These pulled jackfruit carnitas or “little meats” are so good and easy to throw together! Braised in orange juice and caramelized at the edges under the broiler, they make the best filling for meatless tacos topped with your favorite fresh salsa or chimichurri sauce and can be used as an incredibly delicious vegan filling for burritos, enchiladas, tamales, rice bowls or quesadillas.
Jackfruit Carnitas or “little meats”
I topped mine with a blood orange salsa since tis’ the citrus season but throughout the year I’ll make seasonal variations: topped with an avocado mango salsa, pineapple salsa, cabbage slaw, heavy drizzles of chimichurri and even this chive pesto. This recipe never gets old nor boring, keep it in your back pocket!
Recipe Ingredient Tips
- The Jackfruit – Make sure to use canned, green unripe jackfruit pieces packed in water or brine not syrup. Drain and rinse well and for the most tender results also boil it in plain water for 10 minutes.
- Orange Juice – It’ best to use freshly squeezed orange juice, it has the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.
- Maple Syrup – Just a little drizzle over the top of the carnitas before broiling. This will help achieve the nice caramelization and crispy edges in no time.
- Seasonings – beside the traditional orange juice flavoring I used a store bough mix of Mexican seasonings, which is a savory blend of cumin, onion and garlic powders, paprika, coriander, oregano and red chili pepper. You can season to taste with a mix of those spices from your own spice drawer, or use any taco seasoning you love.
- What is jackfruit? – A giant (up to 50 lb), tropical, prickly green fruit from Southeast Asia. It’s a sustainable, good for you kind “plant based meat” option that once cut, cleaned and cooked resembles shredded pulled meat and soaks up flavors like a sponge. Rich in dietary fiber, vitamin-C, B-6, niacin, riboflavin, and folic acid this should be a pantry staple in our homes.
- What does jackfruit taste like? – When picked green unripe, jackfruit is a bland canvas ideal for absorbing all kinds of savory flavors from spices and sauces you wanna season it with. It reminds me of mild flavored artichoke hearts. When fully ripe the inside flesh has a beautiful yellow color with a strong scent, the flavor is very sweet and tropical and reminiscent of a cross between mango, pineapple and banana. This is why we only use the unripe fruit in savory recipes.
Although I prepare my “carnitas” on the stove top and finish under the broiler, you an certainly throw everything (but the tortillas and toppings) in your Instantpot, Slow-cooker or Crockpot.
- Potato Jackfruit Stew
- Vegan Ribs
- Jackfruit Pot Roast
- Corned Jackfruit “beef”
- Hearty Vegan Stew with Gnocchi
- Jackfruit Fried “Chicken”.
how to make jackfruit carnitas tacos video
Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos
- 2 x 16 oz can green jackfruit in water (drained & rinsed)
- 1/2 yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic -minced
- 1 splash water + more as needed
- 1.5 tbsp Mexican seasonings salt free
- 1.5 cups orange juice freshly squeezed
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 pinch sea salt - to taste
- 1.5 tbsp maple syrup + more to taste
- 1 lime -quartered
- 12 mini corn tortillas (organic, non GMO)
Blood Orange Salsa
- 4 blood oranges
- 1/2 lemon - juiced
- 2 scallions - chopped
- 1 chili pepper (green or red) - chopped
- 1/3 cup cilantro leaves - roughly chopped
- 1 pinch sea salt - to taste
- Drain and rinse the jackfruit pieces. Transfer to a saucepan, cover with water and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. (If your jackfruit Is already super tender you can skip this step, however I find that texture Is not consistent throughout brands so I suggest boiling it for extra tender melt in your mouth results.)2 x 16 oz can green jackfruit in water
- Heat up a heavy bottom pot over medium flame. Add a a splash of water (or olive oil) and saute the onion with a tiny pinch of sea salt until translucent, about 5 minutes.1/2 yellow onion, 1 splash water
- Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes, Mexican seasonings and the jackfruit. Pour in the orange juice and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook on medium-low flame for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by half and the jackfruit is tender to your liking. Season to taste with sea salt and remove from heat.2 x 16 oz can green jackfruit in water, 4 cloves garlic, 1.5 tbsp Mexican seasonings, 1.5 cups orange juice, 1 pinch red pepper flakes, 1 pinch sea salt
- Using the back of a fork press down on the jackfruit. It will fall apart and shred into thin pieces.
- About 10 minutes before the jackfruit is done remember to preheat the broiler.
- Find a broiler proof dish/tray and transfer the shredded jackfruit together with all the juices to it in one layer. Drizzle all over the top with the maple syrup then broil for a few minutes until crispy at the edges to your liking.2 x 16 oz can green jackfruit in water, 1.5 tbsp maple syrup
- Remove the jackfruit carnitas from the broiler and at this point you can drizzle them with a little olive oil if you must have that rich traditional meaty carnitas flavor. (Omit the oil for WFPB diet compliance).
Prepare the Orange Salsa
- Use a sharp knife and cut the peel and pit off of the oranges. Slice and dice them into 1/2 inch cubes and transfer to a bowl with the scallions, chili pepper and cilantro leaves. Season to taste with sea salt and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.4 blood oranges, 2 scallions, 1 chili pepper (green or red), 1/3 cup cilantro leaves, 1/2 lemon
- Warm up the corn tortillas to your liking then pile them up with the jackfruit carnitas and orange salsa! Serve with lime wedges on the side.1 lime, 12 mini corn tortillas
- Make sure to use canned green jackfruit packed in water or brine not syrup. Rinse well and discard any tough pieces.
- Boiling the Jackfruit - If your jackfruit Is already super tender you can skip this step, however I find that texture Is not consistent throughout brands so I suggest boiling it for extra tender melt in your mouth result.
- Cooking Methods - If desired, I suspect you could also throw everything (but the tortillas and salsa of course) in your Instantpot, Crockpot, Slow-Cooker or Pressure-Cooker then broil the carnitas when ready to eat.
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