Jackfruit is all the rage in the plant-based world. This Southeast Asian fruit has red, stringy fibers, making it a spot on substitute for shredded meats in dishes like tacos, carnitas, and sloppy joes. Jackfruit is rich in vitamin C and fiber, and contains some trace minerals, too. It is often used in sweet desserts, such as jams, juice, and fruit desserts. Look for the canned unsweetened variety of jackfruit for savory dishes.

Look for canned jackfruit in your natural food store or online.

For this month’s Recipe Redux challenge of building a better taco, I decided to pull out my can of jackfruit from the pantry and create a flavorful, healthy plant-based taco for the ages. You are sure to satisfy any carnivore’s palate with this plant-based rendition. I’m really proud of this creation—it’s so easy; you can whip this recipe up in 30 minutes, too.

Yields 6 tacos

Jackfruit Black Bean Quinoa Tacos (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
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    Avocado Crema:
  • ¼ cup cashews, soaked in water*
  • 1 small lime, juiced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 small avocado
  • 3-4 tablespoons soy milk, unsweetened
  • Salt (as desired, optional)
  • Jackfruit Carnitas:
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small jalapeno, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 14-ounce can jackfruit, unsweetened, drained.
  • ¼-1 teaspoon hot sauce (depending on your taste preference)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 small limes, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, gluten-free, reduced sodium
  • Salt (as desired, optional)
  • Quinoa and Black Beans:
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 15.5-ounce can Cuban-style black beans, drained
  • 1 cup cooked rainbow quinoa
  • Salt and pepper (as desired, optional)
  • Toppings/Base:
  • 6 small corn tortillas
  • 1 ½ cups finely shredded red cabbage
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. To make Avocado Crema: First, *soak the cashews for 20 minutes in water. (Prepare remaining steps in this recipe while the cashews are soaking.) Drain off water and add cashews, along with lime juice, garlic, paprika, and avocado to a blender container. Add 3 tablespoons soy milk and process until smooth. May add additional soy milk if needed to make a smooth, creamy texture. If desired, season with a pinch of salt (optional). Transfer to bowl.
  2. To make Jackfruit Carnitas: While cashews are soaking, prepare this step. Heat olive oil in a skillet and sauté onion, jalapeno, and garlic for 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, and oregano and stir well. Add the drained jackfruit, breaking it apart into strands with a fork while it is cooking (about 2 minutes). Add hot sauce (adjust for your preference of spiciness), tomato paste, lime juice, and soy sauce. Continue to cook, breaking apart jack fruit with a fork, for an additional 4 minutes, until vegetables are soft, seasonings are well blended, and jackfruit is separated into strands. Remove from heat.
  3. To make Black Beans and Quinoa: While you are cooking jackfruit carnitas, heat a small skillet and add olive oil. Add drained beans and cooked quinoa. Stir and heat for about 5 minutes, until heated through. May add a pinch of salt and pepper, if desired (optional). Remove from heat.
  4. Prepare toppings: Roast corn tortillas in a toaster oven or the top rack of the oven for about 3 minutes for open-face or folded crispy tacos, or heat them in a pan for 2 minutes for soft tacos.
  5. To prepare tacos: line tacos with a layer of cabbage, black beans and quinoa, and jackfruit carnitas. Top with a dollop of avocado crema and garnish with cilantro.


May serve all fillings and toppings in individual serving dishes and let guests build their own tacos.

Avocado Crema: Nutrients Per Serving: 73 calories, 2 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 1 g sugar, 5 mg sodium

Jackfruit Carnitas: Nutrients Per Serving: 74 calories, 2 g protein, 17 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 2 g sugar, 84 mg sodium

Quinoa and Black Beans: Nutrients Per Serving: 110 calories, 6 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g sugar, 103 mg sodium

Toppings/Base Nutrients Per Serving: 57 calories, 2 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 1 g sugar, 14 mg sodium



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