
- 2 tablespoon olive oil ( divided )
- 1/2 a red onion, diced (one cup) or one fat shallot
- 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 1/2 a jalapeno, finely diced (add more or less depending on spice preference- this is medium spicy)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or Braggs liquid amino acid
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin ( whole seeds are nice too)
- 1 teaspoon dry Mexican Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, more for smokier
- 1 /2 teaspoon sugar ( to help caramelize)
- Drain the jackfruit and cut into very thin slices, slicing through the core, see photo.
- Place it in the middle of a kitchen towel, roll it up and wring it out very very firmly. Squeeze out as much water as you can. You should see quite a bit of liquid release.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil (save the other tablespoon for later) and saute the onion, garlic and jalapeno over medium heat until deeply golden and fragrant, about 5-6 minutes stirring often. Be patient here, this is where the flavor is. 🙂
- Add the jackfruit, and soy sauce and stir well and lower heat. This is where you’ll let the moisture cook-off even more- you want to get this fairly dry but without burning. So low heat, stirring occasionally, uncovered, 3-5 minutes.
- When it seems good and dry, add the salt, sugar and spices- chili powder, cumin, oregano smoked paprika, and add 1 tablespoon olive oil – stir-frying the spices and jackfruit a bit until jackfruit begins to caramelize crisp and deepen in color. It should smell amazing!
- Taste, and adjust salt and spice level ( feel free to add cayenne, ground chipotle or more smoked paprkita). For more tang, squeeze with lime, keeping in mind jackfruit has a natural tanginess, so taste it first.
- Use Jackfruit Carnitas in tacos, enchiladas, burrito or burrito bowls, breakfast bowls.
- Serving Size: ½ cup
- Calories: 169
- Sugar: 18.2 g
- Sodium: 566.3 mg
- Fat: 7.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 25.5 g
- Fiber: 2.5 g
- Protein: 2.8 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: jackfruit recipes, jackfruit carnitas, jackfruit tacos, how to cook jackfruit
This looks amazing! When I used to make carnitas I’d follow the Serious Eats recipe (https://www.seriouseats.com/no-waste-tacos-de-carnitas-with-salsa-verde-recipe) which adds loads of flavour – particularly adding oranges worked really well for me. Do you think adding in orange or OJ would work here or might it interact poorly with the jackfruit?
Give it a try! Let me know what you think!
I make these regularly and love them!!! Do you think I could swap out the jackfruit for seitan? I just made some seitan and thought of trying it in the recipe….
Yes I think that would taste great!
Tried the recipe with seitan. Kept everything the same except substituted Jackfruit with the shredded seitan. It was amazing!!
Yum! Great to hear and thanks for reporting back!
The only jackfruit recipe that has made me truly enjoy jackfruit! These were a hit!
Oh good! Great to hear!
Fantastic! These “carnitas” were a hit!
Can the carnitas be frozen?
Hi Maggie- I think they should freeze pretty well- but may lose their crispy texture. Flavors will still be there though. 😉