Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos (vegan, gluten-free)

This recipe uses jackfruit, which is an awesome vegan substitution for shredded meat. It has bold Mexican flavors, and is an easy and healthy dinner option!

Hi friends! How are you? Hope you’re recovering from the long weekend and enjoying the day so far.

Yesterday was a great day. The Pilot was off work, so we all got to hang out. I like when we plan little road trips on longer weekends, because we have a day buffer to catch up on life before it’s into the usual insanity.

Birdie’s, our favorite breakfast restaurant, has been closed for over a month! Thankfully they re-opened yesterday with a new menu, and a totally freshened-up interior. It’s always been an adorable spot, but it looks even more amazing now.

Birdies valdosta

We enjoyed a delicious breakfast together, then I came home to put P down for nap and work while the Pilot and Liv went to see the new My Little Ponies movie. I taught a sweaty and fun barre class, and the Pilot grilled out on the patio for dinner. 

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Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos

For today, I have a new recipe for you! For this one, I was excited to try a new-to-me ingredient: jackfruit! I’d seen it floating around the internets for a while now, and it certainly piqued my curiosity as a plant-based *meat* option. (I’m not vegan, but I love vegan food.) When I saw that you could use it like shredded meat, carnitas tacos immediately came to mind.

Trying out jackfruit

I opened up the jackfruit and gave it a little bite to see what I was working with. I picked up the brined version in water, and it reminded me of hearts of palm (but a little less salty). 

Trying out jackfruit

I tried to shred it with a fork and knife, but it didn’t quite work. It was way easier to shred with my hands. I was shocked to see that it did indeed look like shredded meat. Kinda creepy, right?

Shredded jackfruit

I sautéed it up with the usual carnitas taco seasonings: oregano, onion, garlic, orange zest and orange juice, and it tasted amazing.

It was super easy to spoon the mixture onto corn tortillas

Shredded jackfruit carnitas tacos

Shredded jackfruit carnitas tacos! These are an easy, healthy weeknight dinner recipe. fitnessista.com

and top with some sliced avocado, chopped red onion and cilantro. 

Here’s the recipe for ya!

Shredded Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos
Yields 6
Shredded jackfruit carnitas tacos! These are an easy, healthy weeknight dinner recipe.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 20 oz jackfruit (brined in water), drained and shredded
  2. 1/4 red onion, small diced
  3. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  4. 1 teaspoon oregano
  5. 1 tablespoon orange zest
  6. Juice of 1/2 orange
For serving
  1. 6 corn tortillas
  2. Minced red onion
  3. Chopped fresh cilantro
  4. Sliced avocado
  5. Lime wedges
Instructions
  1. 1. Heat a large saucepan to medium heat and add a little olive oil to the pan. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant.
  2. 2. Add the jackfruit, oregano, and orange zest. Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. 3. Cook on medium for about 3 minutes, until heated through.
  4. 4. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange juice. Season with extra salt and pepper as needed.
  5. 5. Divide the mixture among the corn tortillas, and top with avocado, cilantro and onion. Plate with lime wedges.
Notes
  1. For a meaty version, you can use this same recipe with cooked shredded pork or cooked shredded chicken.
The Fitnessista https://fitnessista.com/
Shredded jackfruit carnitas tacos! These are an easy, healthy weeknight dinner recipe. fitnessista.com

You should definitely make this for your next Meatless Monday or Taco Tuesday, and let me know how it turns out!

Shredded jackfruit carnitas tacos 3

The only downside about jackfruit is that it’s not super filling. (One serving only has about 150 calories.) I’d definitely serve these with avocado and a side of beans (try my slow cooker recipe for the best black beans), to amp up the nutrient value and make them more satisfying.

So tell me friends: have you tried jackfruit before? What’d you think? Any awesome foodie finds lately?

xoxo

Gina

Looking for a workout? Try last week’s pumpkin workout! I’ll have a new one up this week, too.

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31 Comments

  1. Juliette | Namastay Traveling on October 10, 2017 at 8:04 am

    These look amazing! I’ve been hearing a lot about jackfruit recently but wasn’t sure how to incorporate it easily into a meal! Were you able to find it in a regular grocery store? I haven’t had much luck!

    • Fitnessista on October 10, 2017 at 10:31 pm

      no, i had to order it from amazon

  2. Stephanie S. on October 10, 2017 at 8:08 am

    I have tried jackfruit before! I was also really intrigued that it’s a “meat” option and is a whole food. I got some cans of brined jackfruit from TJs to try – one time I made carnitas, and one time I made a BBQ “pulled pork” type of recipe. I think it’s a great vegetarian/vegan option! I really liked the BBQ recipe. I need to try your trick of shredding it with your hands, though – it took me forever to do that with 2 forks.

    • Fitnessista on October 10, 2017 at 10:31 pm

      same! i’m usually not a huge fan of vegan “meat-like” products because they’re usually heavily processed and high in soy.
      i need to try it bbq style next time!

