My husband is from Georgia and he loves his BBQ. Since I am encouraging everyone in my family to shift toward a mostly plant-based diet, I am always experimenting with turning traditional “meaty” classics into a delicious meatless version. My vegan “Pulled Pork” sandwich was a huge hit with family and friends this past weekend. Two guests had no idea that it wasn’t meat, and had a hard time believing me when I told them otherwise.
I served it with coleslaw and vegetarian baked beans – a satisfying hearty Fall supper. You might even want to think about cooking it for an upcoming family/friends Holiday gathering (just when everyone’s tired of the turkey).
The main ingredient, which masquerades as the pork, is Jackfruit. This is a tropical fruit, also known as Durian fruit. It has a very similar texture to “pulled” pork or chicken! But unlike meat, it is free from saturated fat and cholesterol. It is also jam-packed with nutrition: vitamins, minerals, fiber, and disease-fighting compounds. Jackfruit is also a great choice for those who are trying to go meat-free, but are allergic to soy (so many meat substitutes involve soy).
You can buy it in cans of packages. I think the healthiest brand is Native Forest, which is organic and canned.
3 14 oz cans of organic young jackfruit
1 tbsp olive or grape seed oil
1 small onion, minced
1 cup finely grated carrot
BBQ Seasoning: 2 tbsp coconut sugar, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp sea salt, ½ tsp black pepper, ½ tsp ground chili powder
1tbsp Chipotle paste (optional, but great if you want to make it even smokier). I blend a can of Chipotle Chilis in Adobo sauce into a paste, and keep it in an airtight container in my fridge. I add it to most everything!
¾ cup of BBQ sauce (I like Annie’s)
Burger buns (If I’m trying to be really healthy I’ll look for a whole wheat or gluten-free bun, but my secret guilty please is a brioche-style bun because they are SO soft. A guy at my local farmers market makes a vegan version:) But use whatever is your family’s favorite bun, because you don’t want to put them off with a gluten-free brick of a bun before they’ve even got to the “pork”. Pick your battles!
Drain jackfruit, and cut away and discard the “core” portion of the fruit.
Mix seasoning together and rub into the Jackfruit. Leave for one hour.
Meanwhile heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and carrots, and fry until soft.
Add the jackfruit, turn up heat, and fry until the fruit has slightly browned.
Add the BBQ sauce. Turn down the heat to low, cover pan and simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes. Toward the end of cooking, check the consistency of the mixture – you might prefer it to be a little drier (to imitate pulled pork), in which case – just remove the lid from the pan, and let the excess liquid evaporate as it continues to simmer. When it has reached your perfect “pork” consistency, turn off the heat.
You want to serve it warm, so it’s fine to make this ahead of time and reheat by putting in a frying pan with a little more oil. I actually prefer it when it’s refried!
I serve it in a soft bun brushed with a little vegan mayo, and the sides that I mentioned above.
You can also keep it in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.