BBQ Jackfruit Sammie

For your next party!

BBQ Jackfruit Sammie

My introduction to jackfruit as a meat substitute came several years ago from my friend and culinary mentor Chad Sarno of Wicked Healthy. He made jackfruit carnitas that knocked my socks off! From that point forward I used it in many dishes and therefore keep my pantry stocked with at least 2 or 3 cans at all times. It’s important to get the canned jackfruit in brine which is unripe and NOT sweet. I love fresh jackfruit, but it doesn’t work as a meat substitute. And careful not to get the canned jackfruit in syrup because it is not meant for this dish!

Also, there are now several brands selling their own pre-seasoned jackfruit like Upton’s Naturals and Trader Joe’s. I have not tried them and this recipe is easy enough to make on your own.

We are lucky to have access to several Asian markets that sell canned jackfruit in brine, but I usually get it from Trader Joe’s. Some Whole Foods carry it at a higher price.

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BBQ Jackfruit Sammie

recipe from Lisa Rice's Kitchen Plantastic


2-3 cans unripe jackfruit in brine (from asian market or Trader Joe’s), drained and rinsed

1 large onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

(optional) 1-2 T Bone Suckin’ seasoning, dry rub steak seasoning, (or 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, and 1 tsp chili powder blend)

1-2 cups BBQ sauce (oil-free brands include Bone Suckin’ Sauce, Austin’s Own and Trader Joe’s Kansas City BBQ Sauce)

(optional) 1-2 T hot sauce

Vegetable broth (1/2-1 cup)

For sammie:

Buns of choice (I like the Ozery multigrain and the Ezekiel buns. TJs has really nice soft whole wheat burger buns that contain oil)

Sliced dill pickles

For The Slaw:

1 bag (or 3 cups) shredded cabbage slaw mix

2 sliced scallions

1/4 cup chopped cilantro or flat leaf parsley

Vegan Mayo (see recipe under sauces) – as much as you need to coat the cabbage

optional: add these to the slaw with the mayo: drizzle of rice vinegar, date, maple or agave syrup, 1 -2 tsp dijon mustard, generous sprinkle of onion  and garlic granules, salt & pepper to taste


Drain the jackfruit and gently break it apart into shreds in a bowl using your hands.  You can chop off the tougher tips and remove the seeds if you want to, but I don’t bother. Once they cook down with everything else you don’t even notice them. Toss the shredded jackfruit with your dry seasonings and let it sit while you prepare everything else.

Heat a wide pan on medium high heat. While you wait for it to heat up, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the onion to your pan, stirring frequently until it turns translucent, splashing in a little veggie broth as needed to prevent sticking, then add the garlic and cook another minute or two until fragrant.  Add jackfruit, mix to coat. Stir and cook until some of the moisture cooks out and the jackfruit begins to get a little dry. It’s ok if some sticks to the bottom of the pan.

Add bbq sauce (and hot sauce if using) and stir to coat, adding just a touch of vegetable broth to loosen up the sauce. Stir and reduce heat to a low medium, cover and let it simmer, and braise for 15-20 minutes, checking frequently and adding a little more veggie broth if it starts getting too dry – but not too much!

Make your slaw by adding everything to a bowl and mixing well until the cabbage is coated.

Check the jackfruit, stirring through and removing the lid. The sauce should have reduced, but shouldn’t be sticking to the sides.

To assemble, spoon a generous pile of BBQ jackfruit onto each bun and top with slaw and pickles and a few drops of hot sauce if desired.

Lisa Rice

Sr. Health Mentor & Director of Content and Promotion