Ah, the holidays. A time where everybody comes together to enjoy each other’s company and feast uninhibitedly… for some. When you are dining with a group of people that aren’t fully aware of what your dietary restrictions entail, it can be like a game of Russian roulette. Many of us will warily approach the food table, stomach growling, to find surprises in dishes we thought to be safe. Cheese in the salad, generic spices that “may contain,” or a wooden serving spoon. You wonder if it may be worth the risk just to enjoy a dinner with your family. It isn’t. It never is. I have seen a lot of people on the Facebook groups, “what are you having for easter dinner?”
I’m lucky that my in-laws are not only entirely gluten free, but go out of their way to accommodate me with dairy and egg free side dishes. It’s all I can do in return to bring with me a vegan entree. With a master chef at the head of the table, I need to impress. I’ll always find myself browsing the Minimalist Baker because recipes have never failed me.
For Easter dinner I want something hearty and satisfying, so I scouted out the BBQ Jackfruit recipe.
I have made this recipe multiple times with varying results, so here are some tricks I have learned: use a BBQ sauce you know you like, and give yourself time to cook it slowly on a low heat. We use Kraft’s conveniently gluten free Chicken and Rib Sauce. It brings the smokiness and slight sweetness that is familiar in pulled pork. We always add a little bit of mustard to the sauce as well for a bit of tang. If undercooked, jackfruit can be rubbery and leave a gritty texture in your mouth. Using jackfruit in water instead of brine or syrup makes a HUGE difference in texture and flavour.
When it’s done properly, it’s nearly unmistakable for the carnivorous alternative. This is perfect for summer picnics and outdoor gatherings!
Jackfruit can seem scary, but it’s a food of opportunity. After making this once, I was on Pinterest deciding what to use it for next!
This delicious BBQ Jackfruit is so simple and tasty, especially paired with a refreshing light coleslaw.
– 2 20 oz cans young green Jackfruit (in water)
– 1/4 cup BBQ seasoning (2 Tbsp brown sugar + 1 tsp paprika + 1 tsp garlic powder + 1/2 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp pepper + 1/2 tsp chili powder)
– 3/4 cup BBQ sauce + more for topping
– 2 cups shredded cabbage and carrot
– 1/2 ripe avocado
– 1 tbsp maple syrup
– Juice of 1 lemon or lime
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Water to thin
– vegan gf buns or bread
Drain and rinse the Jackfruit. Cut off the tough core of each piece and transfer it into a bowl with the seasoning. Toss around to make sure it’s all coated. In a pan over medium heat with 1-2 tbsp oil, sauté the seasoned Jackfruit for a couple minutes to get some colour on it.
Add the BBQ sauce and a bit of water to thin it out and make a saucier coating. Toss and cover, turning the heat down to low-medium. I like to add mustard in about 10 minutes into cooking along with hot sauce and more BBQ sauce. Stir it around to coat again and continue cooking. After about 20 minutes, uncover and pull apart big pieces using two forks. This is when I turn the heat to low, and let it go for. another 15 minutes. It’s really tough to not start nibbling from the pan!
While the jackfruit is cooking, make your slaw. I had cabbage to use, so I made my own slaw mix. Combine the avocado, lemon juice, maple syrup, and salt and pepper in a bowl and combine well. It helps to mash the avocado with a fork then whisk it all together. Add water if it needs thinning out. Pour the dressing over the slaw, combine well, and set it in the fridge til the jackfruit is done.
For the last couple minutes of cooking the jackfruit, turn the heat up to medium-high. Doing this adds more texture and smoky flavour! Build your sandwich by putting the coleslaw on the bottom, then lots of jackfruit on top. You can top it with some roasted cashews or just leave it as is!
What are you bringing for Easter dinner? You’ve gotta try this!