This jackfruit burger is fully of tangy, sweet BBQ flavor and topped with spicy guacamole.
Sometimes only a burger will do. Am I right? I've made recipes for chicken fried tofu burgers and crunchy TVP burgers, but this recipe is something a bit different. It's a vegan version of a pulled pork burger. And, BBQ jackfruit burger is arguably better than it's non-vegan pulled pork counterpart.
You might be wondering, "what is jackfruit, and why is it such a popular meat substitute?" Jackfruit is a large tropical fruit that's grown in Asia, Africa and South American. Under its bumpy skin, jackfruit has a stringy, meaty interior that's similar to the texture of pulled pork. Jackfruit's ability to quickly absorb other flavors has made it a popular meat substitute in tacos, nachos, curries and burgers (like this one!)
💚Reasons You'll Love This Recipe
💚It's super smokey and full of flavor without all the fat of pulled pork.
💚It's family friendly. Kids love this jackfruit burger!
💚Jackfruit is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and other essential nutrients.
💚You can customize this burger to your hearts content. Instead of guacamole top with coleslaw or pickled onions.
💡What Is Jackfruit? And, Where Do You Find It?
Jackfruit is a tropical fruit that's native to South Asia but is now cultivated in various tropical regions around the world. It's the largest tree-borne fruit and has a distinctive appearance with a green, spiky outer skin. Inside, jackfruit contains numerous fleshy yellow pods, which are the edible part of the fruit.
When ripe, jackfruit has a sweet and tropical flavor, reminiscent of a blend of mango, pineapple, and banana. However, it's the unripe or green jackfruit that's used in savory dishes like this jackfruit burger. Green jackfruit has a neutral taste and a meat-like texture that makes it a versatile cooking ingredient. It can be cooked and shredded, resembling pulled pork or chicken, making it a popular ingredient in vegetarian and vegan dishes.
You can find jackfruit in different forms, including fresh, canned, or frozen. In areas where jackfruit is grown, you can typically find fresh jackfruit in local markets or grocery stores, especially during the jackfruit season. Canned jackfruit, both in water or brine, can be found in many supermarkets and Asian specialty stores. You can also find frozen jackfruit in some stores.
- BBQ Sauce: You can use your favorite store bought BBQ sauce. Or, make my easy vegan BBQ sauce that you'll find on the recipe card below.
- Olive Oil: We will be using a small amount to saute the onions and jackfruit in before adding the BBQ sauce.
- Red Onion: Red onion is the perfect addition to anything with BBQ sauce, and a jackfruit burger is no exception! The deep, sweet caramel flavor of sauteed red onions really give this recipe an added flavor dimension.
- Jackfruit: Choose young, unripe jackfruit, which most grocery stores stock in cans or packets. Discard the inner seeds, but there's no need to discard the hard outer part of the fruit. Simply cut it into smaller pieces along with the part of the jackfruit that shreds easily.
- Avocado: We'll be making a simple, spicy guacamole. So, be sure to get an avocado that's nice and ripe.
- Lime Juice: Lime juice is needed to keep the avocado from oxidizing and turning brown. Plus, it's what gives this guacamole it's zesty, tangy taste.
- Jalapeno Chili Pepper: Chili pepper gives this burger a bit of heat. If you don't like spicy foods, feel free to omit it.
- Coriander/Cilantro: The fresh, almost citrus flavor of cilantro (or coriander depending on where you live), is the classic complement to creamy avocado.
- Salt: Salt naturally enhances all the other flavors.
- Burger Buns: To ensure the bread you choose is vegan, check out my article "Can Vegans Eat Bread?"
🔪How To Make A Jackfruit Burger
- If you're making your own BBQ sauce, make that first. Simply combine all the ingredients listed on the recipe card below in a small bowl. If you're using store bought BBQ sauce, check that it's vegan, and you're good to go.
- Drain and rinse your jackfruit. Discard the hard inner seeds and shred the rest (even the hard outer bits!) with your hands or two forks.
