Vegan Jackfruit Tuna Salad & Avocado

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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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!

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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.[9]

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)

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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.

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Vegan Jackfruit Tuna Salad & Avocado

Makes about 2 cups tuna salad

INGREDIENTS

1 (10 oz) can jackfruit – IN BRINE OR WATER (not syrup)

1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans – drained

olive oil

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)

Avocado halves

S&P

Paprika (optional)

OR – whatever your favorite tuna salad ingredients are.

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DIRECTIONS

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.

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Spicy Jalapeno Pizza with Avocado & Cilantro

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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There are not many things in the world that are better than pizza.  It is infinitely customizable & can accommodate vegans, people with gluten intolerance, and veggie haters of all kinds.  I have posted MANY pizzas.  You can look HERE & scroll through them.

This is a very straight-forward pizza with nothing especially original going on but it really was delicious.  I used real fresh mozzarella & THIS No-Rise Thin & Crispy pizza dough recipe.  I like this dough because (despite the instructions) I just throw everything in my bread machine & once it is a formed dough – I get to rolling it out so that I can get to shoving pizza in my face as soon as possible.

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Spicy Jalapeno Pizza with Avocado & Cilantro

Serves one.  Who are we kidding?

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough (I used 1/3 of THIS recipe)

Pizza sauce (I used Rao’s Arrabbiata)

Fresh mozzarella (or vegan alternative) (I used about 10 ciliegine – the balls about the size of a big gumball)

2 jalapeno peppers – seeded & sliced thinly

1/2 avocado – cubed

Cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 500 degrees.  Make sure it has reached full temperature before baking your pizza or it will not come out as crispy.

Roll your dough out & place it on a lightly greased cooking sheet or – as I always do – place it on parchment paper on a cooking sheet.  Nothing sticks to parchment & it smells nice cooking & it looks pretty when it browns.

Top with sauce, cheese & jalapeno.

Bake about 12 minutes – give or take – or until it is done to your preference.  Ovens vary as much as personal tastes so this is not a science.

Top with avocado & cilantro.

Shove it in your face whilst making gluttonous sounds & occasionally growling at imagined pizza thieves.  Wash it all down with copious alcohol.  Go on Facebook and settle grudges.  Feel intense self-righteousness & personal gratification.  Promise to repeat the process tomorrow.

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Vegan Mushroom, Lemon & Lentil Salad with Arugula

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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So – I saw this photo above on Pinterest & became obsessed.  The original recipe can be found at Delicious Everyday.  I was drawn to it because I love every ingredient in it but also because the photo was so beautiful.  It can be very difficult to photograph dark food in a way that looks appetizing and I think Delicious Everyday did a far better job than I did with capturing the beauty of this recipe.  What none of our photos convey is the simplicity & over-the-top deliciousness of this salad!!!  It comes together in just the time it takes to cook the lentils & it might be the best combination of flavors I have every experienced.  Seriously.  An outrage!  But – if you don’t like mushrooms or arugula – you are SOL.  These top my list of favorite ingredients so I was in heaven.  I used French lentils but any lentils will likely do – just do not overcook them.

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Mushroom, Lemon & Lentil Salad with Arugula

Serves 2

Ingredients
2 cups water (I added a truffle bouillon cube to the water.  Any vegetable stock would work.)
2 tbs olive oil
10 oz  mix of button and portobello mushrooms, sliced (I used 8 oz of shitake – because that is what I had and they were small so I did not slice them.)
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
¼ tsp chili flakes, or more to taste (I used 1 TBS)
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs good quality extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
½ cup arugula (I used 1 packed cup)
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DIRECTIONS
  1. Begin by cooking the lentils. Place the lentils and water (or stock) in a saucepan and bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender (the package might give you more specific directions but shoot for JUST cooked & not overcooked). Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Place a large frying pan over a high heat and add 2 tsp of olive oil. When the pan has come to heat add the mushrooms. Leave for 1 to 2 minutes before stirring. The mushrooms should be lightly golden. Cook for a further minute before removing from the pan. Reduce the heat to medium low and return the mushrooms to the pan and add the garlic and chili flakes and cook for 2 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant, but not browned as it will taste bitter. Set aside to cool.
  3. Toss the lentils, mushroom and garlic together along with the lemon juice and the extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste and add the parsley and rocket just as you’re serving.
Notes
Don’t slice the mushrooms too thinly (I did not slice mine at all). You want them to have a bit of substance and also you don’t want them to dry out when they are cooked over a high heat.
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