The first time I tried jackfruit was at a local barbecue joint here in Kansas City. I wasn’t vegan quite yet and I was having dinner with my husband, brother, and sister-in-law. We decided to get the meat sampler so that our guests could get a taste of “real Kansas City barbecue”.
Our sampler came piled high with a bunch of typical meats like brisket and ribs and sausage, but there was one item on the plate that we couldn’t quite figure out. Everybody but me liked it. I thought it tasted like overly sweet bubblegum doused in smokey barbecue sauce. I was not a fan.
Turns out that “meat” wasn’t a meat at all. It was jackfruit and the piece that I tried had been overly ripe. Luckily, that wasn’t my last experience with jackfruit. After going vegan, I discovered a local food truck, The Peaceful Pig, with excellent reviews regarding their vegan version of pulled pork. Turns out that the other guys just were doing it wrong and the Peaceful Pig knew how to do jackfruit justice.
I have since found jackfruit to be a nice substitute, as far as texture goes, for pulled pork or even shredded chicken. Young jackfruit, as opposed to ripe, is not very sweet and it takes in the flavors around it, making it very easy to work with.
Jackfruit Tortilla Soup
- 1 tsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 can (10oz) mild red enchilada sauce I prefer Old El Paso
- 1 can (15oz) pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 1 can (15oz) black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (10oz) diced tomatoes with green chiles Rotel or similar
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1.5 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 4 oz vegan cream cheese I used Tofutti brand
- 1 heaping cup melty vegan cheddar shreds Daiya cutting board style works well in this recipe
- 1 can (15oz) jackfruit rinsed, cores removed, and shredded
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Once the olive oil is hot, add the diced onion and cook for 3-4 minutes (until onion is turning translucent).
Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, being careful not to burn the garlic.
Add to the pot the enchilada sauce, drained beans, both cans of tomatoes, corn, and vegetable broth. Stir to combine and increase the heat to bring the soup to a boil.
While the soup is heating, add the chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
Once the soup has come to a boil, add the cream cheese. Stir in the cream cheese and reduce heat to a simmer.
Cook covered with a lid on low for 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to fully meld. Stir once every 5 minutes or so to be sure that nothing burns
While the soup cooks, drain and rinse your jackfruit (rinsing is optional, but I do this to remove the extra sodium from the brine). Remove the hard core of the jackfruit and shred the soft pieces so that they are similar in texture to shredded chicken.
After 15-20 minutes of cook time for the soup, add in the jackfruit and shredded cheddar cheese. Stir well and cook for 5 more minutes so that the cheese melts and the jackfruit takes on the flavors of the soup.
Serve with your favorite toppings: cilantro, guacamole, tortilla strips, lime juice, etc.