Jackfruit Carnitas

I was so excited to find jackfruit at my local natural foods store, Terra. It was in a can on the bottom shelf. I had wanted to try cooking jackfruit ever since sampling some at similar store, Natural Grocers, in their deli section. I enjoyed a similar BBQ sandwich more recently at Mud Pie Vegan Bakery (along with a delicious cupcake!!). It was very surprising that a fruit could resemble a traditional meat dish so closely.

I found a recipe for Jackfruit Carnitas online, and chose the simple version. I accidentally poured in more than a teaspoon of cinnamon, looking at “2t cumin”. So it was a bit more than a “pinch cinnamon.” Oh well–I just went with it, figured I’d see what happens. After everything seemed about ready in the pan, I added some drained, rinsed white beans (I had already used the aquafaba and had been waiting for an opportunity to use the beans!) and sprinkled on some garlic powder and taco seasoning, then mixed and let it heat in the pan.

I served it for myself and catboy, who was quite pleased with the dish. I mentioned the cinnamon mistake after he tried it, and we agreed it wasn’t such a bad mistake (although I wouldn’t intentionally use that much cinnamon again without changing some other things). I asked him to rate how similar to the corresponding meat dish he believed the jackfruit to be (0=nothing like meat at all, 10=there is no way this isn’t 100% authentic animal flesh) and he gave it an 8. I then asked him to rate how much he liked it, just in general (0=the worst thing ever, 10=his new favorite, he’ll eat it all day) and he said he didn’t love it, but he liked it and I should make it again, solid 6. Then just for fun, I requested he rate it within his known vegan repertoire (so don’t compare it to chipotle with actual meat, or anything else with animal products) and he gave it an 8.

I loved that it was low-calorie enough to be able to add beans or a tortilla. I hope to find a recipe that is more like the BBQ sandwiches I have had before, but I’ll make this again (minus most of the cinnamon!). I will probably bring this to a family BBQ and see what my meat-loving parents and siblings think of it. I wonder if I could trick them into thinking it’s not vegan/vegetarian…

Have you ever passed of a vegan dish as omnivore-friendly?