DDD #45 – Vegan Pulled Pork Jackfruit in a Sriracha and Blackberry Jam BBQ Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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

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The video for the stovetop version is here.  The slow cooker one is far below.  Click the image below to watch the stovetop recipe.

Vegan Pulled Pork Jackfruit in a Sriracha and Blackberry Jam BBQ Sauce (Stovetop)

Serves 2


Drizzle of olive oil

1 (20 oz) can of young jackfruit – drained & shredded by hand

1-2 garlic cloves – chopped

2 tsp cider vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard

A few dashes of soy sauce or tamari

1/3 cup ketchup

1 TBS blackberry (or other dark berry) jam or preserves or chutney

1 TBS Sriracha

1 tsp molasses

A few dashes vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional)

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp chili powder


Heat a little bit of oil in a pan.  Add the shredded jackfruit & the remaining ingredients & combine.  Heat through & serve as you desire.

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That above is jackfruit.  It is a staple in Southeast Asian diets.  It is a giant fruit that grows to 100 pounds.  If you want to read more about it – I went into some detail in my Vegan Jackfruit Spicy Szechuan Dan Dan Noodles post.  Those are the noodles – below.

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I bought this jackfruit in cans for $1.39 at my favorite Thai market – Bangluck – but I hear most Asian markets carry it.  Just be sure to buy UNRIPE or young jackfruit in water or brine.  Ripe jackfruit in syrup – it seems – tastes like Juicy Fruit gum & would be awful in this dish.

I made this in the slow cooker using a combination of jackfruit & Beyond Meat vegan chicken strips.

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Both the jackfruit (above) & chicken will require that you shred it using two forks to achieve the pulled chicken visual.  It is easy once they are warmed & soft.  Just fish them out of the BBQ sauce & shred them on a cutting board.

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I used it in tacos – HERE.

And on pasta – HERE.

And on pizza HERE.

Vegan Pulled Chicken with Jackfruit in a Sriracha and Blackberry Jam BBQ Sauce for the Slow Cooker

Serves 6


2 (20 oz) cans of young jackfruit

9 oz vegan chicken (or two more cans jackfruit)

4 garlic cloves – chopped

2 TBS cider vinegar

2 TBS Dijon mustard

1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari

2/3 cup ketchup

1/4 cup blackberry (or other dark berry) jam or preserves

3 TBS sriracha

1 TBS molasses

2 TBS vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional)

1 (12 oz) bottle of dark (or other) beer (optional)

2 tsp smoked paprika

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS garlic powder

1 TBS chili powder

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Put everything in the slow cooker & leave on high for 5 hours.

At some point – you need to use two forks & shred the chicken & jackfruit.

Serve as you would serve any pulled chicken.

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Easy Vegan Butternut Mac & Cheese with Kale for the Stove Top

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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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This is a very easy dish & it is really yummy.  I wanted to make a vegan mac & cheese without cashews & without nutritional yeast – because cashews are calorie dense & because nutritional yeast just isn’t for everybody.   The flavor of this dish is dominated by the butternut squash – but it is a really mild flavor.  Squash is kinda sweet, though, so I thought this needed more salt than I would typically use – to balance that sweetness.  I also used boatloads of Crystal hot sauce (my favorite brand).  Because the bulk of the “cheese” is really squash – this is a much lighter dish than a regular mac & cheese would be – so you can really go fucking nuts shoving it into your face – in an effort to, at least temporarily, fill the gaping hole in your heart.   And then you can pat yourself on the back for eating the (mysteriously trendy) kale that the recipe calls for.  Or – you could give the finger to leafy-green-eating hipsters & blow off the kale – or use spinach or peas or fried sage.  After all – emotional eating is different for all of us & your aching soul wants what it wants.  It is the holidays.  Give in.  Use this creamy carb porn to suppress things that would probably go away if you faced them but who needs that shit?  Facing things?  Leave that to the hipsters, too, while you eat this pasta out of the pan with a serving spoon and think hurtful things about man buns, full beards & whimsical mustaches.  Might as well bust out the liquor, too.   Then, do what I do, and nurse a bottle of champagne while watching doc after doc about people who have it worse than I do.  Human rights violations & Jonestown & international women cruelly subjugated.  The Holocaust.  Rare or incurable diseases.  And then think about how good you actually have it & bust open a second bottle of bubbly to celebrate.    Works for me.

