What shreds like pork, absorbs flavor like tofu, and packs more nutrients per serving than both? Jackfruit! Jackfruit is an incredibly versatile tropical fruit that is grown throughout Southeast Asia. When ripe, it gets sweet, sticky, and yellow-orange and is used in a variety of sweets. For those of us growing up in the eighties, I would liken it to a stick of juicy fruit gum. Unripe, or green, jackfruit is most often used in savory dishes. I find the flavor is most similar in taste and texture to artichokes or hearts of palm. The fruit can grow up to 50 pounds, and can be quite a mission to prep.
Luckily for us, it’s pretty easy these days to find green jackfruit in convenient cans, all prepped and ready to go. Maybe you’ve seen these cans at Whole Foods or Trader Joes but weren’t sure what to do with it. Let these Jackfruit Bowls be your introduction to this nutritional powerhouse. And don’t be scared by the lengthy list of steps; the components can all be made ahead of time. Whip up the sauce, pickle the veggies, and cook the jackfruit over the weekend, and then you have a meal ready to go in minutes during the week. (Calling all meal preppers!)
Make the Jackfruit Bowl Components
I love making grain bowls because it’s a chance to load them up with all kind of flavors and textures for an exciting meal. These pickled veggies add a nice tang. And you can make them a couple days before you make the jackfruit bowls. Just let them sit in the fridge, marinating away. They will still have a nice crisp crunch.
Let it sit for 15 minutes, and drain it, squeezing to get out all the liquid. Then add the seasoned rice vinegar, sesame oil, and minced garlic.
Jackfruit Bowl Sauce
This sauce is a thick, well balanced blend of flavors. A little Sambal Olek chili sauce for heat, hoisin for umami depth, a blend of red and rice vinegar for a mild tanginess…some ketchup, Worcestershire sugar, and garlic round out this Asian take on a BBQ sauce. Just mix everything up and keep refrigerated until you’re ready to make the jackfruit bowls.
Cook the Jackfruit
I start by draining the brine from the jackfruit. Then I simmer it in a pot of water until tender, about 5 minutes. Check with a fork and make sure you can easily pierce the jackfruit. Depending on the brand you are using, you may need to simmer the jackfruit a little longer to get it fork tender. Then I drain it and set it aside while I sauté the aromatics.
What you end up with looks very much like shredded pork. Many years ago, before green jackfruit was even a thing, we were asked to use it to make some appetizers for a wedding. We ended up using it as a filling for Chinese style steamed buns, but a couple of the wedding guests were imagining the jackfruit as a filling inside of soft rolls, like a shredded BBQ pork sandwich. That too would be fantastic! If you are making this ahead, keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Assemble Jackfruit Bowls
Depending on my mood, I will make this with rice as the base, or quinoa, just follow the package directions. Cauliflower rice is a great option too, if you want to add even more veggies to your bowl.
I also like to add cucumber and avocado, for color and texture, and then garnish with chopped herbs and scallions. Line up all your toppings to make assembling the bowls a breeze.
I let everyone add their own sauce at the table. Any left over is wonderful with a simple grilled chicken or maybe scoop some into a soft roll and call it a day! I hope these Jackfruit Bowls become your gateway to all the deliciousness that jackfruit has to offer. Try them and let me know what you think. Rate and leave a comment on the recipe down below, and show off your bowls by tagging us @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!
- 1 can young green jackfruit
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
- 1 Tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ large yellow onion, diced
- ¼ head green cabbage
- 1 small carrot
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
Sauce to serve on the side:
- ¼ cup hoisin
- ½ Tablespoon sambal olek (or any garlic chili sauce)
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (use coconut aminos if vegetarian)
- 2 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons ketchup
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- 6 cups cooked rice, quinoa, mixed grains or cauliflower rice
- 1 avocado, diced
- ⅓ european cucumber, sliced thin
- Chopped cilantro
- 1 stalk of scallion, chopped
- 4 tablespoons crispy shallots (optional, purchase at an Asian market)
Make the pickled vegetables:
- Peel and then cut the carrot into three logs. Slice the carrot very thin, stack the slices, and then cut across the slices to yield thin matchsticks (julienne). Put the carrots into a large bowl.
- Peel off any discolored or tough outer leaves from the cabbage. Shred the cabbage as you would for coleslaw, very thinly with a knife or with a food processor. Then put it into the bowl with the carrots and toss with the salt. Let the cabbage mixture sit for 15 mins., tossing occasionally.
- Drain the cabbage in a colander, squeezing the cabbage tightly to remove excess liquid.
- Place the cabbage back in the bowl and add the seasoned rice vinegar, garlic, and sesame oil. Stir to combine. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use. The cabbage will keep for several days.
Make the sauce:
- Combine the hoisin, sambal olek, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned rice vinegar, ketchup, and sugar in a bowl.
- Stir to combine.
- Set aside or refrigerate until jackfruit bowls are ready to serve.
Make the jackfruit:
- Open the can of jackfruit and drain the brine. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil on high heat. Add the jackfruit, lower the heat to medium high, and simmer for 5-7 minutes. It should be easy to pierce with a fork when done. (Continue to simmer for a couple more minutes if needed.) Drain the jackfruit and set it aside.
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil and the chopped onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the onions have softened and are starting to lightly brown. Add the garlic and ginger and stir to combine.
- Next add the jackfruit and break it up with a masher or a fork. Add the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, salt, and sugar. Stir to combine. Bring the contents to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and remove from the stove.
- Cool the jack fruit and refrigerate if not using right away. The jackfruit can be kept refrigerated for 3 days.
Assemble the bowls:
- When ready to serve, divide the rice, grains, or cauliflower rice into 4 large bowls.
- Top evenly with jackfruit, avocado, cucumbers, and pickled cabbage.
- Garnish with some chopped scallion, cilantro, and fried shallots. Serve jackfruit bowls with the sauce on the side.
Keywords: meal prep, jackfruit, avocado, pickled vegetables, vegan, plant based, grain bowl, rice