Sweet, smoky, and tangy, these jackfruit sliders are a great vegan alternative for your next BBQ cookout.
Jackfruit used to be a real specialty ingredient. We remember seeing one for the first time at a Vietnamese grocery store in Los Angeles. It was absolutely massive! At the time, we had no idea what you would do with such a giant piece of fruit. But over time we started seeing it being used as a meat alternative at a lot of vegan restaurants. Now canned jackfruit can be found in most major grocery stores.
One of our favorite ways to use jackfruit is in “pulled-pork” style sliders. The fibrous fruit offers a very similar texture when cooked while also lending softly sweet flavor notes. When slathered in your favorite BBQ sauce, the effect is entirely convincing (and delicious).
Use your favorite BBQ sauce, or make it from scratch using the recipe below, which we developed to be vegan-friendly. Many traditional BBQ sauce recipes rely on brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce, two ingredients that can be vegan but are not always. Not all brown sugar is vegan-friendly, so instead, we substituted maple syrup. There are several vegan Worcestershire sauces out there, so check the ingredients list to make sure the one you’re picking up isn’t made with anchovies and/or fish sauce.
The process to make these sliders is pretty straight forward. The longer the BBQ sauce has to sit and simmer the better. This will cook down the raw tomato flavor and start to really bring out all those great seasonings. Salt is another important component to a great BBQ sauce. We’ve given some measurements below, but you should tasting along the way to match your personal preference.
On a sunny summer afternoon, these jackfruit sliders are the perfect addition to your BBQ menu.
Vegan BBQ Jackfruit Sliders
Makes 4 servings (25 minutes of preparation)
- 1 small yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 20oz can green jackfruit, drained
- Salt & pepper
- 4 buns
- 1 (6oz) can tomato paste
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon liquid aminos (can sub soy sauce)
- 1.5 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 head cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 small carrot, shredded
- 1 handful of cilantro, chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegan mayo
In a small pot, add the tomato paste, water, maple syrup, oil, apple cider vinegar, vegan Worcestershire sauce, liquid aminos, smoked paprika, mustard powder, hot sauce, and garlic powder, and salt to taste. Stir to combine, then bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer until slightly thickened, 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the onion. Saute until beginning to soften, then add the drained jackfruit and about ½ teaspoon salt. Cook until the jackfruit begins to brown on the edges, using your spatula or spoon to break the jackfruit apart.
Once the jackfruit is done, add the BBQ sauce to the skillet and toss to coat. Add salt as needed.
Prep the slaw by adding the cabbage, carrot, and cilantro to a bowl and toss with the vegan mayo.
To assemble, divide the jackfruit filling between the 4 buns, then top with the slaw. Enjoy!