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Easy Vegan Butternut Mac & Cheese with Kale for the Stove Top

Serves 4-6 (or one really depressed person)


1 lb macaroni (or other pasta) – cooked according to directions

1 medium butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cubed

2 TBS vegan butter

2 TBS flour

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other vegan milk)

1/2 cup vegan cream cheese

1 vegetable bouillon cube (optional)

2 tsp mustard powder

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS garlic powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 head kale – ribs removed & chopped (optional)


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Cook your pasta.

Boil some water & cook the squash until it is very soft – maybe 15 minutes.  Drain.

Melt the butter in a stock pot & whisk in the flour.  Add the bouillon cube & then add the milk in small increments, melting the bouillon cube but also not adding more milk until the roux is thick & bubbly.

When you have used the full cup of milk, blend the roux with the squash and cream cheese.  I had to add a little more almond milk to get it to blend – but be careful it doesn’t get too thin.  Add the spices (I added mine later (as the photos show) but that was because I was winging it.  If you add them in the blender – they will blend in better.  Season with S&P.  Blend until very smooth.

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When the pasta is done, drain it & return to the pan.  Stir in SOME of the butternut sauce.  I say some because there might be too much – depending on how wet you like your mac & cheese.  Save a little – to pour on top of the mac & cheese when you serve it.  Stir in the kale until it wilts.  You can heat this on the stove – if things have cooled to much – but be careful not to burn it.  Season again with S&P & serve with a few tablespoons of butternut sauce on top.  Voila!

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Fast and Easy Stove Top Vegan Mac and Cheese

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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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I have never had a vegan mac & cheese that I liked.  In fairness, I think the only one I have tried was the mock Kraft at Doomie’s here in Hollywood.  Their vegan Big Mac (above) is a revelation but the mac & cheese is underwhelming to the extreme.

There are lots of ways to make vegan mac & cheese.  Some use raw cashews, soaked overnight & pureed.  Others use sweet potatoes.  This one uses carrots, potatoes & nutritional yeast.  Nutritional yeast has many health benefits and can be purchased in bulk at health food stores & places like Whole Foods.  It is a yellowy, flaky powder & has a nutty cheesy flavor and – it seems – is one of those things you either love or hate.  This mac & cheese tastes primarily of nutritional yeast so, if you are a hater, you won’t like this.  Lots of blogs recommend easing into using nutritional yeast slowly & developing a palate for it.  I liked it right away and so did my friend, Rose, so you might fall into that category, too.  You can dip your finger in some & taste it to see where it falls for you on the flavor appeal scale.

I could not find raw cashews so I used roasted ones & just boiled them along with the vegetables.  It worked fine.

This is a very creamy dish & seems pretty healthy – as mac & cheese goes.  I just need to impress upon vegan newbies that this does not taste like Kraft or cheddar.  It is a very reasonable substitute – like Diet Coke for Coke or Garden burgers for real burgers.  These things do not trick anyone into believing they are the real thing but they are great substitutes.  I will admit – I used a boatload of Crystal hot sauce on mine & it helped a lot.  That isn’t really a cheat because I use hot sauce on all mac & cheese.  So – if there are things you like on your regular mac & cheeses – use those things on this one, too.

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Fast and Easy Stove Top Vegan Mac and Cheese

Serves 2-3 depending on appetite


12 oz dry pasta

1 cup raw potato (I used fingerling but any white potato will do)

2 carrots

1/3 cup cashews (raw or roasted)

1/2 cup vegan butter

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

3 TBS coconut milk

Pepper to taste

Smoked paprika

Parsley – chopped

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Cook the pasta according to directions.