- Heat your olive oil in a non-stick saute pan over medium heat. Saute your red onion and jackfruit for 5 minutes.
- Now pour in your BBQ sauce and add a ½ cup of water. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the pulled BBQ jackfruit for 15 minutes.
- While the BBQ jackfruit is simmering away, make your guacamole. In a medium sized bowl, smash the flesh of your two avocados . Squeeze the juice of your lime in and mix well. Now add your chopped coriander and minced jalapeno chili pepper (if using).
- Toast your burger bun lightly.
- Optional garnishes include tomatoes, red onion and lettuce. If you want to add these to your burger, go ahead and chop them now. Tip: Mexican quick pickled onions would be fab on this burger!
- Assemble your jackfruit burger by starting with the jackfruit. If you're adding tomato and lettuce, you can add that now, and top it all of with a big scoop of spicy guacamole. You could also top this burger with my sweet kale coleslaw.
You can make the pulled jackfruit ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. After cooking and shredding the jackfruit, allow it to cool completely. Place it in an airtight container or sealable bag and store it in the fridge. This allows the flavors to meld together and makes it easier to assemble the burger when ready to serve.
If you want to store the pulled jackfruit for a longer period, you can freeze it. Once cooked and shredded, let the jackfruit cool completely. Place it in a freezer-safe container or bag, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Frozen pulled jackfruit can typically be stored for up to 2-3 months. When ready to use, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
It's best to assemble the jackfruit burger just before serving. This ensures the bun and toppings stay fresh and the burger maintains its texture and flavor. If you have stored the pulled jackfruit in the fridge or freezer, reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave before assembling.
- Use the pulled jackfruit as a filling for tacos. Serve it with warm tortillas, along with toppings like salsa, avocado, shredded lettuce, and vegan sour cream. The jackfruit's texture and BBQ flavors really complement tacos. Check out my birria tacos to see this principle in action.
- Serve your jackfruit burger with a side of crispy carrot fries. These fries are flavorful and slightly sweet. They're a delightful contrast to the BBQ flavor of the jackfruit burger.
- Serve your jackfruit burger with a cool salad like this cucumber avocado salad.
- The smokey flavor of jackfruit would really complement this cucumber gazpacho.
🙋Frequently Asked Questions
Jackfruit is a healthy addition to your vegan diet. It's loaded with vitamins and minerals, and unlike pulled pork, it's fat free.
I would recommend making your pulled BBQ jackfruit ahead of time , and storing that in fridge. It will keep for about five days in an airtight container. Then, you can pull it out, and assemble the rest of the burger.
You can make the BBQ jackfruit ahead of time and store that in the freezer. It freezes very well. It should stay fresh in the freezer for up to three months. Defrost it in the fridge, reheat it in the microwave or in a pan on the stovetop, and assemble your burger.
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Jackfruit Burger With Guacamole
For The BBQ Sauce
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke *or tamari sauce
- ½ teaspoon Sriracha sauce
- ½ teaspoon pepper
For The Guacamole
- 1 lime juiced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon jalapeno chili pepper minced
- 1 tablespoon coriander chopped
For The Jackfruit Burger
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red onion finely chopped
- 1 20 oz can jackfruit drained and rinsed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup water
- 4 burger buns lightly toasted
- red onion
- Make the BBQ sauce by mixing together all the BBQ sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
- Drain and rinse the jackfruit. Prepare it by ripping it apart with your hand (or two forks). Discard the hard inner core.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan, and add the jackfruit and red onion.Season with salt. Saute for 5 minutes. Add and BBQ sauce and ½ cup of water and lower the heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Make your guacamole by smashing the flesh of the avocados in a medium sized bowl. Squeeze the juice of one lime in, and add the chopped jalapeno peppers and coriander. Mix well
- Lightly toast the burger buns.
- Assemble the burgers by dividing the BBQ jackfruit amongst the four buns. Layer with guacamole and optional garnishes