18 vegan jackfruit recipes for meat-free meals

Author: Rachel Smith

Here are 18 tasty vegan jackfruit recipes that will be loved by all to help you make the most of this versatile fruit.

If you’re looking for vegan jackfruit recipe ideas or vegan dinner recipes, you’ve come to the right place!

Jackfruit has become the go-to ingredient for compassionate cooks thanks to its versatile nature which means it can be transformed to replace meat in a wide range of dishes from fishless pies to pulled ‘pork’ burgers.

What is jackfruit?

Similar in appearance to durian, jackfruit grows in parts of Southeast Asia, Brazil and Africa, and is the largest fruit that can be found on a tree growing up to a metre in length.

This lumpy, bumpy fruit belongs to the same family as figs and mulberries and is usually around 30cm in length, however, it can grow up to a staggering metre long!

Uncooked, ripe jackfruit has a sweet, tropical flavour that tastes somewhere between a pineapple and a mango and is more often used in desserts and sweet dishes.

Young, unripe green jackfruit, which is usually found in tins, has a neutral taste that when marinated and cooked transforms into a very realistic meat alternative in dishes that traditionally contain pulled-pork, crab, or tuna. You name it, jackfruit can transform into it!

Not only is it super tasty, incredibly versatile, it’s also an excellent source of B-vitamins and a great source of dietary fibre. An extra bonus for vegetarians and vegans is that unlike animal sources of protein, jackfruit doesn’t contain any saturated fat or cholesterol, and is also light in sodium and low in calories.

Beneath jackfruit's rough exterior lies the bulb of the fruit which has come to be so popular in vegan cooking.

Beneath jackfruit's rough exterior lies the bulb of the fruit which has come to be so popular in vegan cooking.

How to cook jackfruit

Those of us in the UK are unlikely to have to prepare a fresh jackfruit when whipping up meat-free meals as these days it is becoming increasingly common to find tins or vacuum packs of pre-prepared, unripe jackfruit in stores.

If you’re making a savoury dish, try to find jackfruit that has been canned in brine rather than syrup as the fruit will soak up the sugar from the syrup and make your savoury dishes too sweet.

Firstly, you will need to rinse the fruit well before placing it into a tea towel. Wrap the jackfruit up tightly and squeeze to remove as much excess liquid as possible. This will allow the jackfruit to take on more flavour when marinated and helps give it an even meatier texture.

Once you’ve squeezed the jackfruit, remove the hard core at the centre of each bulb. You may also find some seeds remaining in the bulbs so make sure you remove these too.

Next, place the jackfruit into a large bowl and shred the using forks to break apart the bulbs and create your meat alternative. To ensure your jackfruit is bursting with flavour, marinate it in your favourite sauce for a minimum of 15 minutes.

Want to know how to prepare canned jackfruit to remove the bitter taste so that it takes on the flavours of your dish? Vegan chef Gaz Oakley shows you how in this handy video. 

Now you’ve got to grips with jackfruit, here are 16 of the most ridiculously tasty vegan jackfruit recipes that will be loved by all.

Best Vegan Jackfruit Recipes for Meat-Free Meals

1. Jackfruit Duck Pancakes

This classic Chinese dish gets a vegan makeover using jackfruit to mimic the texture of duck in these vegan jackfruit duck pancakes. Serve with pancakes, cucumber, spring onion and lashings of Hoisin sauce for an authentic homemade takeaway dinner.

jackfruit recipes

2. Jackfruit ‘Crab Cakes’ with Tartare Sauce

Is there anything jackfruit can’t transform into? We say no! Here it is again, this time it’s masquerading as crab in these yummy crab-free cakes in this enticing jackfruit recipe.

jackfruit recipes

3. Curried Jackfruit Tacos with Coriander Mint Chutney

These meat-free tacos draw inspiration from Mexican and Indian cuisine with their refreshing blend of hot and herby flavours. Pairing spicy jackfruit with a cooling chutney, this delicious fusion jackfruit recipe is a must-make.