Meanwhile – boil the carrots, potato & cashews until the veggies are very soft.  Puree them in a blender (adding a small amount of water, if necessary) with all the remaining ingredients (except smoked paprika & parsley).   Puree until it is very creamy.

Drain the pasta & toss with the sauce.  It is just that easy!

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8 Ingredient Spicy Chili – Vegetarian or Vegan (Slow Cooker or Crock Pot or Stove Top)



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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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.


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vromans back

There are still a few left! PERFECT book for your anti-Valentine’s Day book club meeting!

Buy a signed and LETTERED (hence – limited to 26 copies) copy of my book FROM THE LINK BELOW, and get copy of the short on DVD & 3 signed bookplates so you can give three people signed copies as gifts. The cost will be $25 which will include DOMESTIC shipping.

First come – first serve. When the 26 are gone – that is it. Buy ASAP if you want to be sure to get the templates for your gift giving this season!



I post that inspiration above because it has special resonance for me lately.  2014 (and this will be short – don’t worry) was a transformative year for me & the reasons are thus:

Someone unexpected saw things (good things) in me that I did not see in myself & gave me a life-changing opportunity.  It was a huge challenge for me but one I needed in more ways than one and my gratitude is profound.  The lesson here for me (and, possibly, you) is to trust when others try to elevate you (or support you – in any of the forms support can come in).  Don’t let fear of change or doubt in yourself sabotage you.  Accept opportunity.

Yet another unexpected person saw things (bad things) in me that simply do not exist.  Like a castrating parent, this person cut me down at every opportunity & relentlessly tried to cast me in a role that has nothing to do with who I really am.  Unlike my previous example, where I had to trust I could live up to the lofty expectations of the supportive person, in this case, I had to trust myself and know I could not & would not ever live down to the gutted expectations of the unsupportive person.   The lesson here for me (and, possibly, you) is to trust yourself when others try to drag you down.  Don’t let fear of change or doubt in yourself sabotage you.  Reject negativity.

It might sound trite or over-simplified and maybe – in this case (because I am being deliberately vague) – it is.  But the details of my experiences might just confuse how the inspiration could be applied to your own lives.  Sometimes, people we trust betray us.  Sometimes strangers step in and save our lives.  Stay open.  Absorb the good whenever it comes your way – even if it comes in a way you find awkward or embarrassing or undeserved.   Reject the negative when it inevitably comes your way – even if it comes from someone you trust completely and especially if the negativity becomes familiar and RUN – really fucking run – if the negativity starts feeling comfortable and deserved.

Surround yourself with what you WANT.  If that can’t be the best job or kindest people – then use pets & books & movies & art & nature & fitness & good food.

I will end my rant with this one bit of advice that can be applied to everything from your sock drawer to your social life.  Usefulness & beauty are infinitely interpretable.  So simple.  So easy.  Apply the advice above & below & make 2015 a great year.

Happy new year!


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On Christmas Eve, the badass Miles Miller & I were guests at a friend’s house.  We brought lots of goodies, including my Seven Layer Dip – seen just above.  We called Uber & loaded several bags of food & wine into the trunk & headed to South Pasadena.  When we arrived, we unloaded our groceries, thanked the driver & headed inside but not before both Miles & I noticed him inspecting his trunk.  Seems he wanted to be sure nothing had rolled out of the bags that would require him driving back to give us back our lost bag of chips or something.

Thirty minutes later, our hosts kept handing one of us a Food 4 Less bag & saying, “Here are your groceries.”   Since it did not belong to me or Miles, I finally inspected the bag’s contents.  There was a small bottle of shampoo, three small bottles of Arrowhead water & two cans of corn.  “This is your corn & shit, Rose,” I said.  Rose informed me that, in fact, the bag was not hers, either.

