If you’ve been sleeping on jackfruit, allow us to introduce you to your favorite new ingredient for meat replacement, the jackfruit pulled pork.
There are a variety of creative meat substitutes on the market today, from the classic tofu to something as simple as mushrooms. Thanks to its unique texture and subtly sweet taste, jackfruit is quickly becoming one of the most popular options, especially for making vegan pulled pork. Besides being a cruelty-free alternative, it also has zero saturated fats. What’s not to love?
Curious about how to prepare and reap the rewards of jackfruit? Here’s everything you need to know.
Why is Jackfruit the Best for Vegan Pulled Pork?
Many of today’s convenient meat alternatives are highly processed. While those products are handy in a pinch, we dig that jackfruit is such a healthy, natural option. You can buy it unaltered from your produce section. If you’d rather not do the slicing up yourself, it’s also available in packages or cans.
It’s no surprise that a fruit contains high levels of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. What really makes jackfruit stand out among other fruits is the 3 grams of protein per cup. With only 155 calories per cup, jackfruit delivers a solid nutrient per calorie ratio.
Thanks to the high vitamin C, fiber, and potassium content, jackfruit fights inflammation and illness, including heart disease. With a lower glycemic index score than many other fruits, it’s also an ideal choice for those looking to manage their blood sugar levels.
Finally–there’s just something about the versatile texture of jackfruit that makes mimicking pulled pork easy. With the right arrangement and seasoning, you can impress even your most skeptical friends.
How to Prepare Jackfruit Pulled Pork
We’re not going to lie… there’s a bit of a learning curve to preparing an actual jackfruit. The prickly fruit is large, with the average weight being between 10-25lbs. Once you slice it open, it releases a sticky sap, so you’ll probably want to use gloves. There’s also a fruity, musky aroma that not everyone loves at first whiff.
When shopping for a ripe jackfruit, look for one that’s more yellowish than green. It should give slightly under gentle pressure, similar to a ripe avocado.
You can boil your jackfruit beforehand to make it more malleable, or just jump right in. If you’d like to see a visual first, there are plenty of YouTube videos showcasing different ways to approach the process.
Tip: Coat your knife with cooking oil before digging in. This will help prevent the fruit from constantly sticking to your knife.
To begin, cut the fruit in half lengthwise. Either continue slicing in long segments or quarter the fruit. Separate the seeds and save them for future use because they are edible and nutritious. Once you remove the white core from the middle, it’s easier to pull back the fleshy fruit parts from the skin.
Once you’ve removed everything you don’t want and retrieved your fruit, the sky is the limit. You can make vegan jackfruit pulled pork sandwiches, bowls, pizza, “sloppy joes,” or toss it on a salad. It’s also a tasty and filling snack on its own!
Our Jackfruit Recommendations
Ready to experiment with this adaptable ingredient? While you can pick up the fruit and carve it up yourself, it’s faster (and considerably less sticky) to purchase ready-made products. Here are our top picks for making vegan pulled pork jackfruit.
Highest in Protein
Morning Star Farms Veggie Meals Starters Pulled Pork
Looking for a lightly seasoned, ready to go jackfruit product? Try the Veggie Meals Starter Pulled Pork. It stands out from our other picks with a whopping 29g of protein per 100g! You can make it in a microwave or skillet, though Morning Star Farms recommends using a microwave.
Highest in Iron
Edward & Sons Organic Unseasoned Young Jackfruit Pieces
Native to southern India, these Unseasoned Young Jackfruit Pieces contain no preservatives or additives. In addition to being high in iron and fiber, this jackfruit is low in calories with zero fats or sugars. Thanks to its unprocessed nature, it also keeps that inherent brown color.
Native Forest Organic Young Jackfruit
Interested in the convenience of a canned option? Try this Organic Young Jackfruit. It’s sustainably farmed in Sri Lanka and approved by the Non-GMO Project. It’s high in fiber and iron, has zero fats or sugars, and is low in calories. However, being a canned product, it’s also the highest in sodium.
The Jackfruit Company BBQ Jackfruit
As the package says, this BBQ Jackfruit is “jackfruit + seasoning, that’s it.” They use tomato and mesquite for the sweet and smoky flavor. It’s handy for a quick addition to your sandwich, rice bowl, or even pizza.
The Jackfruit Company Smoked Pulled Jackfruit
Another option from The Jackfruit Company, this Smoked Pulled Jackfruit is cooked slowly over hickory wood chips. It has enough seasoning to be delicious on its own, though you can also pair it with your favorite sauce.
Upton’s Naturals Bar-B-Que Jackfruit
For a pre-seasoned product, check out the Bar-B-Que Jackfruit. A little tip from their website: add sugar, agave, or maple syrup for a sweeter sauce. If spice is your thing, add a little hot sauce. If you love this brand but want an option with lower sodium and less sugar, check out the plain version below.
Upton’s Naturals Original Jackfruit
The Original Jackfruit is an entirely unseasoned product, so you can spice it up however you prefer. You can store it with or without refrigeration, but make sure to keep it in the fridge once you open it. Besides ranking lower in sodium and sugar than the flavored version, it’s also only 26 calories per 100g.
Jackfruit Pulled Pork Brands – Nutritional Value Comparison
Still Not sure which brand is the best for you? Check out the table below with all the nutritional values.
Have you experimented with jackfruit yet? If so, tell us what you think!