4. Paprika Jackfruit with Crushed Winter Vegetables & Vegetable Crisps

If you’re hosting a dinner party and looking to impress then this delectable jackfruit recipe is sure to get the party started. Featuring paprika jackfruit stack atop a bed of crushed winter vegetables, it wouldn’t look out of place at a gourmet restaurant!

5. Jackfruit Christmas Dinner

Keep turkeys off your plate this Christmas and opt for deliciously seasoned jackfruit for your Christmas dinner instead. Not only is it cruelty-free, but it also more flavoursome and has a more appealing texture than turkey so will be a hit with vegans and meat-eaters alike!

6. Jackfruit “Tuna Melt” Sandwich

Jackfruit’s flaky texture makes it the perfect alternative to tuna when you’re craving this classic sandwich filling.

jackfruit recipes

7. BBQ Pulled-Pork-Style Shredded Jackfruit

Grab and fork and start shredding your jackfruit and soon you’ll be in pulled pork heaven (minus the cruelty of course!) with these spicy sandwiches topped.

8. Jackfruit Fish-Free Tacos

We need to taco-bout these fish-free tacos because they’re tasty, easy to make and they leave fish where they belong – in the ocean!

9. Slow Cooker BBQ Jackfruit Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Ideal for a cosy, easy dinner, these slow-stuffed sweet potatoes are healthy comfort food at its best.

10. Jackfruit Pot Pie

Jackfruit doesn’t just make a great pork replacement, it’s also great in dishes that would traditionally contain chicken such as a pot pie. This one is creamy and delicious and so easy to make.

11. Grilled Vegan BBQ Jackfruit Pizza with Hemp Seed Cheddar

Take your pizza toppings to the next level with BBQ jackfruit! This vibrant plant-based pizza is smothered with a tangy hemp seed cheddar for extra deliciousness.

12. Jackfruit ‘Meatball’ Tacos

Jackfruit makes a great base for meatballs thanks to its meaty texture. Grab some taco shells and pile them high with these meatless meatballs!

13. Loaded Sweet Potato Fries with BBQ Jackfruit & Red Cabbage Apple Slaw

Colourful, crunchy and bursting with flavour, you’ll want to dig right into this tasty platter with your bare hands.

jackfruit recipes

14. Vegan Nachos with Barbecue Jackfruit

Party food just went to the next level thanks to jackfruit!

jackfruit recipes

15. Bulgogi Jackfruit Street Tacos

This recipe is infused with delicious bulgogi flavour and topped with a slightly sweet Brussels sprouts slaw.

16. BBQ Jackfruit Sweet Potato Mac

This creamy sweet potato mac and cheese recipe is just what the doctor ordered! Slightly smokey, cheesy with just a touch of heat, it’s an absolute must-make.

17. Pulled Jackfruit Chilli

Jam-packed with goodness, this hearty chilli is just the thing for dinner on a cold day.

18. Vegan Jackfruit & Mushroom Gyros with Tzatziki

This Greek-favourite is now vegan-friendly thanks to jackfruit and mushrooms which replace pork perfectly. Load ’em up with onions, lettuce and tomato and wrap them up in a fluffy flatbread for the full Gryros experience.

jackfruit recipes

Feeling inspired by these vegan jackfruit recipes to try some new ways of replacing meat in your meals? Why not try these tasty vegan seitan recipes here

Hungry for more irresistible vegan recipes? Why not become a member of Vegan Food & Living magazine for just £1 today? You’ll have access to thousands of vegan recipes and endless plant-based inspiration. Find out more here!

Written by

Rachel Smith

Rachel Smith

As Vegan Food & Living’s Digital Editor, Rachel loves hunting down the hottest new vegan products and trends. Rachel can normally be found practising handstands, walking the dog, or foraging for edible treats in the wild.

Meet the team

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