Before we get to the meatiness of this post, I have an exciting announcement! LP of the Skimming the Ocean blog was the random lucky winner of the Allison's Gourmet giveaway!! (LP, I left a comment on your blog, but please shoot me an email and we'll work out the deets. My email is in my Blogger profile).
Now, can you guess what's in this bowl? It's not meat. And it's not even fake meat. Any guesses?
Would you believe it came from this can?
What you see there is jackfruit in brine, a weird Asian fruit that's not sweet when it's packed in salty brine. In fact, it doesn't have much of a flavor at all. It comes in wedges, almost like a pineapple, but when you rub them between your fingers, it shreds into something that looks exactly like pulled pork barbecue.
Of course, it doesn't start out with that sexy barbecue color that you see above. It looks pale and off-white, like the picture on the can. But I finally jumped on the vegan jackfruit taco bandwagon of a few years ago and made Melisser's recipe for Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos from the Vegan Girl's Guide to Life. You can also find the recipe here on her old Urban Housewife blog:
After simmering in the Crock Pot overnight with fresh onions and garlic, salsa verde, chili powder, cumin, and other spices, the jackfruit tastes exactly like shredded beef. Even the texture was pretty spot on from the way I remember pulled pork. Granted, I've not had pulled pork in 17 years, but ...
I topped my tacos with leftover vegan rotel dip, avocado, tomato, lettuce, and tequila-lime salsa. On the side, I made a batch of my Raw Mexican Rice:
I really want to share this recipe, but I developed the dish for a VegNews.com article I'm working on. So you'll just have to wait, but I'll definitely link to the article here as soon as it goes up. I can tell you that the "rice" is actually raw butternut squash shredded in the food processor. The dish was inspired by Ani Phyo's Walnut Cranberry Squash Rice from Ani's Raw Food Kitchen, but I completely changed the add-ins and used Mexican spices.