Insider’s Viewpoint: Try This Meat Alternative for National Nutrition Month: Jackfruit
Every year during March, nutrition professionals around the country celebrate National Nutrition Month to help promote the role food plays in a healthy lifestyle. This year, the theme is “Put your Best Fork Forward.” Part of following a better-for-you lifestyle is incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet. This month, to celebrate National Nutrition Month, pick out a new fruit or vegetable during your next grocery store visit. You could even try a more exotic variety like dragon fruit or even jackfruit.
Ever seen a giant fruit that is double the size of a watermelon sitting in the produce section? You’re probably looking at a jackfruit, the largest tree fruit in the world, which can sometimes reach up to 100 pounds in weight! Once you cut into a jackfruit, you’ll find a sweet flavored fruit with a somewhat musky smell and large kidney-shaped seeds inside.
Jackfruit is growing in popularity with people following a plant-based diet because of its meat-like texture. Jackfruit can be used in different recipes as a meat alternative and can fool even the most devout meat-eater. Besides being a great alternative to meat, jackfruit is also packed with great nutrition. This fruit is a good source of protein, potassium, and B Vitamins and contains only 95 calories for ½-cup serving.
You can find jackfruit fresh during the months of March, April and May or year round in the canned fruit section. When selecting a jackfruit, pick one that gives a little bit when pressed. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week. Looking to be a little bit more adventurous with the produce in your shopping cart? Try this great jackfruit taco recipe for dinner tonight!
Spicy Chipotle Garlic Jackfruit Tacos
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 40 mins
For the Spicy Jackfruit:
- 1 20 oz can of young green Jackfruit in brine, not ripe jackfruit in sugar syrup
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced or chopped
- 1 or 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 tbsp adobo sauce (use less or more to heat preference)
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 2 Tbsp ketchup
- ½ tsp ancho chili powder
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp oregano
- 1¼ cup water, divided
- salt to taste
- soft tacos or tortillas
- avocado or guacamole
- shredded lettuce
- sour cream or salsa
- Drain the jackfruit. Add to a saucepan with 3 cups of water, bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 10 to 11 minutes. Drain, shred with a fork and keep aside. (You can skip this step and simmer the jackfruit in the sauce longer.) Shred the jackfruit pieces midway during simmering when softened at Step 6.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt and cook until translucent. Stir occasionally. About 4 minutes.
- Blend chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, garlic cloves, ketchup, ancho chili, black pepper, cumin, coriander, oregano, a with ¼ cup of water until smooth.
- Add the blended sauce to the onions and cook until the sauce thickens and smells roasted. Stir occasionally. About 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add the shredded jackfruit, 1 cup water and salt. Mix well. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir, reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the sauce reduces and the jackfruit picks up the sauce flavor, 15 minutes or more. Taste and adjust salt, heat and sweet.
- Heat tortillas on a skillet or grill, add jackfruit. add lettuce or sprouts or greens of choice. Add avocado or guacamole, salsa or vegan sour cream and serve.
Recipe Credit: Vegan Richa
Karleigh Jurek, RD, LD