The 'New' Street Taco: The Mostly Vegan's Jackfruit Tacos Recipe
Guest blogger, The Mostly Vegan, serves up a tasty jackfruit tacos recipe in this must-try dish - packing in the flavor while watching waistlines? We call that a win-win. Try these delicious street tacos (vegan & gluten-free!) at your next gathering paired with a spicy cocktail to truly wow guests!
Tacos, tacos, tacos! What's not to like? Slow cooked meats simmered in a myriad of smoky spices, wrapped up in a warm flour tortilla, and topped with creamy sauces and melted cheese. I'll say it again, what's not to like?!
Well, a lot actually.
Specifically meats loaded with fat (and I'm not talking about 'healthy fats'), and those well-known digestive disruptors, dairy and gluten… It's enough to put a damper on any Taco Tuesday.
Now, everybody calm down, because no one is taking away your tacos.
Rather swapping out the “not so good for you” stuff with... well, plants, but without sacrificing taste, of course! A fairly tall order, but completely doable when we bring in our plant food secret weapon: Jackfruit.
It's the true story of a humble looking fruit (with a heart of gold A.K.A. a kick-ass nutritional profile – you can read the full benefits of jackfruit here) that, when cooked just right and gussied up with the perfect blend of spices, is a dead ringer for all types of meat dishes. It's especially impressive at impersonating pork in taste and texture. Unripe jackfruit has very little flavor of its own making it the perfect blank canvas for creating in the kitchen. Because let's face it, an impressive nutritional profile doesn't mean jack (get it?!) if it doesn’t taste good.
Which is why jackfruit is so amazing.
Once you remove the seeds (don't throw them away, they're protein packed and make a great stand alone snack when roasted) and shred your canned young jackfruit, it's primed for culinary greatness of the taco variety!
Browned in a skillet and simmered in essential taco seasonings, then served in corn tortillas with a squeeze of lime, a drizzle of dairy-free cashew crema, and a sprinkle of onion and cilantro, these jackfruit carnitas tacos will leave you satisfied and wondering why you didn't ditch the meat long ago. Think of this recipe as the jumping off point for endless 'healthy' taco creations.
Top your veg-friendly street tacos with chopped tomatoes for some added sweetness, quick pickled carrots and radishes for a tangy twist, purple cabbage slaw for some serious color play, or even a mango and avocado salsa for a fruity twist.
Taco cravings satisfied and waistlines left intact? Taco Tuesdays just got a whole lot better!
carnitas-style Jackfruit Tacos recipe
Prep time: 2-3 hours | Cook time: 25 minutes
Serving size: Makes up to 8 tacos
2x 20 ounce cans of young jackfruit in water * (see Author's Note)
8x 5-inch corn tortillas
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 white onion, diced
A handful cilantro, roughly chopped
Lime wedges for serving
For the 'Spice Mix'
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
For the 'Cashew Crema'
1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked for 2 - 24 hours
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup water
FOR THE CASHEW CREMA
Add drained cashews, apple cider vinegar, salt, and water to a high speed blender. Using the variable setting, start on low and gradually increase the speed until you reach the highest setting. Continue to blend on high until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
FOR THE TACOS
Drain jackfruit and squeeze out as much water as possible. Remove jackfruit seeds and using your hands, shred jackfruit. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of shredded jackfruit.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add jackfruit to pan and cook until jackfruit begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add spice mix to pan along with 1/2 cup of water. Stir mixture to evenly coat jackfruit with spices. Continue to cook until water is completely absorbed and jackfruit begins to brown and get crispy on the edges, 10 - 12 minutes.
To serve, warm corn tortillas in a skillet over medium heat for 30 seconds on each side. Divide jackfruit between tacos. Squeeze lime juice over tacos and top with cashew crema, cilantro, and onion. Enjoy!
PRO TIP: Kick your party up a notch, and pair these carnitas-style jackfruit tacos with a signature, cold-pressed Jalapeno Spicy Margarita ... your guests won't want to leave! See that margarita recipe in full here.
*Author Note: DO NOT SUBSTITUTE WITH JACKFRUIT CANNED IN HEAVY SYRUP. If you can only find jackfruit in brine, rinse jackfruit in water before shredding and reduce your amount of salt in spice mix.
Kristie Williams-Yowell is a lover of all things food, most importantly eating it, but also cooking, writing about, and photographing plant-based meals dreamt up in her SoCal kitchen. Find out what she’s cooking up this week over at The Mostly Vegan or on Instagram @themostlyvegan.