BBQ Jackfruit Sweet Potato Mac

BBQ Jackfruit Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese (Vegan)

When I make vegan mac n’ stuff, I aim for creaminess, a little sweetness, a little tang, and tasty mix-ins if I’m in the mood. If I can achieve those things then it takes the focus squarely off of whether it tastes like dairy cheese. That way we can just focus on eating. I know I’m not alone when I say that I would rather be putting food in my mouth than arguing about cheese substitutes. Yea or nay?

The crazy thing about this sweet potato sauce is that it has that almost neon-orange color that bears a kind of unfortunate resemblance to Easy Mac. But looks can be deceiving! This BBQ jackfruit sweet potato mac is sweet, savory, and spicy, all at once. Doctor it up even more with your favorite spices, and as always, season to taste. The salt and acid will definitely need to be adjusted depending on the size and variety of sweet potato used.

BBQ Jackfruit Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese (Vegan)

As far as the BBQ jackfruit goes, I would stick with a barbecue sauce that’s more spicy/tangy rather than sweet. That will help the two components here to complement each other as much as possible. I almost always buy Stubb’s BBQ sauce, the spicy kind. I love sauces that are made with tamarind – it’s a really unique and toothsome taste. All Stubb’s sauces are vegan except for the honey flavor. They are all-natural and sold at Whole Foods as well as my local supermarket. Not a sponsored plug, just a product that I like :).

BBQ jackfruit method adapted from Luminous Vegans. Sweet potato mac was tweaked up by me, but inspired by The Kind Life/Detoxinista/others that I’ve seen around the internet.

BBQ Jackfruit Sweet Potato Mac


    For the BBQ jackfruit:
  • 1 can of young jackfruit in water or brine, rinsed and drained
  • about 1/2 c. barbecue sauce of choice
  • For the sweet potato mac:
  • 8 oz. whole wheat pasta (or gluten-free pasta if needed)
  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato, cooked and peeled
  • 1/4 c. raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 c. plain, unsweetened nondairy milk
  • 1 tb. lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar
  • 1/2 tb. soy sauce/tamari/liquid aminos
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tb. prepared mustard
  • (optional) a few drops liquid smoke
  • (optional) 2 tb. plain, unsweetened nondairy yogurt
  • 2 tb. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tb. tapioca starch
  • additional salt, pepper, and acid to taste
  • chopped fresh cilantro or green onions, for topping (trust me!)


    For the BBQ jackfruit:
  1. Slice off any hard ends of the jackfruit pieces and discard. Rub the pieces of jackfruit between your fingers to separate them and remove any seeds.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the jackfruit to a small saucepan or skillet, and add enough BBQ sauce to coat. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the briney taste is gone from the jackfruit.
  3. Spread the jackfruit out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat, and bake for 10 minutes or until it starts to dry out and crisp up. Remove and set aside.
  4. For the sweet potato mac:
  5. Cook the whole wheat pasta to al dente, according to package instructions, and drain.
  6. Add the sweet potato, cashews, garlic, and a couple of splashes of the nondairy milk to a blender or food processor, and blend until completely smooth.
  7. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until combined. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
  8. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it thickens slightly, 2-3 minutes. Fold in the cooked pasta and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  9. Serve topped with BBQ jackfruit and cilantro or green onions.

BBQ Jackfruit Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese (Vegan)

Soo… no more sweet potato recipes for a while, I promise =]. Shared on Healthy Vegan Fridays.

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  1. says

    This looks so delicious! I haven’t tried jackfruit but my boyfriend has raved about how great it tasted after eating it at both Native Foods Cafe and Sage Vegan Bistro. I bet he would love this dish!

  2. Beth says

    Love your blog! I think I stumbled upon it while browsing recipes on Pinterest. I was wondering where you buy your jackfruit. This recipe looks so delicious (like all of yours on here), and would love to try my hand at jackfruit, but I’ve not been able to locate it during my food shopping adventures. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Beth – thanks so much! I’ve heard that sometimes people can find jackfruit at Whole Foods.. I’ve never seen it at my local store, though. I ended up buying a pack of 4 cans of it on eBay because I had been wanting to try it for a while. Shipping was a little pricey, it was not really ideal. Sorry, I wish I had a better answer to this!


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