This vegan pulled pork recipe is made with jackfruit and creates a delicious sandwich served topped with creamy coleslaw. It’s packed with tasty BBQ flavours from a homemade sauce.
This recipe is fantastic to serve to anyone because pulled jackfruit can truly satisfy even the most meat-loving people you know! Vegan pulled pork sandwiches truly confirm that you can make anything vegan and unbelievably delicious.
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Using Jackfruit as a Vegan Pulled Pork Alternative
I had no idea what jackfruit was before going vegan. Initially I was able to try fresh jackfruit which has such a unique flavour I immediately loved it. Then I tried a BBQ jackfruit pulled pork sandwich at a local restaurant and was instantly hooked!
The texture of jackfruit is amazingly similar to pulled pork and is the perfect alternative when you crave that meaty barbecue taste.
It’s very easy to use jackfruit as a vegan pulled pork alternative. The structure of jackfruit pulls apart into loose strings making it simple to achieve the “pulled pork” texture.
What Type of Jackfruit to use for Pulled Pork
There are four main types of jackfruit you can purchase:
- Canned in syrup
- Canned in brine
- Canned in water
There are recipes for using fresh jackfruit to make pulled pork, but I don’t do this for a couple reasons. Firstly, buying fresh jackfruit where I live is insanely expensive. Second, fresh jackfruit is quite sweet and may not be the flavour you want in a savoury BBQ sandwich.
For making a vegan or vegetarian pulled pork alternative, I recommend canned jackfruit. Selecting the right type of canned jackfruit is very important though.
Can you Use Jackfruit Canned in Syrup for Pulled Pork?
For the longest time, the only jackfruit I could find was sweet jackfruit canned in syrup.
I do not recommend using this type of jackfruit for making a vegan or vegetarian pulled pork alternative.
Jackfruit canned in syrup is picked at peak ripeness (at its sweetest) then canned in sugary syrup. This would create extremely sweet pulled “pork”.
When making vegan pulled pork, we want a savoury, smoky and salty flavour. It would be near impossible to hide the sweetness of jackfruit in syrup no matter how much seasoning or salt you try to add.
Jackfruit canned in syrup is great for dessert, but not for pulled pork.
Jackfruit in Brine for Vegan Pulled Pork
I recommend using jackfruit canned in brine for this vegan pulled pork recipe. Brine is simply salt water which helps remove much of the sweet flavour from the jackfruit.
What’s left is a jackfruit with mild flavour that can easily take on the taste of whatever you cook it in.
Most jackfruit canned in brine is young green jackfruit. This means the jackfruit isn’t at peak sweetness when picked which is yet another help when making a savoury meal with jackfruit.
There’s also the option of using jackfruit canned in water. I’ve personally never used this so can’t comment on how it would work in this recipe. This isn’t a product I’ve seen at local stores but is an option if you’re shopping online.
Can you Eat the Core of the Jackfruit?
When you open a can of jackfruit in brine you will see a bunch of triangle shaped pieces of jackfruit. Each triangular piece has flesh that easily pulls apart into strings, and these pieces will be attached to a firm core.
When searching online, the resources I’ve found for other vegan jackfruit recipes say to discard core pieces when making vegan pulled pork.
I couldn’t find a reason why people do this, other than the texture of the core isn’t the same as the main part of the fruit and the core doesn’t pull apart. But if you discard all the core pieces, you may notice that you’re wasting a lot of the can’s contents.
I personally do not discard the core pieces; instead, I collect them in a bowl and finely slice them so they become similar to the pulled pork texture.
Can you Eat Jackfruit Seeds?
While pulling apart the jackfruit you’ll also notice that there are oval shaped bits throughout. These are jackfruit seeds.
Again, several internet sources say to dispose of jackfruit seeds when making pulled jackfruit sandwiches because of the texture, but the seeds are edible.
