In my family, Taco Tuesdays are an institution. None of us would dare miss an occasion to sit around the family table and wait hungrily for our chance to fill our bellies with our favorite weekly treat.
Personally, I'm not picky. I'll take my tacos however I can get them: fish, pork, chicken, steak and even vegetarian—I love them all. But when I first heard about substituting meat for fruit in my beloved tacos, I was more than a little skeptical.
Jackfruit is a southeast Asian superfruit that is used in everything from savory curries to sweet desserts. It's also been making a splash in the vegan/vegetarian community for its ability to mimic both the look and texture of shredded meat. The fact that this fleshy fruit is also incredibly healthy and fairly inexpensive made me more than a little interested in testing it out.
Last week, I decided to take a trip to my local Trader Joe's to grab a few cans of their brined jackfruit. While I was there I also picked up a box of hard shells and other ingredients that I would ordinarily use to make tacos.
When I got the cans of jackfruit opened, I was a little intimidated. The fruit came submerged in watery liquid and looks a bit like chopped-up bleached pineapple wedges. I immediately began second guessing my choice to try out jackfruit. But once I decided to cook them the way my mom makes her famous pulled pork tacos—with diced onions, garlic and taco seasonings—everything started to come together.
I was surprised when, after a few moments in a simmering skillet, the jackfruit began to shred apart and more closely resemble the meat I most look forward to eating every Tuesday. This is a vegan and vegetarian-friendly meal where I seriously couldn't tell that I wasn't actually eating meat. On top of that, this entire dish came together in just under 30 minutes making this the perfect recipe to reach for for a quick, delicious weekday dinner.
Spicy Jackfruit Tacos
1 teaspoon canola oil
½ cup yellow onions, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 can jackfruit or about 2 cups, drained
¼ cup canned green chilies
2 tablespoons of taco seasoning, (we used Trader Joe’s Version)
1 cup water
4 hard shell tacos
Optional: salsa garnish and lime wedges
Heat medium sized skillet. Add oil, onion and garlic. Cook until onion and garlic have started to brown slightly, about 5 minutes.
Add jackfruit, green chilies, taco seasoning and 1 cup of water. Cover and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
Remove skillet from heat. Using a wooden spoon, mash jackfruit until it starts to break apart and become shredded.
Serve jackfruit in a taco shell topped with salsa and fresh squeezed lime juice.