I should probably preface this post by stating, I am not a Vegan. If it's grassfed -give it to me, but I can appreciate a flavorful vegan meal every now and then. I'm a proponent for maintaining a balanced diet, so when I discovered jackfruit I was ecstatic. A vegan meat alternative that actually tastes good?! Heck yes!
Jackfruit? What's that?
You're probably wondering what this stuff is. No worries, I'll tell you. It's the largest fruit that grows on trees and when it's harvested unripened it has a very meat-like taste. I read somewhere that it's nicknamed "tree-mutton." It's "tree-meat." Literally.
In the past, I've prepared jackfruit with store-bought BBQ sauce and it tasted almost identical to pulled pork. For this recipe, I was on a mission to make it taste similar to Chipotle carnitas. With a little trial and error, I've created the perfect carnita-esque vegan taco filling which also happens to be Paleo friendly and Whole30 compliant. It's so good, you won't even miss the meat!
How to Make Vegan, Paleo and Whole30 Jackfruit Carnitas
For this recipe, I used two cans of organic young jackfruit. You can find it pretty easily at health food stores and on Amazon. Make sure to drain and rinse the fruit before preparing (I have no idea why -that's just what the can said). The rest of the recipe is pretty straightforward. Mix the spices, heat all of the ingredients through, broil and top with your your favorite taco fixings. It's really that simple. I served the carnitas Whole30 style (in lettuce-wraps) and topped them with pico de gallo, avocado, cilantro and lime juice. Every bite was delicious! If you're not on a strict Paleo diet or on a round of Whole30, I'm sure wrapping them up in corn tortillas would be just as wonderful!
Check out the full recipe below! If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to drop me a line in the comments or message me on any of my social media outlets. I love hearing from you guys! I also really, really, really like seeing your creations, so don't forget to tag me in your posts and use the hashtag #paleoishkristaeats!
PIN NOW! MAKE LATER!
Vegan, Paleo & Whole30 Jackfruit Carnitas
For the seasoning
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
For the carnitas
- 2 14 ounce cans organic young jackfruit
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion thinly sliced
- 1 head of bibb lettuce
For the toppings (optional)
- pico de Gallo
- fresh lime juice
- Mix all seasoning ingredients in a small bowl.
- Drain and rinse jackfruit. Pat dry.
- Heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking.
- Add onion to the pan and cook until softened and fragrant (3 minutes).
- Add tomato paste, seasoning blend and ¼ cup of water to the pan. Stir to combine.
- Add jackfruit to the pan and begin breaking up the larger chunks of jackfruit as much as possible.
- Add another ¼ cup of water to the pan, bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer (covered) for 10 minutes (stirring occasionally).
- While the jackfruit is simmering, preheat broiler.
- Once most of the liquid has evaporated from the jackfruit, spoon the jackfruit on to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Place baking sheet under broiler and broil for 5 - 8 minutes (or until jackfruit pieces begin to slightly char).
- Serve jackfruit carnitas in lettuce wraps or taco shell of your choice and top with your favorite taco fixings! Enjoy!