All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015
To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.
Flipping around on Pinterest the other day – I spotted a vegan tuna melt & the photo was SO convincing – I had to see WTF the tuna was made from. I should have guessed. Jackfruit. Just above is my Vegan Pulled Chicken with Jackfruit in a Sriracha and Blackberry Jam BBQ Sauce for the Slow Cooker. I was already aware of jackfruit being any incredible proxy for pulled chicken & pork but tuna had never crossed my mind. I had to try it!
FYI jackfruit is literally a fruit – a pretty flavorless fruit – that shreds like chicken & pork and TUNA!
Wikipedia says, “The jackfruit, also known as jack tree, jakfruit, or sometimes simply jack or jak) is a species of tree in the Artocarpus genus of the mulberry family. It is native to parts of South and Southeast Asia, and is believed to have originated in the southwestern rain forests of India, in present-day Goa, Kerala, coastal Karnataka, and Maharashtra. The jackfruit tree is well suited to tropical lowlands, and its fruit is the largest tree-borne fruit, reaching as much as 35 kg (80 lb) in weight, 90 cm (35 in) in length, and 50 cm (20 in) in diameter.
The jackfruit tree is a widely cultivated and popular food item in tropical regions of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Jackfruit is also found across Africa (e.g., in Cameroon, Uganda, Tanzania, Madagascar, São Tomé and Príncipe, Ethiopia, and Mauritius), as well as throughout Brazil, west-central Mexico, and in Caribbean nations such as Jamaica. Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh.
Because unripe jackfruit has a meat-like taste, it is used in curry dishes with spices, in Bihar, Jharkhand, Sri Lankan, Andhran, eastern Indian (Bengali) and (Odisha) and Keralan cuisines. The skin of unripe jackfruit must be peeled first, then the remaining whole jackfruit can be chopped into edible portions and cooked before serving. Young jackfruit has a mild flavor and distinctive meat-like texture and is compared to poultry. Meatless sandwiches have been suggested and are popular with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian populations.”
(these two images below of the jackfruit tree & the split fruit were stolen from Google)
Look at that label! Cheap & good for you! Jackfruit is found in every Thai market I have been into but you can buy it HERE on Amazon.
This recipe is really just a guide to use the jackfruit. Tuna salad is a dish people have lots of opinions on – from using sweet relish in it (yuck) to adding mustard or whatever. I will tell you what I did but you can just make this the way you would make your favorite tuna salad recipe.
I added one sheet of nori & about a TBS of the stuff below to add a seafood essence – and it worked. I might try it with just the nori next time as I would like to maybe lose the sesame element. You could try it without one or both or add kelp granules. Most recipes add mashed chick peas for density – and I did, too. The result was INSANELY convincing Not as specifically fishy as real canned tuna but the texture was spot on & all the other flavors of tuna salad were there. I recommend this very highly – especially to veteran vegans who have learned to be open-minded about vegan versions of things we all have visceral memories of.
Vegan Jackfruit Tuna Salad & Avocado
Makes about 2 cups tuna salad
1 (10 oz) can jackfruit – IN BRINE OR WATER (not syrup)
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans – drained
1 sheet nori
1 TBS roasted sesame & seaweed OR kelp granules (optional)
1 small onion – diced
2 celery stalk – diced
2 scallions – diced
1 TBS Dijon or other mustard (optional)
Vegan mayo (I used a lot – make a full cup of more – but the mayo ratio is up to you)
OR – whatever your favorite tuna salad ingredients are.
Drain the jackfruit & smash it by hand until it looks like tuna.
Prep the other ingredients.
Heat a TBS or so of olive oil in a pan & heat the jackfruit – not to cook it – but to dry it out. Put into a large bowl.
I pulsed the garbanzos & nori in my food processor but you can easily mash them together by hand.
Then just mix everything (except the avocado) together & season with S&P. Add as little or as much vegan mayo as you like.
Halve the avocados – remove the pit & scoop the “tuna” in there. Sprinkle with paprika & devour.