  3. Carrie this fit chick on October 10, 2017 at 8:29 am

    I’ve never tried jackfruit, but it looks JUST like pulled pork, wow! I think I’m a little intimidated to use jackfruit– its so odd to me!

    • Fitnessista on October 10, 2017 at 10:29 pm

      i was intimidated, too, but it was very easy to use!

  4. Bri on October 10, 2017 at 8:31 am

    I had jackfruit when I was in Indonesia –
    Not as a meal, just to try because it was so different. I recently saw it at Sprouts canned and I was surprised. I’ll have to try this recipe (though I doubt I could talk my husband into actually having some).

    • Fitnessista on October 10, 2017 at 10:28 pm

      i’m pretty sure there’s no way the pilot would have tried it. it was so good, though!

  5. Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food on October 10, 2017 at 9:13 am

    I’ve never tried jackfruit before, but I’ve been experimenting a lot with vegan food lately, so I’m totally intrigued!

    • Fitnessista on October 10, 2017 at 10:28 pm

      yes! it was so good 🙂

  6. Beks on October 10, 2017 at 9:45 am

    I saw Jackfruit at Price Chopper a few months ago, and it was like $38 (for the full fruit, not the stuff in a can). A bit rich for my taste, but if I saw this on a menu I’d definitely try it.

    • Fitnessista on October 10, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      yeah the price surprised me. i think the can was $14, which is a lot for canned food

      • Maria on October 10, 2017 at 11:29 pm

        You can find it at Trader Joe’s for $1.99 (20oz can)! I haven’t tried it yet but now I’m going to get it the next time I shop!

      • Anne on October 11, 2017 at 6:48 am

        At the Asian markets its only like $2

        • Anne on October 11, 2017 at 6:50 am

          The one I went to even had the fresh fruit sliced up so you could buy a smaller quantity.

    • Jaz on October 11, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      The fresh fruit is huge. If you can find it in the store they will generally have it cut like they do watermelon. Keep in mind, this is an excellent fruit as well. If you are going to use fresh jackfruit for meat replacement you will need to make sure that it is green (not ripe) others wise you will get the sweetness of fruit (which is great eaten fresh or in a smoothie).

  7. Emily @ Pizza & Pull-ups on October 10, 2017 at 10:29 am

    It really does look just like meat. I keep seeing it, but had been hesitant to try it. I will have to check it out!

    • Fitnessista on October 10, 2017 at 10:25 pm

      it was surprisingly good!

  8. Anne M Van Tongeren on October 10, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    I found a packet of Jackfruit stir fry (already made) in the vegan section at Meijer. So we tried it. Mostly you could only taste the spices, so it was ok. It doesn’t taste like meat. My biggest thing was I think I remember it has some fiber, but like most vegetables it had hardly any protein so I was not full at all after that meal! Maybe like you have it here with avocado would help give some satiety.

    • Fitnessista on October 10, 2017 at 10:25 pm

      yes, exactly! you need to add some other things to bulk it up, or otherwise it’s like flavored shredded air 😉

    • priya on October 17, 2017 at 10:06 pm

      i’ve tried a prepared jackfruit dish in the refrigerated section. it was okay, but nothing like making your own!! so don’t let that discourage you from trying it again.

  9. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on October 10, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    I have never seen jackfruit in a can. I need to look for this!

    • Fitnessista on October 10, 2017 at 10:24 pm

      amazon has it!

  10. Sam on October 10, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    I jumped on the jackfruit bandwagon pretty early because I’m a vegan! We use it as a pulled pork substitute with BBQ sauce or in tacos and have it pretty frequently. I have also had jackfruit poutine with cashew cheeze sauce from my favourite local vegan place and it is amazing! They basically make it like pulled pork and slather it in BBQ sauce, then put it over fries with green onions and the cashew cheeze sauce. Sooooo good.

    • Fitnessista on October 10, 2017 at 10:23 pm

      omggggg that sounds AMAZING

  11. Tiffany on October 10, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    LOVE jackfruit. Never tried tacos before, but my first time trying was with indian food- which I feel may be juuuuust up your alley 😉

    Don’t know what it was exactly because I had it out at a restaurant, but linking you a recipe I found through a quick google search. Please post about it if you decide to give it a crack at home!

    https://www.everydaymaven.com/2017/vegetarian-jackfruit-curry/

    xx

  12. Sara S on October 11, 2017 at 9:56 am

    i got jackfruit in cans from Trader Joes…$1.99 I think??? I’ve made BBQ jackfruit that the whole fam loved but have not done tacos yet. I’ll give these a try!

  13. Jennifer on October 11, 2017 at 10:00 am

    I am surprised you gave jackfruit a try. Not because they are bad (cover them in bbq sauce plz) but they don’t have much protein. Bummer.

    • Fitnessista on October 11, 2017 at 10:16 am

      yeah, i wish they did! i’m sure they have some nutrient value, but it’s really low-cal and not super satisfying

  14. Lauren on October 12, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    This looks delicious! Is there a link to your black beans recipe? Having some vegetarian friends over this weekend to watch the baseball play-offs and this sounds like a perfect meal 🙂

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