You won’t believe how tender, yet crispy, and flavorful this vegan jackfruit carnitas is! It makes the best tacos with guacamole, diced red onion and fresh jalapeno slices.
I’ve been having fun experimenting with jackfruit lately. For a long time I heard about jackfruit, but I just didn’t get it. I had a few bad experiences following recipes, and decided maybe I didn’t like the stuff. But a few months ago I thought I’d give it another go, and what do you know? With a few tricks and plenty of spices/flavor, I LOVE jackfruit now!
Recently I posted my BBQ Jackfruit Pulled “Pork” and today I’m sharing this recipe for Jackfruit Carnitas. I’m so excited to share it with you! Carnitas is basically Mexican pulled pork, flavored with spices and usually a hint of citrus like orange and lime. This vegan jackfruit version is incredibly delicious; tender, yet crispy in places and FULL of flavor. I hope you try it!
How do you make Jackfruit Carnitas?
Start by preparing your jackfruit. Drain and rinse it very well (if packed in brine), then chop off any hard core portions. I definitely prefer my jackfruit this way, but if the hard parts don’t bother you, no problem, you can leave them on.
Next, saute 1/2 an onion in olive oil for a few minutes, then add the jackfruit and 1/2 cup of water. Simmer for 10 minutes until jackfruit is softened a bit. While it simmers, stir all the wet spice mixture ingredients in a small bowl. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
(SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW TO PRINT AND FOR FULL AMOUNTS)
After simmering for 10 minutes, remove the lid and mash the jackfruit to create a shredded texture. Add the wet spice mix and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Next add the orange juice, lime juice and liquid smoke, stir in and simmer on low for 10 minutes.
Spread the jackfruit evenly on the prepared baking sheet, and bake for 15-25 minutes, until crispy and even a little blackened in some spots. The jackfruit should be tender, yet crispy in places, and golden. Now it’s done!
How to serve Jackfruit Carnitas:
This jackfruit tastes wonderful in warmed corn tortillas with diced red onion, guacamole, cilantro and sliced jalapenos. But you can use it in burritos, tacos, burrito bowls or anywhere else you desire. Vegan Sour Cream would be a good addition, as well as lettuce, tomato, salsa, etc.
Because jackfruit itself is not very high in calories or protein, you may want to serve it with a side of rice and beans, or you could stir some black beans right into the jackfruit once it’s done.
How to store leftover jackfruit:
Store any leftover jackfruit in a covered container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To re-warm, you can use a microwave or warm on the stovetop.
Jackfruit also freezes well. You can freeze individual sized portions in small baggies, or in a covered container that is freezer safe.
Want more Jackfruit recipes?
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- (2) 20-ounce cans young green jackfruit in water or brine
- 1/2 cup water
Wet Spice Mix
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- For serving: tortillas, guacamole, diced red onion, lime wedges, cilantro and sliced jalapenos
- Drain and rinse the jackfruit from the can. Rinse very well if your jackfruit was packed in brine. Chop off the hard center core portions, if desired. I like the texture better with the tougher parts removed.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Now add the jackfruit and 1/2 cup of water, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes to soften the jackfruit.
- While the jackfruit simmers, make the wet spice mix by stirring all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F at this time and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- After 10 minutes, remove the lid and mash the jackfruit with a potato masher or two forks, to create a shredded texture. Add the wet spice mix and stir into mashed jackfruit, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Now add in the orange juice, lime juice and liquid smoke and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.
- Spread the jackfruit onto the prepared pan, evenly, and bake for 15-25 minutes, until it's golden, crispy and even a bit blackened in some spots.
- Remove from the oven and serve warm in tortillas, burritos, bowls or wherever you desire with guacamole, diced red onion, sliced jalapenos and cilantro.
- For gluten free, use gluten free tamari instead of soy sauce and serve in corn tortillas.
- Leftover jackfruit carnitas keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and can also be frozen.
- Jackfruit itself is not incredibly filling, so you may want to serve it with a side of rice and beans. You could even stir in some drained/rinsed black beans at the end to add protein.