Carnitas Jackfruit Tacos

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For her jackfruit tacos recipe, Jocelyn Ramirez, cookbook author and chef at Todo Verde in Los Angeles, uses cumin, chile flakes, and salt to capitalize on the pulled-pork texture of jackfruit, transforming it into a plant-based taco filling that tastes like carnitas. Don't turn the jackfruit too often while it cooks; give it time to develop a golden brown crust for the best texture and flavor. Served with tart, creamy avocado salsa and lemon wedges, the spicy, crispy seared jackfruit tacos are a satisfying vegetarian meal.

Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Servings:
4

Ingredients

Avocado Salsa

  • 3 medium tomatillos, husks removed

  • 1 medium jalapeño, stemmed (seeded, if desired)

  • 1 medium Hass avocado, pitted

  • 1 cup packed fresh cilantro stems and leaves

  • 3 to 6 tablespoons water, as needed

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • teaspoon ground cumin

Jackfruit "carnitas"

  • 3 (20-ounce) cans young green jackfruit in water, drained, rinsed, and squeezed dry

  • ¾ cup neutral cooking oil (such as grapeseed), plus more as needed

  • 5 tablespoons fresh orange juice, divided

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Additional Ingredients

  • 10 (4- to 6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed

  • Pico de gallo, fresh cilantro leaves, and lemon wedges, for serving

Directions

Make the avocado salsa

  1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium. Add tomatillos and jalapeño; cook, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes.

  2. Place tomatillos, jalapeño, avocado, cilantro, 3 tablespoons water, lemon juice, salt, and cumin in a blender. Process until smooth, about 45 seconds, adding up to remaining 3 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed until a pourable consistency is reached. Season with additional salt to taste. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Make the jackfruit "carnitas"

  1. Using a knife, remove non-shreddable core from shreddable outer parts of jackfruit pieces; set aside. Remove any seedpods from shreddable parts, and add seedpods to pile of cores. Place shreddable jackfruit in a medium bowl, and shred with your hands into small pieces. Finely chop cores and seedpods until they are a similar texture to the shredded jackfruit; add to shredded jackfruit in bowl. Add oil, 21/2 tablespoons orange juice, cumin, oregano, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper; toss to evenly combine.

  2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium. Add jackfruit mixture; using a spatula, press into an even layer. Cook, turning and pressing occasionally, until seared and golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes, adding oil as needed. Remove from heat, and stir in remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons orange juice. Season with additional salt to taste.

  3. Place about 1/4 cup jackfruit mixture on each tortilla. Top with pico de gallo and cilantro. Serve with avocado salsa and lemon wedges.

    Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos
    Photo by Caitlin Bensel / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Make Ahead

Avocado salsa can be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 days.

Note

Find canned young green jackfruit in water at South Asian markets or online at grocerythai.com.

Suggested Pairing

Rich, malty beer: Shiner Bock

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