So, yeah.  Seems we stole our Uber driver’s little sack of bits & ends right out of his trunk.  He hadn’t been looking in his trunk to be sure we left nothing behind.  He was looking for his Goddamn corn & shampoo!  I texted Uber to explain but nothing ever came of it.   I just hope that driver didn’t have the worst Xmas eve ever when he returned home to an irate & thirsty wife with dirty hair and craving canned corn kernels — or needing them for a Christmas dinner favorite.  Oh, well.

Life gave me corn.  I made chili.  Chili, clean hair and motherfuck if I am not hydrated by those Arrowhead babies.  See how I accept the positive now – no matter the form in which it comes?

So – anyway – to this recipe.  Yeah.  I cheated & used this chili fixin’ thing.

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In fairness, I am not 100% certain it is vegan.  Ingredients are:

Gluten Free Ingredients

Cooking Sauce: Water, Diced Tomatoes (Water, Distilled Vinegar, Chipotle, Tomato Paste, Salt, Red Chile Flakes, Spices, Onion, Garlic), Natural Flavors, Chili Pepper, Salt, Garlic, Distilled Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar, non-GMO Corn Starch, Less than 0.5% of: Pepper Paste (Distilled Vinegar, Red Pepper Salt), Onion

Spice Pack: Chili Pepper, Salt, Brown Sugar, Spices, Jalapeno

“Natural flavors” could be anything so if you are staunchly vegan/vegetarian, maybe use a packet of taco or other seasoning that you are comfortable with.  If you do this, maybe add a 14 oz can or Rotel or other chopped tomatoes as well and be prepared to maybe add salt & cumin and/or oregano & chili powder – to taste.  Maybe even a half cup or so of your favrite BBQ sauce.  I used this bagged stuff in an odd moment of laziness – even though I know what spices to use & I know these things have WAY too much sodium etc.  Sorry – but I am not above just going for the cheat once in a while.

I left this in my slow cooker for ten hours.  That proved to be too long & sorta turned this soupy nothingness below – into a dried out & nearly scorched mess.  I saved it by adding the 30 oz can of beans I list in the ingredients but do not let this shit sit for 10 hours.

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8 Ingredient Spicy Chili – Vegetarian or Vegan (Slow Cooker or Crock Pot or Stove Top)

Feeds 4 very heartily


12 oz Stubb’s Chili Fixins (or other brand that you like & whose ingredients suit your diet) OR use a TBS or two of taco or other seasoning that you are comfortable with and add a 14 oz can or Rotel or other chopped tomatoes and be prepared to maybe add salt & cumin and/or oregano & chili powder – to taste – and a 1/2 cup of some BBQ sauce you like.

12 oz beer (or veggie stock)

1/2 onion – diced

1/2 cup tomato sauce (I used some homemade I had around but your favorite brand is fine) – optional

9 oz vegan chicken or beef (I used chicken) – I always opt for Beyond Meat brand as it is THE BEST

2 cups cooked or canned chick peas (or other beans you might prefer in chili)

2 (15 oz) cans of corn – preferably stolen from an Uber or Lyft driver

1 (30 0z) can of chili beans or other kind of beans you think might suit chili – but not baked beans or anything is a sweet sauce

Olive oil (skillet stove top only)

Garnish ideas – cooked rice, grated cheese, diced onion, cilantro, hot sauce, avocado, chopped tomato, jalapenos – whatever!

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I put everything into my slow cooker & set it on low for ten hours (which was about 5 hours too long).  I did not drain the corn or beans.

If you use a slow cooker – set it on high for about 3-4 hours & check for moisture levels – adjusting the heat & length of cooking time to suit your taste.  If it gets too dry – add water.  If it is too wet, raise the heat and/or take the lid off the cooker while cooking.

Stove top – I would saute the onion in a TBS olive oil or butter (or vegan alternative) in the skillet until soft & then just add the rest of the stuff & simmer until the moisture level suits your taste – likely 30-45 minutes.  To get there faster – drain any canned items first before adding them.

Eat it like a chili or over rice & garnish at will.  Mmmmm!

Happy new year!

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