During a recent Girls Night Out with my bestie, we dined at Sage Vegan Bistro in the LA neighborhood, Echo Park. What a gem! A proper restaurant review will be posted soon, but the more I think about it, the more I crave one of their jackfruit tacos.
To be honest, one of the things I miss most about eating meatless is Mexican food. Since I’m weird about most cheeses, quesadillas and enchiladas are not dining options for me, and my neighborhood hole-in-the-hole taqueria doesn’t offer veggie fajitas.
Have no fear! On Taco Tuesday (or any other day), I can easily prepare carnitas tacos made with one of my favorite ingredients: jackfruit. This tropical fruit is used in many Filipino dishes my mom used to prepare for me – mostly the sweet ones – so it was fun transforming this versatile ingredient into a savory taco filling.
For this recipe, it is important to use green jackfruit as it has not yet ripened into its sweet glory. Canned green jackfruit (in water or brine) can be found at Asian supermarkets and sometimes in the international aisle of your local grocery store.
Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos
Adapted from Chad Sarno
2-20 oz cans green jackfruit, drained and rinsed well
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp chipotle powder
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp dried coriander
¼ tsp cinnamon
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp black pepper
1 c vegetable stock, low sodium
1 ½ tsp oregano, fresh minced
¼ c orange juice
1 lime, juiced
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 bay leaves
1 chipotle chili, in adobo sauce, minced
2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
Sea salt to taste
Strain and rinse the jackfruit well. Place in mixing bowl and break into small pieces.
To prepare marinade, mix all ingredients, except for olive oil and diced onions. Refrigerate for one hour. After one hour, remove jackfruit from marinade and set both aside.
In a deep pan, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add onions and stir until caramelized. Add jackfruit and stir until it begins to stick to pan. Next, lower heat to medium and add marinade. When it begins to simmer, decrease heat to low-medium and cook covered for 20 minutes. During this time, stir the jackfruit every few minutes, while also shredding the jackfruit with a potato masher or fork.
Once all the marinade has evaporated, your jackfruit carnitas as ready. Serve with warm corn tortillas, sliced avocado and chopped parsley.