Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos


I was all ready to do a “Best 0f 2012″ post, but then I went back through my archives and realized I didn’t make very much at all this year, and THEN I looked at one or two of those types of posts in Google reader, marked all as read, and decided it wasn’t worth the time.  But just in case anyone cares, the number one post this year (thank you, Pinterest!) is these caramel pretzel brownies.

Mike went back to work today after a whole week off and it bummed me out a little bit, but on the plus side, I think I’m now ready (or almost ready) to go back to work too.  It’s been a really productive break around here: tons of good workouts, made a batch of sauerkraut,


(I discovered it takes an ETERNITY to thinly slice four heads of cabbage and that by day three it smells incredibly gross), made a batch of kimchi, did some purging of crap and re-organizing around the house, and of course had a ton of fun with Ellie and Mike.

 photo (15)

She is getting so much personality, and I love it.  Her current fixations include cheese, shoes/boots, board books, sweeping our front porch, and blocks.

It’s not often I miss eating meat, but I always loved carnitas and when I saw this recipe (using canned jackfruit…so random!), I was thrilled.  The  texture isn’t exactly the same, obviously, but the flavor is spot on.  I think simmering in pineapple juice is the key.  I didn’t follow the recipe exactly (I don’t have liquid smoke and didn’t feel like putting in bay leaves) and by the time they were ready I was so stoked to try them that I skipped the sauteeing step that caramelizes them.  They were still completely awesome.  Spicy, sweet, smoky, and perfect in tacos with some cilantro, pickled red onion, and avocado.  Ellie liked them too!

Note on canned jackfruit: I found some at an Asian grocery store in San Francisco.  Make sure it’s in brine, not syrup! I used Chaokoh brand, which comes in green cans that are 20 oz (the label says “20 oz, 10 oz drained”). You could also order it from Amazon.

Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos


  • 2 20-oz (10 oz drained) cans jackfruit in brine, drained
  • 2 tsp chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • Tacos
  • 10-12 corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • pickled red onion (recipe below)


  1. To make the carnitas:
  2. Make sure the jackfruit is rinsed well, and drained. Shred between your fingers.
  3. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with chile powder, cumin, coriander, onion powder, and salt.
  4. Rub the spices into the jackfruit and set aside.
  5. Place the pineapple juice and water in a large saucepan. Stir in the remaining ingredients, and then add the jackfruit.
  6. Bring to a boil, then simmer, partially covered, for about 50 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  7. If you are going to saute the finished jackfruit (recommended in the original recipe), heat 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium and add 1 cup of jackfruit with sauce, sauteeing until most of the liquid is gone and the edges are browned. Repeat with remaining fruit if desired.
  8. Assemble tacos, topping with cilantro, avocado, and pickled onions.
  9. To make quick pickled red onions: Peel and thinly slice one red onion. Bring a small pot of water to a boil, and add the onion for 45 seconds. Drain and place in a small bowl. Add 3 tbsp red wine vinegar and 1 tsp salt and let stand for about 20 minutes.

(from Vegan Eats World)

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6 comments to Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos

  • What an interesting take on carnitas. You always find such creative recipes. Cheers to a terrific 2013!

  • I kind of am over the “best of” roundups anyway. Much prefer something new and interesting like these tacos!

  • Did you go vegan? Or just to round out your recipes? Just wondering. Also, I was wandering by because I could have sworn I saw a post from you today or yesterday about planning your menu for the week. I wanted to come back and ask you about that. Or maybe you already have a different post from a while ago about it? I’m looking for some inspiration. Much love to you and Mike. xoxo

  • Hi Cate! I just came across your blog and love it! Very cute little family you have! I’ve always wondered how to make jackfruit tacos ever since working on the Great Food Truck Race. One of the food truck teams, Seabirds (an Orange County Vegan food truck), made jackfruit “pulled pork” tacos.

    Hope you check out my blog sometime! Although I don’t cook too much vegetarian or vegan recipes.

  • nuu

    Can this be made in a crock pot/slow cooker? If so, how would it be done?

  • Cate

    I believe so. I would try putting everything in the slow cooker and cooking on low for 4-6 hours.

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