Jackfruit Banh Mi

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This vegan jackfruit banh mi is so filling and flavorful, you won’t even notice that there isn’t any meat. Bonus, you can serve as a traditional sandwich or as a banh mi bowl over brown rice! This recipe can be made with soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos depending on your allergies; as always, please see the recipe modifications section for other soy sauce alternatives.

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I’ve been wanting to play around with jackfruit for awhile. With my daughter’s allergies (most nuts and legumes, including soy) there is no way for our family to fully adopt a vegan diet. So I was excited by the idea of creating a vegan meal that would be filling and safe for the entire family.

First up- what is jackfruit? Jackfruit is a tropical fruit grown in Asia, Africa and South America. Its the largest tree fruit in the world and mimics the texture and consistency of pulled pork surprisingly well. It is rich in vitamins and fiber and low in calorie. It shouldn’t surprise you, however, that the protein is nowhere near what you would expect to get from a similar sized portion of meat (the sandwich was still filling enough though, don’t worry). You can typically find jackfruit canned at gourmet grocery stores like Whole Foods, or you can find young jackfruit on Amazon. My sister in law turned me on to this non-canned jackfruit version from Amazon, I used what I needed for this recipe and froze the rest for a later use. Allergy warning: those who are allergic to latex or birch may also have an allergic reaction to jackfruit- please keep this in mind.

This recipe calls for some rare or uncommon ingredients, but don’t let that scare you off. This jackfruit recipe is easier to make than you think. Here are a couple of tips about the ingredients though. Lemongrass- if you’ve never cooked with it, please take a look at this link for a quick tutorial for how to prepare. You should yield about 1-2 teaspoons per lemongrass stalk. Sambal Oelek is a traditional Indonesian chili sauce that is chock full of flavor and absolutely necessary for a number of recipes. In it’s traditional form, it should really only be chili peppers, vinegar and salt, but some brands have hidden soy and even shrimp ingredients. I used Sky Valley Organic Sambal Oelek since it is allergy friendly. Thai red curry paste is easy to find at most supermarkets these days, but can also be found on Amazon. Thai Kitchen brand is also allergy friendly.

Start by preparing the jackfruit. I found that it’s best to prepare it a few hours ahead of time, or even the day before to allow for the fruit to really absorb all of the wonderful flavors. Using your hands, tear apart the pieces of jackfruit until they are the consistency of pulled pork- it’s pretty simple to do. In a medium dutch oven saute the shallot in the avocado oil until softened. Stir in garlic, ginger and lemongrass and cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add coriander, tomato paste, chili paste and sambal oelek and stir until fragrant, another minute. Stir in the prepared jackfruit, tamari sauce (or coconut aminos- see recipe modifications for substitutes), agave, rice vinegar and lime juice. season with pepper and ground cloves. Bring the mixture to a low boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Cover and let rest for a few hours or overnight.

cooked banh mi jackfruit
cooked jackfruit

Make the pickled vegetables. With a mandoline, thinly slice the radishes and red onion. Peel the carrots and cut into quarters vertically (into large matchsticks) and then thinly slice the quarters with the mandoline. Follow my recipe for quick pickled onions, adding in the sliced radish and carrot sticks. Let rest for at least 30 minutes. While the pickled vegetables rest, make the sriracha aioli. In a small bowl combine vegan mayo, horseradish and sriracha. Set aside.

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Return the jackfruit to the stove top and warm on low heat. When warmed through, assemble the banh mi. To assemble the sandwiches, slightly toast the gluten free bread. Place 3/4 cup cooked jackfruit on the bottom. Top with sliced cucumber, cabbage, and pickled vegetables (onion, radish, carrot). Drizzle vegan sriracha aioli and garnish with sliced cilantro and jalapenos (if using). Serve immediately and enjoy

jackfruit banh mi sandwiches with vegan sriracha aioli and pickled vegetables

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Yield: 5 banh mi sandwiches

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Rest time: minimum 1 hour, preferably a few hours or overnight

Jackfruit Banh Mi Sandwich ingredients

For the Jackfruit:

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, soft insides diced ( watch this tutorial if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2-1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek
  • 1 teaspoon thai red curry paste
  • 4 cups shredded young jackfruit
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • juice of half a lime (1-2 teaspoon)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos (see recipe modifications for more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

For the pickled vegetables:

  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water

For the sriracha aioli:

  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo (check ingredients to avoid soy if that is a concern)
  • 1/2 teaspoon bottled horseradish
  • 2-1/2 teaspoon sriracha

For the sandwiches:

  • