Nobody will believe that these carnitas are actually made from a tropical fruit. Jackfruit is sautéed with garlic and then simmered in a spicy sauce, allowing it to absorb all of the flavors. This recipe uses canned jackfruit in syrup, so it ends up sweet and spicy at the same time and then it's topped with tangy quick-pickled red onions. Just remember to let the jackfruit sit overnight — the flavor payoff is worth it.

Jackfruit Carnitas With Pickled Red Onions [Vegan]


For the Jackfruit:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 20-ounce cans jackfruit in syrup, rinsed and shredded
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

For the Pickled Onions:

  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns


For the Jackfruit:

  1. Add olive oil to a heavy-bottom pan (preferably a cast iron skillet). Heat up the oil on medium.
  2. Add the rinsed and shredded jackfruit and garlic to the pan. Sauté until the garlic is fragrant.
  3. Pour in vegetable broth, lime juice, ketchup, and Sriracha. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Add onion powder, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, and salt. Continue to simmer on low, until the majority of the liquid is cooked out. You want the jackfruit to still be moist, and not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Take off the heat and pour into a medium bowl. Cool down to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator overnight. This step is optional, and of course, you can eat it right away, but it tastes better when it has time to marinate.
  6. If you heat up the next day, over medium heat, add about a tablespoon of olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Add the jackfruit. Spread out so it’s one even layer. Without stirring, let it cook for 3-5 minutes, then flip. It’ll brown up/caramelize a bit. Repeat once, after flipping. Take off heat.
  7. Serve in tortillas, top with fresh cilantro and pickled onions, plus anything your heart desires.

For the Pickled Onions:

  1. Add the sliced onions to a medium bowl.
  2. In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, add water, vinegars, agave nectar, salt, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Pour over the onions. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 1 1/2 hours, stirring with tongs every 15 minutes.
  3. Put the onions in a mason jar with a lid. Close tightly and set in the refrigerator until chilled.

Nutritional Information

Total Calories: 1538 | Total Carbs: 293 g | Total Fat: 30 g | Total Protein: 6 g | Total Sodium: 2656 g | Total Sugar: 20 g Note: The information shown is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.


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