Jackfruit is the New TOFU and BBQ Alternative for Vegans

Plant-based eating is on the rise across the world.

In fact, RecipeGuru reports that 53% of households now use plant-based meat alternatives regularly! With the shift towards plant-based lifestyles gaining popularity, there come creative new meat alternatives that are flavorful and healthy.

While tofu has been a vegetarian/vegan staple for many years, there is a new flagship ingredient in town when vegans are looking for a delicious meat-free BBQ. Enter, jackfruit. If you’ve been searching for the perfect barbacoa or pulled pork substitute, jackfruit is a dream come true. So, what is this mysterious fruit?

What is Jackfruit?

Jackfruit is hard to miss. Typically, green when young and yellow when mature, the fruit can weigh up to 110 pounds and grow up to 3ft long! With a spiky exterior texture (through not enough to cause injury), the Jackfruit is typically grown in Thailand, Australia, Africa, Brazil, and the Philippines.

Most people who see a Jackfruit in person are taken aback by the sheer size, though most grocery stores tend to shelve the smaller options. Jackfruit is full of antioxidants and higher in vitamins and minerals than most fruits. It’s packed with all the good stuff and may even prevent diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and stomach ulcers.

So, for all the benefits and flavor that you can expect from a jackfruit – there’s just one thing left to do:

How to Properly Butcher a Jackfruit

Preparing a fresh jackfruit is a little daunting but with the proper preparation and a lot of coconut oil, it’s definitely doable. Jackfruit has extremely sticky sap, so you want to take that into account during this process and wear clothes you don’t care about.

  1. Pick your jackfruit! You want a young jackfruit as a meat alternative so choose a green one.
  2. Ensure you have enough containers for all the “meat”, fruit, and seeds.
  3. Cover EVERYTHING in foil, parchment that has been taped down or an old tablecloth.
  4. Make sure you have a VERY sharp knife.
  5. Cover your butchering area, knife, and hands and arms in coconut oil.
  6. Begin VERY CAREFULLY cutting your jackfruit lengthwise with your hands in a safe position (remember, they’re slippery.)
  7. Remove the fruit (the little orange pouches) from the inside (these fruits taste just like juicy fruit gum and can be eaten raw).
  8. Remove the seeds from inside the fruit (be sure to save these as they can be roasted and eaten like potatoes later).
  9. Shred the inside of the jackfruit either with your hands or a fork (this will be the “meat).
  10. When you are finished butchering, discard the outside of the jackfruit and wash everything with a strong soap.
  11. Use your new meat alternative in your favorite BBQ recipes!

If butchering a jackfruit is not your style, try checking your local Asian market for canned jackfruit as an alternative. It tastes just as good, and it’s much easier to manage. Once you have your Jackfruit ready, check out a few of our favorites:

Try These Can’t Miss Jackfruit BBQ Recipes

Perfect for tacos, sandwiches, and flatbreads!

The best pulled pork alternative!

Try something new with this delicious BBQ pizza!

Nothing better than a full plate of expertly seasoned nachos!

Jackfruit is not only versatile but extremely healthy. It’s well worth experimenting with and will bring much joy to all who partake. Try pairing it with these exclusive Nikken ingredients:

  1. 2170 Shiitake Extract Powder: Naturally low in sodium and very savory, Nikken’s Shiitake Powders are allergen free and great for driving taste and lingering flavor.
  2. 7503 Umami Medley: Maximize taste through the umami synergy of Fermented Rice, Kombu and Shiitake in this popular Umami Medley.
  3. 5305 Traditional Soy Sauce Powder: During the fermentation process, protein molecules break down amino acids such as glutamate. The glutamates developed in Nikken’s Traditional Soy Sauce Powder activate taste receptors, triggering umami!

Nikken Foods has a variety of plant-based ingredients and vegan solutions to help you create the perfect food products. If you would like to sample a product or ask any questions, please reach out to our team today!