When eating raw jackfruit people save seeds to roast, but with canned jackfruit, the seeds are cooked in the canning process.
I can’t find any direct information whether there is concern with eating these seeds or not, but if they can be eaten roasted, I imagine they are okay to eat canned.
I include jackfruit seeds in my vegan pulled pork. This is mainly because I don’t like wasting and I haven’t had any issues with eating them. I just rip the seeds into pieces with my hands. You could also chop them up to add to your vegan pulled pork as well.
So, when I provide the amount of jackfruit for this vegan pulled pork recipe, I’m including both the core and the seeds from the can. All I discard is the liquid in the can, but I use all the pieces of the fruit, core, and seeds.
Increase Protein Content of a Vegan Pulled Jackfruit Sandwich
This vegan pulled jackfruit sandwich recipe is quite low in protein, especially compared to a pork alternative.
While it’s perfectly ok to sometimes consume a meal that is lower in protein, there are some people who need to have higher protein intake or some who want to eat a more balanced meal.
The easiest and tastiest way to boost protein in your vegan jackfruit recipes is by adding lentils. The lentils could be cooked from dry, or drained and rinsed if from a can.
The lentil’s small size makes it less noticeable and doesn’t impact the texture of the pulled jackfruit sandwich as much as other, larger, beans or legumes would.
Protein Content of Jackfruit
Jackfruit is often touted as a perfect alternative to meat. If talking strictly about taste and texture compared to pulled pork, I would say yes, jackfruit is a fantastic vegan pulled pork alternative. However, despite the fact that people state jackfruit is high in protein, it’s not.
Every can of jackfruit in brine has slightly different nutrition information, but from the 4-5 varieties I’ve purchased, there is, on average, about 2 grams of protein per ½ cup of fruit. That’s not a lot of protein. It’s not even high in protein compared to other fruits.
If you are looking for a high protein meal, you will have to opt for something else, or add some lentils or other protein source to your jackfruit.
Please enjoy this recipe, I know I do! Let me know how your vegan pulled jackfruit sandwiches with creamy coleslaw turn out in the comments below. Don’t forget to tag me on social media @lettucevegout if you make this recipe. I love to see your creations!
The Ultimate Vegan Pulled Jackfruit Sandwich with Creamy Slaw
- Large pan
- Cutting Board
- Large bowl
- Can Opener
1 batch of smoky and sweet vegan barbecue sauce (recipe link above)
Prepare the smoky and sweet vegan barbecue sauce. While the sauce cooks, pull jackfruit and prepare coleslaw.
To make creamy vegan coleslaw:
- Place the coleslaw mix into a large bowl, and toss with 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, and 2 tsp apple cider vinegar. Coat the coleslaw mix well, and let sit. The coleslaw will wilt slightly, releasing water.
- Just before you’re ready to serve the jackfruit sandwiches, toss 1/3 C of vegan mayonnaise into the coleslaw.
To make the pulled jackfruit:
- Drain liquid from the jackfruit cans.
- Pull jackfruit pieces from the core and place into a large bowl, removing seeds. Save seeds and core pieces in a separate bowl from the remaining pulled jackfruit pieces.
- Finely chop jackfruit seeds and core pieces. Add these finely chopped pieces to the rest of the jackfruit.
- Add seasoning to the jackfruit: 1 tsp smoked paprika, ¾ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, ½ tsp cumin. Toss to coat the jackfruit with seasoning and let sit until the barbecue sauce is ready.
- Once the barbecue sauce is ready, place the thinly sliced onion into a large pan on medium-high heat with the oil (2 tbsp) and cook until soft, about 5-8 minutes.
- When the onion is cooked, lower the heat to medium and add seasoned jackfruit, cooking for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the prepared barbecue sauce and cook until the sauce is thick and coated on the jackfruit pieces, about 5 minutes at medium heat.
- Serve on buns with creamy vegan coleslaw.
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This is an updated post: Original post date March 2019.