Cilantro Pesto Shredded Jackfruit

If you’ve never cooked jackfruit it can seem intimidating, weird and just confusing. Don’t fret. It’s really easy. Jackfruit absorbs the flavors of whatever you cook with with so you can do this with any sauce, really. If you hate cilantro just use a regular basil pesto for a more Italian feel… or use whatever herbs you like! 

If you’ve never tasted it before it has the texture of a shredded meat (like chicken or pork) but without the greasy animal yuckiness. It doesn’t have much flavor on its own but when cooked in a flavorful broth and then mixed with a good sauce it takes on the flavors like a champion. It’s a wonderful vegan meat substitute and worth finding! (You can find it in Asian markets or buy it online here!) 

(makes 2-4 servings. Double it and freeze any leftovers!) 

  • 1 can young green jackfruit in brine, drained
  • 2 cups vegan broth (preferably “chicken” flavored but whatever you have works.)
  • 1 batch of cilantro pesto, recipe below

Prepare the jackfruit – Drain the jackfruit and rinse well. Chop up the pieces of jackfruit into smaller chunks. 

Bring the broth to a boil and add in the jackfruit. Turn it down to a simmer and cook until most of the broth has been evaporated – about 15 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid. Mash all of the jackfruit up with a fork until it has a shredded texture. You could also pull it apart with your hands once it’s cool enough if you like. 

I like to “fry” it in a dry hot nonstick pan for several minutes to brown it a bit but it is not necessary. Mix in the pesto once it is cooked to your liking and take off the heat. Use in whatever you like! It’s a natural in any Mexican dishes like burritos, tacos, enchiladas, etc but also good in a pasta salad, on top of baked potatoes, or on top of your favorite salads. 

Cilantro Pesto

  • 1 cup cilantro, packed
  • 1/2 cup pepitas, toasted (you can also use almonds)
  • juice 1/2 lime
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeds removed (optional)
  • salt to taste 

Blend everything until smooth. Add additional water as necessary and make sure you add salt to taste at the end. 

*To toast the pepitas or almonds spread them out in a single layer on a baking pan. Bake at 350 until toasted – no time posted here because you need to just watch them because they can go from lovely toasted to burnt very easily.