Jackfruit Enchiladas are an easy-to-make, flavorful dish that will appeal to meat eaters and vegetarians alike.
I’ve got a new recipe today that’s a little different from my usual posts, but one I’m particularly excited to share. It’s easy, it’s vegetarian, and it’s tasty as can be: it’s Jackfruit Enchiladas.
If you’re not an expert Pinterest user/veggie-phile (is that the word?)/native of Southeast Asia, you might not know about the amazing jackfruit. Jackfruit is, as the name suggests, a fruit. I’ve seen them in real life a few times at the Asian supermarket, and they’re really something to behold. Jackfruit is a big, spiky looking brownish green fruit filled with yellow flesh and seeds. The flesh is edible, though it seems rather tedious to remove it from this huge fruit. Thankfully, you can purchase canned jackfruit at your regular supermarket (at least in the Boston suburbs you can), taking all the work out of enjoying these guys.
So, why am I telling you about jackfruit? Because it’s the best thing to happen to the vegan and vegetarian world since tofu, in my opinion. I love tofu, and beans, and lentils, and all sorts of other things that people use to substitute for meat. But sometimes, I just want to eat something vegetarian and not feel like I’m eating something vegetarian. Sometimes, I just want to pretend I’m eating meat (at this point, if you’re wondering why I’m trying so hard to avoid the foods I love, it’s because I’m fairly healthy now and I’d like to keep it that way). Jackfruit, as it turns out, kind of tastes like meat if you cook it the right way. It has the texture of shredded pork or chicken, and a mild flavor that takes on the flavor of whatever you’re making. When it comes to heavily spiced and sauced dishes, it’s the perfect substitute for chicken, pork, or even beef. Plus, it’s about $2-3 per can and low in calories, making it a bargain for such a healthy option. It cooks pretty quickly, too, so it works well for weeknights.
In this enchilada recipe, I swapped out my usual chicken for shredded jackfruit. My husband didn’t believe me at first; he thought it tasted too good, and too much like chicken, to be jackfruit. I took that as a compliment, since he’s not as into the vegetarian thing as I am. I agreed, too. It really did taste just like chicken.
What’s are the messages here?
1) Eating vegetarian can taste like…well, NOT eating vegetarian.
2)Even if you want to eat all meat all the time, try these. They can be pre-assembled, cook quickly, and you may like them.
This vegetarian dish gets its meatiness from jackfruit! Make the dish completely vegan by omitting the dairy, or substituting cheese with non-dairy alternatives.
- 1 20 oz can jackfruit in brine (very important! Make sure it's in brine and not syrup)
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 small-medium onion diced
- 1 small clove garlic minced
- splash liquid smoke
- 1 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder, divided (regular chili powder is fine)
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp tomato paste
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder or granulated garlic
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- pinch chipotle powder (optional)
- 1 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese (can substitute jack or another mild cheese, or even vegan cheese)
- 8 corn tortillas
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup sour cream (can omit or substitute with a non-dairy cream)
- 1-2 avocados
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Drain the can of jackfruit. Pull pieces of jackfruit apart into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Rinse, and set aside.
Heat canola oil in a 10" nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion, stir, and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add jackfruit, garlic, liquid smoke, 1/2 tsp chili powder, and sugar, and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until pieces begin to brown, stirring every few minutes.
Add tomato paste and stir well, and continue to saute for about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
While jackfruit is cooking, assemble the sauce. In a small-medium bowl, add tomato sauce, cumin, coriander, 1 tsp chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, and chipotle powder (if using). Stir well to combine.
Spoon a small amount of the sauce onto the bottom of a 8x11" baking dish. Place the stack of tortillas between two damp paper towels and microwave for 30 seconds to make them pliable. Remove from microwave, and lightly coat each side of a tortilla in the sauce. Place about 2 Tbsp jackfruit mixture and 1 Tbsp cheese in the center of the tortilla, and roll up. Place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. They should fit snugly in the dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas, and spread evenly over the top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Sprinkle a few chopped cilantro leaves on top.
Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, and bake for 5 more minutes to brown the top a little bit. Remove from the oven. Serve 2 enchiladas per person, garnished with cilantro, sour cream, and avocado.
Make sure your canned jackfruit is in brine or water, and not in syrup! Jackfruit in syrup is sweet, and would not taste good in this recipe.