Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos

Until today, jackfruit carnitas were a phenomenon I’d only encountered online.   In pictures, it seemed like the stringy texture of the cooked fruit mimicked authentic carnitas as well as any faux meat could.   I kept my eyes out for cans of jackfruit at every grocery store I visited for quite a while, but only saw the kind packed in sugary syrup.  One day I wandered into a new independent produce market, which happened to carry unsweetened jackfruit and a ton of other imported foodstuffs.  Sweet (or not sweet, rather).  As usual, I put the can away in my pantry only to forget about it for six months.

After eating at the greatest vegan mexican restaurant last night, I remembered the jackfruit that I’d stashed away an immediately got to work.

I didn’t exactly follow a recipe for the carnitas/sauce; I just decided to make do with the ingredients I had on hand. Nevertheless, the ‘carnitas’ were a delicious, spicy success.  Served in corn tortillas and topped with quick-pickled onions, sliced radishes, cilantro, and avocado plus a squeeze of lime these are a perfect balance of spicy, creamy, fresh, and tangy.


  • 1 can young green jackfruit in water (not canned in syrup)
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 can roasted hatch chilies (5-6 peppers)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon agave
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Add onion, garlic, chilies, tomato paste, agave, and stock to a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth

2.  Put jackfruit, spices, and sauce mixture into a pot over high heat

3. When the sauce begins to boil, turn heat to low and let simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

4.  Break jackfruit apart using a fork, wooden spoon, or potato masher.  If the mixture is very liquid-y, turn up heat until sauce thickens.

5.  Serve in tacos with toppings of choice.


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