Jackfruit Tacos

I started hearing about the use of young green jackfruit as a meat substitute a few months ago, mostly in reference to veggie-friendly Mexican restaurants on the West Coast, I believe, and when The Urban Housewife posted a recipe for Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos back in February, I took note and started looking for jackfruit at my local Asian markets. Either I was too blind to see it during umpteen previous trips, or Super H JUST starting carrying it, but I finally scored some last week, and while I didn’t brag about it last night, in addition to making minestrone and seasoning my wok, I also prepared the taco ingredients for easy insertion into the crockpot this morning. Not because I have a fixed time I have to be into work that necessitates me rushing around in the mornings, but because I don’t always function well enough in the mornings to handle questions and decisions, even questions as seemingly innocuous as just how much smoked paprika is a good idea?

So this post is even less innovative than the last since I’m not using my own recipe or even putting my own spin on things. But I have been really curious about jackfruit, so I figured I’d share my first taste of it with you. Plus I’m getting better about remembering to take pictures! Maybe I’ll even get better at taking pictures!

Melisser’s recipe is great because it’s extraordinarily simple and can really be done in five minutes before you leave for work. Only someone as completely dysfunctional as I am in the morning needs to worry about this the night before. And I wouldn’t even have bothered if I hadn’t been so tired I was worried I was going to sleep so late I’d be late for my 11:30 conference call. (Yes, I realize how pathetic that is.)

So last night, I lined up the ingredients:

Eep! I put the Turkish oregano used in the minestrone in the photo instead of the Mexican oregano that went with the carnitas! Faux pas!

Then I removed the jackfruit from its can and rinsed it off:

So THAT’s what jackfruit looks like!

I tasted a tiny bit. It was pretty tasteless. Then I cut up an onion, pressed a bunch of cloves of garlic, and measured out the spices, all of which I threw in a container and stuck in the refrigerator.

When I got up this morning, Tigger was still enjoying his box.

He has a little mohawk because his head gets wet when he showers with us. He’s weird.

I put the jackfruit in the crockpot as directed by Melisser.

Yes, my crockpot is blue and ancient. I prefer “retro”, thank you. I then added the spices. My pre-planning had not been perfect because I’d just dumped the spices onto the onions last night, so I sort of scooped out the top layer of onions and just stirred everything together. I wasn’t up for massaging fruit at this stage – it sounds like a task I can’t handle until at least noon – so I didn’t rub each piece individually.

Then I added the remainder of the onions.

And the salsa.

Meanwhile, Tigger fell asleep in the box.

I wished I could curl up on some wadded-up paper in a box and take a nap, but instead I went to work and got on that conference call, my favorite thing. Eight hours later, I arrived home and anxiously checked the crockpot. The jackfruit, sort of pinkish, reminded me of ham.

Tigger got back in the box.

Then I messaged Mark and baffled him by announcing dinner was ready and he should come home. I’m sure his thought process was, “Huh? What? Dinner? At 7 p.m.? How is this possible?” I mean, it’s not unusual for me to spend two to three hours making dinner and we routinely eat at 10 p.m. or later. BUT NOT TONIGHT! So he came home and I set up a few dishes of toppings for the tacos. Then we ate them.

Here’s the bowl of jackfruit “carnitas”:

Here is Mark enjoying a taco:

Here is Brachtune thinking maybe she’d enjoy a taco (she didn’t):

Here is my taco:

And here is Brachtune being pretty while we ate:

As for the jackfruit as a meat substitute, it was pretty good. Mark said it tasted a bit like potatoes, but I didn’t think it had much of a taste of its own at all, rather that it absorbs the flavors its cooked in, like tofu. I like how healthy it is, particularly in comparison to most meat substitutes. It had a nice texture, sort of like very tender meat, I guess. I barely remember meat, if you want to know the truth, but it is sort of like what I imagine very tender meat is like. I have another can of it that I intend to be more creative with. Not that Melisser’s recipe wasn’t good, because it was quite good, and so, so easy, but I’d like to come up with something of my own.

As for Tigger, he’s STILL in the box:

How long can I drag out this Tigger-in-the-box thing? I don’t know; I really did intend this to be a food blog, not a Tigger blog, and certainly not a Tigger-in-a-box blog. Those cats, though. They have any number of specially-bought, comfy cat beds, a cat tree taller than I am, an antique velvet scratching post – no, wait, that WAS an antique velvet SOFA and was NOT intended for the cats, a fact with which neither one of them has come to terms – and a million toys, but all they really want is a free box.

Well, Tigger’s other favorite napping spot wasn’t free.


  1. Mark Said,

    June 20, 2008 @ 12:47 am

    Man, I am freaking awesome. Sometimes I downplay my true awesomeness. But tonight my awesomeness has surpassed ultra-awesome to freaking-awesome. Can I get a hell yeah?

  2. Mark Said,

    June 20, 2008 @ 12:49 am

    Oh and, by the way: I didn’t think much of this jackfruit stuff. I would venture to say that TVP is much more apt for tacos.

  3. Cindy Said,

    June 20, 2008 @ 9:22 am

    Thanks for the honest opinion. I have two cans already, so I guess I’m gonna have to make them anyway.

  4. renae Said,

    June 20, 2008 @ 11:06 am

    In defense of the jackfruit as a taco filling, it’s supposed to resemble carnitas, which is pulled pork or something, not the ground beef taco filling you are more used to. I have no idea how well it fulfills that goal since I normally don’t even register any food item with “carne” in the name and I don’t even know what pork looks like.

    You didn’t seem to enjoy the meal that much, though, so I’ll find something different to do with the other can of jackfruit. You should embrace it, Mr. Is This Good For Me – it’s a whole food!

  5. Cindy Said,

    June 21, 2008 @ 4:25 pm

    What? He didn’t even have the guts to tell you to your face that he didn’t like it? This blog gets better every day! Post more!

  6. Tia Said,

    December 29, 2010 @ 2:03 pm

    I would suggest putting the jackfruit in olive oil onion green pepper and tomato with taco seasoning overnight in the frig…. make sure to squeeze a couple of lemons or limes preferably into the mixture as it marinates…. then it will have the real carnitas flavor… you really see the difference …

  7. renae Said,

    December 29, 2010 @ 2:11 pm

    That’s a great tip, Tia, thank you! I’ll definitely try that next time.

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