Jack(fruit) Got All Beefed Up (vegan)

Sometimes, you see things online and you get excited. I’m not talking about THAT, get your mind out of the gutter. I’m talking about jackfruit. There are loads of recipes online in which jackfruit gets transformed into a healthier, vegan pulled pork or beef. Something I noticed when I was checking out the recipes, was that the jackfruit usually got smothered in a strong barbecue sauce. Not that that is bad mind you, but I figured that then you might as well just eat the sauce because the jackfruit would just taste like that. I thought it would be better to ‘beef up’ the jackfruit first, and then you could do whatever you want with it. You could have it plain, smother it in barbecue or any other type of sauce, stir it through a stew or a soup… And the jackfruit itself would also be tasty. So I did some serious experimenting and discovered that jackfruit needs to be marinated for a long time before it will actually taste like the marinade, as opposed to tofu or tempeh. So, if you don’t like to marinate food for hours, I get it. But this one is worth it, especially if you happen to be missing meat.

I put this jackfruit on a roll with some caramelised onion and mustard and paired it with a simple carrot and zucchini salad with mustard dressing. This worked beautifully together so if you’re interested in the salad, let me know and I’ll post that recipe too (if you can call it a recipe). Just so you know, I only used 1/4 of the entire jackfruit recipe on this roll because I wanted to taste the difference between the plain jackfruit and the one with my homemade barbecue sauce and I was making dinner for two. I suggest that you use half of the recipe per person to get enough of the beefed-up jackfruit 🙂

Ingredients (2 portions):

  • A 565 grams/550 ml can of young green jackfruit in brine (you can also use green jackfruit in water)
  • 1 cup of red wine (I use the cheapest one I can find)
  • 4 tablespoons of vegetarian oyster sauce (essential, don’t omit!)
  • 2 tablespoons of less salt soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil (or any other neutral tasting vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 small onion, diced (if you don’t want to pick out onion bits later, use more onion but cut it in wedges so it’s easier to get it out of the marinade)
  • 1 medium sized clove of garlic, sliced (same comment as for the onion)
  • A glug of rapeseed oil (or any other vegetable oil)


  • Prepare the jackfruit. Take it out of the can and chop the core off. This blog shows you what it looks like. Because jackfruit in a can is already very soft, you can pull the stringy bits apart straight away. This also helps to absorb as much of the marinade as possible. Then slice the cores finely and take the seeds out. Finally, give the finely sliced cores and stringy jackfruit a good rinse and squeeze the water out it. Discard the seeds or use them in a recipe where their texture would work.
  • Whisk together the wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, oil, onion and garlic. Stir the jackfruit through the marinade and leave it in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  • Pick the onion and garlic out of the marinated jackfruit and squeeze the marinade out of the jackfruit so there is as little moisture left as possible.
  • Pan fry the jackfruit in a good glug of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat until it browns slightly. You need to add oil to the jackfruit because unlike meat it has no fats in it and you don’t want it to be dry.
  • Optional: stir some barbecue sauce through it before pan frying. I liked it both with and without the sauce, it’s completely up to you what you do.
  • To serve: put it on a hamburger bun or bread roll with caramelised onions and mustard and serve it with a salad. Yum!

Storage and tip of the day:

I am not sure how long this would keep in the fridge when cooked. I assume it would be the same as most other cooked fruit or vegetables so I am guessing about 3-5 days. I wouldn’t freeze it because that would ruin the texture.

I used to hate marinating foods for hours because as mentioned in my previous post, I have neither the patience nor the planning skills for it. It’s only when I started experimenting with jackfruit and seitan made from bread flour that I realised I had to get over it and let it marinate for longer than my usual 30 minutes. For some foods, it’s necessary AND worth it to leave them in their flavour bath for a few hours. So just try it and you’ll see why sometimes, patience is a good thing 😉

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