Let me introduce you to these vegan barbecue jackfruit “pulled pork” sliders, the future star of your summer cookout.
Do I sense a double take? I bet you took one look at that sandwich and thought, “Why is she showing me a vegan sandwich full of meat?” But that’s the surprise: These little babies are 100% vegan, and ready to wow the whole family.
While it looks shockingly like meat, the base for this sandwich is actually green jackfruit — a huge, bizarre-looking tropical fruit native to India and Southeast Asia. And it has taken the vegan world by storm.
By “huge and bizarre,” I mean that a single jackfruit can grow up to 3 feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds –the weight of a petite adult. But I digress. Jackfruit didn’t knock the socks off of vegans everywhere because of its size, however impressive it might be.
The magic of jackfruit lies in its unripe flesh: Its texture and consistency are remarkably similar to that of shredded meat.
When it comes to vegan substitutes, mock meat can be strange and terrifying to untrained taste buds. Teaching an old dog new tricks can be hard, as the saying goes, so sticking with all-natural vegetable substitutes is best when you’re trying to convince people of the joys of veganism.
The texture of jackfruit is the perfect substitute for a vegan rendition on barbecue pulled pork. And the nice thing about working with green jackfruit is that it is more or less flavorless, so it takes on the flavors of whatever seasonings you use.
After packing in the smoky, sweet, and tangy barbeque flavors of barbecue sauce, you won’t know the difference between these jackfruit sliders and their non-vegan counterpart.
These sandwiches are such a fun way to enjoy vegan food at a barbecue or cookout. You can make the barbecue sauce and jackfruit filling several days in advance and reheat it as needed. The coleslaw is quick and easy to make day-of.
Although jackfruit doesn’t usually grow in this part of the world, it’s becoming easier to find in the canned section of grocery stores (I got mine at Trader Joe’s). If jackfruit is hard to come by in your area, though, this recipe would work equally as well with artichoke hearts. And if you’re pinched for time, you can use store-bought barbecue sauce rather than the homemade recipe I provide below.