Jackfruit has been a player on the vegan scene for a while now... in my excitement late last year I bought a can from the Asian market near me but and until last month it has sat in the cupboard- forgotten! Oops..
A few weeks ago I came across that lonesome can and figured it was time for some experimentation. After a little research and realising the true versatility of jackfruit, I then put a call out for some other wonderful vegan bloggers to contribute their delicious recipes too.
Since jackfruit in this context is often used a meat substitute but as it's a fruit has a low protein count in itself, I would typical advise teaming it with beans/nuts/tofu to create a nicely balanced dish.
So here you have it, my own jackfruit 'buddha bowl' recipe creation and lots more ideas from some vegan friends. If this doesn't inspire you to go buy a can and have a play then I don't know what will! :-)
Perfect for the summer months, it famously makes a great 'pulled pork' style topping/filling. I have also tried freezing it once marinaded and part cooked, it worked really well- simply defrost enough to 'flake up' then grill or bake for a few minutes until the edges are a little crispy and serve. In the future I will definitely be making up a big batch this way!
Final top tip- make sure you buy the young jackfruit in brine (not syrup!) this also works much better using canned jackfruit not fresh (which is handy as fresh is harder to come buy in Europe and it can weigh up to 100 pounds!) Many of the recipes online call for chopping out the centre 'core' of the jackfruit pieces, but I didn't both as I felt it would mean discarding quite a lot of the fruit and the core seemed quite soft and so I simply chopped it up well- but feel free to discard if you prefer.
Recipe: BBQ Jackfruit Buddha Bowl
1 can young jackfruit in brine or water (not syrup) - approx 1 1/2 cups
3 sun dried tomatoes- chopped (optional)
1 small onion- finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves- crushed
1 tbs coconut oil (or other oil of choice)
1 can tinned chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato puree
2 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs molasses
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
pinch of cumin
1 tbs liquid smoke*
For building the 'buddha bowl' (or use whatever you have to hand)
1 can black beans- cooked
2-3 large handfuls fresh coriander
2 avocados- sliced
A big bunch of sautéed greens of choice- I used chard (use lots as green wilt so much!)
Sprinkling of pine nuts (optional- I just fancied some!)
Note: when I first made this I did not have any liquid smoke, I left it out and it still tasted great. It juts adds some extra BBQ-ey depth of flavour ;-)
Sauté the sun dried tomatoes, the onion and garlic in a medium pan until softened. Meanwhile prepare the jackfruit (cut out core if desired) by 'flaking it up' a little. Add all BBQ sauce ingredients and jackfruit to the sauce pan and simmer for 15 mins.
Remove from the heat and allow jackfruit mix to sit and marinade for an hour. (You could also marinade for longer or overnight by allowing to cool, covering and placing in the fridge). This would also be the point at which you freeze any extra portions.
Lay the jackfruit mix in a thin even layer on a lined oven tray (or two) and bake at approx. 160C for approx 20 mins until slightly crispy at the edges.
Meanwhile prepare the remaining components of the buddha bowl ready to serve along with the BBQ jackfruit.
Jackfruit recipe creations from the vegan community! Thank you to all those who contributed ;-) (click the pics to jump to the original recipes)
Here are a few other jackfruit recipe/cooking technique inspirations from around the web that provided me with inspiration when I began my experiments:
How to cut, open, prepare and eat fresh jackfruit - video (if you don't want to use canned!)