Jackfruit carnitas made with canned jackfruit, spices, orange juice and chipotle make a meaty vegan taco filling everyone will love.

A vegan take on the classic taco carnitas, filled with spiced jackfruit. #vegan #tacos #jackfruit

We recently got back from a weekend trip to the island to find ourselves with an empty fridge and very little in the way of groceries. Often on days like this, we opt for pantry heavy dishes like spaghetti or red lentil dahl.

But with the thermostat pushing 30° C, the desire to stand over a stove and cook is nonexistent. Digging through the canned goods and dried beans searching for something to make,  I came across a discounted can of jackfruit Adam had picked up at neighbourhood market and knew just the thing we were having for supper—jackfruit carnitas!

A vegan take on the classic taco carnitas, filled with spiced jackfruit. #vegan #tacos #jackfruit

To say we are a big taco eating family would almost be unjust. Tacos are something we eat weekly, sometimes 5 out of 7 days a week if we're on a roll. Adam will often spend an entire Sunday making up a big batch of mole for our communal potluck dinners.

Friends will bring homemade salsa and tortillas. And I'll make up a batch of these vegan jackfruit carnitas for myself and our vegetarian friend. We've even served this dish to our meat eating friends without telling them and they've been none the wiser.

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Ingredients

  • Jackfruit in water
  • Coconut oil
  • Dried oregano
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Smoked paprika
  • Ground coriander
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Orange
  • Beer or veggie broth
  • Chipotle in adobo
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Honey or maple syrup
  • Sea salt
A vegan take on the classic taco carnitas, filled with spiced jackfruit. #vegan #tacos #jackfruit

Method

To make the jackfruit carnitas, begin by rinsing the jackfruit well. Next, shred it until it looks like pulled meat. You can remove the seeds of you like (I know a lot or people don't like their texture), but I don't find them to be problematic.

Next, combine the oregano, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, coriander, and garlic powder in a bowl along with the shredded jackfruit.

A vegan take on the classic taco carnitas, filled with spiced jackfruit. #vegan #tacos #jackfruit

Toss to coat everything in the spice mixture.

Heat a medium heavy bottom frying pan to medium low.

Add 2 tsp. of coconut oil and the onion. Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, around 5-10 minutes.

Add the garlic and let cook for another minute.

A vegan take on the classic taco carnitas, filled with spiced jackfruit. #vegan #tacos #jackfruit

Next, place the jackfruit in the frying pan along with the orange juice, beer or broth, chipotles, and tomatoes. Cover and turn down to low. Let simmer for 20-25 minutes.

After 25 minutes have passed, add the remaining 2 tsp. coconut oil and maple syrup. Turn the heat up to medium and let the extra moisture evaporate and get a few crispy bits on jackfruit. This should only take 2 minutes or so.

A vegan take on the classic taco carnitas, filled with spiced jackfruit. #vegan #tacos #jackfruit

Tips + Notes

Jackfruit is an amazing fruit. Despite it's similar appearance to durian it has a neutral flavour that lends itself amazingly well to spices. While you can purchase it whole as a fresh fruit, it is difficult to process. I often opt for the cans instead (plus they make a great pantry item).

You should be able to find cans of the organic variety in most natural food stores (and I'm pretty sure Trader Joe's carries it too), but if money is an issue, most Chinese grocers sell conventional cans for around $1. Just be sure you're buying the type in water and not heavy syrup.

A vegan take on the classic taco carnitas, filled with spiced jackfruit. #vegan #tacos #jackfruit

Recipe

A vegan take on the classic taco carnitas, filled with spiced jackfruit. #vegan #tacos #jackfruit
Print Recipe
4.74 from 15 votes

Jackfruit Carnitas

What I love most about this dish is how pantry heavy it is. Besides the avocado, cilantro, and lime, most ingredients will often be kept on hand. Plus, it's one of those set it and forget it meals that takes 40 minutes to cook with only ten minutes of actual work. If you don't have time to make pickles (or they're not your thing), sautéing up some frozen (or fresh) corn, zucchini, and garlic with a little salt makes for a delicious veggie component.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Heavy bottom frying pan
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients

  • 1 can jackfruit in water not in syrup, 398 ml
  • 4 teaspoons coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ medium onion chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • Juice of ½ an orange
  • 1 cup beer or veggie broth
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced chipotle in adobo use 1 tbsp. which will be 1 pepper and sauce for mild-medium, and 2 tablespoon or 2 peppers and sauce for hot
  • ¼ cup diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt or to taste

To Serve

  • Quick pickled carrots cauliflower, cabbage, and shallots (optional but delicious)
  • Avocado
  • Warm corn tortillas
  • Cilantro
  • Lime

Instructions

  • Begin by rinsing the jackfruit well. Next, shred it until it looks like pulled meat. You can remove the seeds of you like (I know a lot or people don't like their texture), but I don't find them to be problematic.
  • Next, combine the oregano, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, coriander, and garlic powder in a bowl along with the shredded jackfruit.
  • Toss to coat everything in the spice mixture.
  • Heat a medium heavy bottom frying pan to medium low.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of coconut oil and the onion. Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, around 5-10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and let cook for another minute.
  • Next, place the jackfruit in the frying pan along with the orange juice, beer or broth, chipotles, and tomatoes. Cover and turn down to low. Let simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  • After 25 minutes have passed, add the remaining 2 teaspoons coconut oil and maple syrup. Turn the heat up to medium and let the extra moisture evaporate and get a few crispy bits on jackfruit. This should only take 2 minutes or so.
  • To serve, heat up some tortillas. Add a big dollop of jackfruit on each tortilla along with some pickles, cilantro, avocado, hot sauce and lime.

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