You don't know Jackfruit.

The first time I had jackfruit was a few years back at a vegan restaurant in St. Louis: jackfruit nachos with a butternut squash "cheese" and cashew sour cream. It was legit, and now that Trader Joe's is carrying jackfruit in a can, all of my lazy-home cook dreams are finally coming true.

Don't get me wrong, I really do love to take to the kitchen for a full on day of gourmet cooking every once in a while; I've been known to make homemade gnocchi and the like... but those days, as magical as they may be, are few and far between.

In general, I'm a "find-all-the-ways-I-can-to-cut-corners-and-speed-this-process-up" kind of home chef. (I also long ago gave up on writing down what I do in the kitchen. I've been told I should wear a GoPro while cooking because the recipes I share are usually a result of me trying desperately to recreate something I intuitively whipped up. In order to get this taco recipe down for you, I've had to make jackfruit tacos three times. Note: It was well worth the sacrifice.)

A real quick breakdown on what jackfruit is: a fruit that grows on Asian trees, jackfruit looks like a big ol' spiky dino egg, in my opinion. (I know, I'm very scientific.) It's high and fiber and super drought resistant, and, as it has been growing abundantly in Asia for quite some time, various companies have found ways to monetize this mega crop, providing exportation and revenue for the countries who have previously had way too much jackfruit and not enough demand.

Because it’s so high in fiber, jackfruit is a great addition to the plate, to help satiate appetites and keep bodies healthy. In Burma, for instance, jackfruit aficionados, began their meals with jackfruit to improve their digestion of foods to come. Jackfruit also contains iron, potassium, and calcium. Low in fat, too, jackfruit is versatile to cook with. Use jackfruit to make a delicious “pulled pork” sandwich, jackfruit tacos, or even a curry jackfruit chili.
— The Jackfruit Company
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Challenge accepted.

Jackfruit is often described as a "food of the future" and an "excellent meat replacement" It's one of those foods that is pegged as "healthy" and "nutrient dense" and is typically accompanied with #wholefoodplantbased on social media.

I'd like to take this opportunity to provide you with The Soul Food Project Definition of Nutrient Dense (which is pulled from my upcoming book): Nutrient dense is the best phrase I can think of to describe food that is the opposite of the nutrient lacking Standard American Diet, but there was a period of time in which I found the phrase very triggering. If "nutrient dense" was the only concern, couldn't we all just eat bricks of nutrition, with the perfect macros, micros, minerals, and vitamins for our individuals bodies issued to us on the daily? Then we wouldn't have to worry about WHAT we're eating or HOW we're getting essential fuel into our bodies?

That sounds awful. "Here, friend. Enjoy this solid brick of nutrient dense food! Don't forget to wash it down with some water."

This is why The Soul Food Project's definition of "nutrient dense" looks like this:

Nutrients —> Nutrition —> Nourishing —> Nurturing

Nutrients are great, but there's actually science that points to the fact that you won't get all of the nutrients out of your food if you aren't enjoying it.

So nutrient dense encompasses The Soul Food Project definition of health: love the food you eat. live the life you love. ditch guilt and regret. feed your body. fuel your soul. happiness at the heart of healthfulness.

With all that said, let me share this jackfruit taco recipe with you so you can enjoy Taco Tuesday in a new way, if you so choose.

Jackfruit Tacos

 
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Serves: 4
Cook Time: 45 minutes

Components

Jackfruit Mushroom filling
Cannellini "Refried" Beans
Guacamole (you can do this with my mango guacamole, too, which is super legit)
Corn tortillas (really whatever tortillas you like. Or serve this over tortilla chips. Or as a salad. So many options)
Rice

Ingredients

Jackfruit Mushroom filling
2 tbsp high heat oil
1- 20 oz can Green Jackfruit
8 - 10 oz sliced mushrooms (white or baby bella, your choice)
Yellow Onion, sliced in crescent moon or diced (your preference on amount and slice; I love onion and will use up to 1 cup sliced onion... but fully recognize not every digs onion as much as I do. Do you, babe.)
Taco seasoning (pre-bought or make your own recipe included below)

Rice
1 cup rice (Louisiana popcorn rice is super delightful, but just pick your favorite)
Cilantro
Salt
Lime oil or squeeze of fresh lime

"Refried" Cannellini Beans
1-2 tbsp high heat oil
2- 15 oz cans cannellini beans
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes (1/2 - 1/8 tsp, depending on if you like spicy)
Pinch cayenne (1/4 - 1/8 tsp, depending on if you like spicy)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Additional garlic powder to taste if you're into it
2-4 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped

Optional toppings:

Arugula (love me some greens with my tacos)
Jicama
Pickled jalapeno
Shredded cheese

Directions

  1. Bring 2 cups of lightly salted water to a boil.
    1. Add rice, bring back to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover.  Cook for the amount of time indicated. [Check your rice packaging for cooking length (varies by type), but if it's popcorn rice, it'll only take about 15-20 min.]
    2. Stir in lime juice/lime oil (love the  key lime avocado oil from Red Stick Spice Co) and cilantro
  2. While your rice is cooking, get those beans going.
    1. Add 1-2 tablespoons of a high heat oil (coconut, grapeseed, avocado, ghee, etc) to a sauce pan and bring it to medium heat; saute 2-3 cloves of minced garlic until slightly browned (be careful as they can burn relatively quickly).
    2. Rinse and drain your beans (until water runs clear and the bubbles disappear), and place in a bowl with seasonings (start with the lowest amount indicated, and add to taste).
    3. Mix well, and then using a fork, potato masher, or the back of a spoon, mash your beans until they look like refried beans.
    4. Cook on stove top to warm.
    5. Once warmed, add olive oil until desired consistency is reached. Add in cilantro.
  3. Make your jackfruit taco filling:
    1. Bring high heat oil to warm over medium high heat, add onions and saute until clear and beginning to brown. (about 2 min)
    2. While those are cooking, rinse your jackfruit. Pat dry. Add jackfruit to onions and begin to saute over medium heat. Stir intermittently and allow the jackfruit to soften. Using two forks, pull the jackfruit apart (similar to pulled pork).
    3. Add desired amount of taco seasoning (start with 1 tbsp, you can always add more).
    4. Saute onions and jackfruit for 5 minutes, then add your mushrooms. Cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally
    5. Taste and add additional seasonings (garlic/salt) to your liking
  4. If you like to warm your tortillas, you can pop em in the oven for 5 minutes at 400; otherwise, nows the time to load up your tacos.
  5. Load her up. (Sometimes I put the rice and beans IN my taco, sometimes on the side. You really and truly can't go wrong.)

Optional Homemade Extras

The Taco Seasoning

Note:  This will make a big batch of taco seasoning that you can use for many Taco Tuesdays!  Just store it in an airtight container, and this will save you from spending extra dollars and eating mystery ingredients from the prepackaged seasonings.

1/4 cup chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp + 1 tsp black pepper

Mix 'em all together in a small bowl and store in an airtight container.

The Guac

Note:  I prepare my guacamole intuitively, so I don't have an exact recipe.  This recipe is a general guide to follow, though I always taste as I go.  Avocados come in all shapes and sizes, and this affects the balance with all of your other ingredients.

2 ripe avocados
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 jalapeno, diced (seeded, if you don't want it too spicy)
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 tbsp lime juice or apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp - 1 tsp cilantro (I like a lot of cilantro, but some people aren't big fans)
salt to taste

In a bowl, mash your avocados with either the tines of a fork or a potato masher (I like mine chunky!).  Incorporate the rest of your ingredients and perform a taste test to see what needs a little oomph.

Brittany KrigerComment