Jackfruit Tacos

published Feb 1, 2023
Jackfruit Tacos Recipe

This recipe essentially transforms a can of young jackfruit into a plant-based taco without too much effort.

Serves4 to 6

Makes12 tacos

Prep35 minutes

Cook15 minutes

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Jackfruit tacos plated
Credit: Laura Rege

Lots of jackfruit taco recipes call for stewing. But I like to sear the jackfruit in the skillet for more texture and flavor. Then I stick with something we all know and love: taco seasoning! It adds a particularly meat-y note to the plant-based taco stuffer to make it even more satisfying.

If you’ve never had jackfruit, you might wonder just how good of a meat substitute it really is. And considering that everyone in my household thought these were delicious chicken tacos, I can say confidently confirm that it is indeed a wonderful alternative.

What is Jackfruit? 

Jackfruit is a tropical fruit grown mostly in Asia, Africa, and South America. The outside has a bumpy shell with an inside made up of stringy flesh. You can also buy it in cans — it will last in the pantry and you don’t have to worry about prepping the fruit. 

Unripe, green, or young jackfruit has a neutral, not sweet, flavor and a fruit that sort of pulls just like meat, making it a perfect meat substitute in savory dishes like pulled pork or shredded chicken or beef.

Credit: Laura Rege

How to Work with Canned Jackfruit

  1. Drain the jackfruit. In this recipe, you’ll start by draining the canned jackfruit. Too much juice and the jackfruit will take forever to get browned in the skillet! Put the fruit in a towel and squeeze out the extra juice.
  2. Pull the jackfruit. Next, pull the jackfruit into bite-sized shreds, using two forks, just like you would if you were making pulled pork.
  3. Sear the jackfruit. Finally, cook it just like you would ground beef or chicken. Get a skillet hot, add a bit of oil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is golden. Our finish includes a touch of orange juice and a flavorful homemade taco seasoning. 

Tips for Serving Jackfruit Tacos

  • Serve it like you would your favorite tacos. This jackfruit taco filling is delicious scooped into tortillas or crispy taco shells with your favorite taco condiments. Think: sour cream, sliced radish, cilantro, hot sauce, and more. 
  • Don’t skip the smashed avocado. (Unless it’s really not your thing.) Not only is avocado totally delicious, but it also helps hold all the shredded pieces of jackfruit and pico de gallo into the taco shell for a less messy way of eating.
  • Use store-bought pico de gallo. This recipe includes an easy pico de gallo recipe, but you can use prepared pico de gallo or swap in your favorite salsa instead.
  • Think beyond tacos. Enjoy the cooked jackfruit meat anyway you’d enjoy taco meat. For starters, try it in burritos, taco salads, or over pizza!

Jackfruit Tacos Recipe

This recipe essentially transforms a can of young jackfruit into a plant-based taco without too much effort.

Prep time 35 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes

Makes 12 tacos

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2

    medium roma tomatoes

  • 1/8

    medium red onion

  • 1/2

    medium jalapeño pepper

  • 1/4 medium bunch

    fresh cilantro

  • 2 to 3

    medium limes, divided

  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed

  • 2

    ripe large avocados (about 12 ounces total)

  • 2 teaspoons

    chili powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    onion powder

  • 1

    large navel orange (about 8 ounces)

  • 2 (14-ounce) cans

    young green jackfruit in water

  • 12

    small (about 5 1/2-inch) corn tortillas

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425ºF. Meanwhile, prepare the garnishes and taco filling.

  2. Prepare the following, adding each to the same medium bowl as you complete it: Core and seed 2 medium roma tomatoes; then finely chop (1 cup). Finely chop 1/8 medium red onion until you have 2 tablespoons. Stem and seed 1/2 medium jalapeño, then finely chop (about 1 tablespoon). Finely chop leaves and tender stems from 1/4 medium bunch cilantro until you have 2 tablespoons. Juice 1 medium lime until you have 1 tablespoon.

  3. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt and stir until combined. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed.

  4. Halve, seed, and scoop 2 large avocados until a second medium bowl. Juice the remaining 1 medium lime until you have 1 tablespoon of juice and add to the bowl. Add 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt and mash with a fork until mostly smooth and combined. Taste and season with more lime juice as needed.

  5. Place 2 teaspoons chili powder, 3/4 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a small bowl and stir to combine. Juice 1 large navel orange until you have 1/4 cup juice and place in a second small bowl.

  6. Drain 2 (14-ounce) cans young green jackfruit in water. Place the jackfruit in between clean kitchen towels, form into a bundle, and squeeze the excess liquid out. Using your fingers or 2 forks, break apart the chunks of jackfruit into bite-sized pieces.

  7. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the jackfruit and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown in spots, 6 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, stack 12 small corn tortillas (if they’re dry and brittle, spritz with some water before stacking) on a large sheet of aluminum foil and wrap completely in the foil. Place the packet directly on the oven rack and bake until warmed through, about 12 minutes.

  8. Add the orange juice and spice mixture to the jackfruit. Cook, stirring to coat everything in seasoning, until the orange juice is evaporated and the spices are fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

  9. To assemble the tacos, spread the avocado mixture onto the tortillas and top with the jackfruit. Spoon some of the pico de gallo over top. Serve with the remaining pico de gallo on the side.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The jackfruit filling can be made up to 5 days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container. The pico de gallo can be prepared and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight before serving. Rewarm the filling in the microwave.

Storage: Leftover jackfruit filling, pico de gallo, and avocado spread can be refrigerated in separate airtight containers for up to 5 days; press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the avocado spread before sealing the container to slow down the browning process.