Jamaican jerk jackfruit tacos, made by simmering jackfruit in jerk seasoning, onions, peppers, fresh ginger, and citrus, and piling it up in a soft corn tortilla with toppings. This Jamaican twist on vegan tacos is sure to make you happy!
Using banana blossoms in my vegan crab cakes recipe reminded me that I haven’t been making enough jackfruit recipes lately. I think I psych myself out about having to clean and de-seed the jackfruit, but after finishing up that task I realized it only took a couple of minutes. Bonus: this time around I’ve including step-by-step photos for cleaning the jackfruit. See below!
These Jamaican jerk jackfruit tacos are inspired by a similar dish at a restaurant that sounded delicious but underwhelmed. I reconstructed the idea but with a different method of prepping and cooking the jackfruit and changes to the seasonings.
The tacos start with shredded jackfruit, habanero peppers, onions, garlic and fresh ginger. Traditional Jamaican jerk would use Scotch bonnet peppers, but I don’t usually have access to those. (I am, however, growing some in a planter on my porch this summer!) Habanero is a pretty good substitute in terms of having a flavor that’s a little richer and earthier than e.g. jalapenos.
After the aromatics are sweated down, I bloom some homemade Jamaican jerk seasoning, add a few other ingredients for umami, and put the Jamaican jerk jackfruit in a lightly toasted corn tortilla with some salsa, avocado, and other fixin’s. The result is a unique and satisfying plant-based taco that takes advantage of jackfruit’s best properties!
Jamaican Jerk Jackfruit Tacos
- 2 20 oz. cans green jackfruit in brine thoroughly rinsed and drained
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bunch scallions finely chopped; green and white parts divided
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 habanero pepper minced (see notes)
- 1/2 inch fresh ginger minced or grated
- 2 tbsp Jamaican jerk spice plus more to taste
- 2 tbsp freshly-squeezed lime juice
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar (or other sweetener)
- 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
To assemble Jamaican jerk jackfruit tacos:
- 6 corn tortillas warmed in a skillet if desired
- 2 ripe avocados diced
- 1 cup salsa of choice (pictured is mango salsa)
- fresh cilantro (optional)
- vegan mayo, sour cream, or other creamy dressing (optional)
- Start by prepping the jackfruit. Open the can and pour the jackfruit into a strainer; rinse well. Go through the jackfruit and remove all of the seeds and the compartments around the seeds (see photo for an example).
- Go through the jackfruit and use your fingers to pull it into "shreds". Set aside any pieces that do not shred easily - generally the thicker stem pieces (see photo for an example). Use your knife to finely chop these pieces and mix them back in with the shreds.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the white parts of the scallions, garlic, habanero pepper, and ginger, along with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the scallions are translucent.
- If needed, use a towel to pat excess liquid from the prepped jackfruit. Then add the jackfruit to the pan and stir. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for another 5-6 minutes or until the jackfruit has dried out somewhat.
- Add the Jamaican jerk spice to the pan and stir to combine. Cook for about 60 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add the lime juice, tomato paste, coconut sugar, soy sauce, and liquid smoke (if using) to the pan, and stir. Simmer until most of the liquid is cooked off, about 15 minutes. Stir in the rest of the green onions. Season to taste with additional salt, Jerk spice, lime juice and soy sauce. Serve hot.
To assemble Jamaican jerk jackfruit tacos:
- Take each corn tortilla and fill it with a large scoop of Jamaican jerk jackfruit. Top with diced avocado, salsa, and cilantro and sauce if desired.
Recipe inspired by my jackfruit carnitas and African Bites.
I’ve never seen tinned jackfruit around me – only whole ones. How would the recipe change?
Shannon @ Yup, it's Vegan says
Canned jackfruit is usually unripe, fresh jackfruit is going to be sweeter and have a fruity flavor. I haven’t had the chance to test my jackfruit recipes with it yet but I imagine you would need to reduce the sweetener in the recipe a little bit and try to find the most unripe jackfruit that you can. I’m not sure what other prep steps would be needed but I hope it works out!
You are a hero! I’ve never cooked with jackfruit before so thanks for the pictures in the recipe! I looove Jamaican food so much and these looks SO GOOD!!
I tried this out because it looked like real Jamaican jerk. The seasoning was spot on and it was sneaky spicy just like I wanted. I would recommend using a juicy pureed salsa because I used a chunkier one that wasn’t as liquidy and wanted a little more “juice” in my tacos. However it was still really good.
I wish you could post your version of the BBQ jackfruit sandwich! We absolutely love your carnitas and really liked this jerk jackfruit too. I think you just have the magic touch lol.