Eat Empowered

How to Prepare Jackfruit and Cook With This Tasty Meatless Protein Option

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If you’re trying to become more plant-based, jackfruit may be the meatless Monday hero you are looking for! Similar to tofu, its neutral flavor can make it a blank canvas for a wide range of sauces and ingredients. The texture also allows it to take on the same flavor profile as many meat dishes.  

Jackfruit  has a pretty impressive nutrient profile to boot—so let’s take a look!

Jackfruit Nutrition Facts

One cup of sliced, raw jackfruit provides about 150 calories, 3 grams of protein, 38 grams of carbohydrates, and 1 gram of fat. 

Jackfruit is an excellent source of vitamin C (about 25% of recommended daily value) and potassium (about 16% of daily value), as well as a fairly good amount of vitamin A, magnesium, copper and manganese. 

How to Prepare Jackfruit

Large and in charge, jackfruit can seem overwhelming at first glance. It’s prickly on the outside and can get as heavy at 120 pounds! 

Once the hard exterior is cracked open, you’ll find dark yellow, fleshy pods on the inside. Reminiscent of chestnuts, these pods can be eaten as is, but are definitely more palatable when cooked. When unripe and green in color, jackfruit is remarkably similar in texture to chicken, making it a great plant-based substitute for meat. The ripe fruit tastes better in sweet dishes, or when added to yogurt or oatmeal.  

When working with the jackfruit, it is best to use plastic gloves and cover your counter with parchment paper as things can get sticky. Jackfruit has a natural latex (sap) that can get stuck on your hands and requires some effort to remove it later on. 

Step-by-Step Instructions for Preparing Jackfruit: 

Step 1:  

Thoroughly wash jackfruit and place onto a parchment-lined cutting board. Cut off both ends of the fruit.

Step 2: 

Slice fruit vertically, cutting in half through the core. Slice each half into quarters.

Step 3: 

Stand each quarter on the flat side and slice away the white, sturdy and fibrous core. Repeat with remaining quarters and discard core. Slice each quarter into 3- to 4-inch wedges to easily work through the next steps. 

Step 4:

To get to the yellow edible fruit pods, use your hands to pull the pod away from the white fibers, completely removing it from the rind. You may want to coat your fingers in coconut oil to manage the sticky sap. 

Step 5: 

Remove the seeds inside the pod by splitting it along its natural seams. Remove seeds and reserve for roasting or boiling, if desired.

Step 6: 

Boil pods for 20-30 minutes, season and serve. When cooked, the flavor and texture is reminiscent of potatoes!

You can also purchase canned jackfruit if tackling the whole fresh version seems overwhelming! 

Join the Movement With These Tasty Jackfruit Recipes 

Ready to start testing out this vegan and vegetarian staple in recipes? We have a few delicious options to get you jumping on the jackfruit bandwagon. 

Vegan BBQ Pulled Jackfruit 

BBQ Pulled Jackfruit in a white heart-shaped bowl

(Image: Alphafoodie)

This recipe from Alpha Foodie uses fresh jackfruit (not canned) for a fresh take on pulled pork that you can add to a variety of meat-free dishes. Add it to tacos, sandwiches … and even pizzas!

 Tropical Jackfruit Salsa 

Tropical fruit Jackfruit Salsa in a ceramic bowl on a wooden table with sliced jackfruit on the side

(Image: The Fresh Market)

The Fresh Market grocery chain created this ridiculously good recipe that pairs jackfruit with pineapple, cucumber and red pepper for a refreshing salsa to pair with crispy tortilla or plantain chips.

Beer-Braised Jackfruit Enchiladas

Beer Braised Jackfruit Enchiladas in a bowl, top view

(Image: Home-cooked Roots)

Thanks in large part to the Instant Pot, this recipe by Home Cooked Roots is packed with flavor. Pressure cooking the jackfruit in a beer broth with green chiles and spices delivers a juicy jackfruit that’s a perfect base for this enchilada dish.

 Just top with your favorite salsa (maybe a certain tropical fruit salsa, or a salsa verde of your choice,) cilantro, and a little cheese and sour cream (vegan or dairy) for a delicious new entree that might join your regular rotation!  

(Image: Shutterstock)

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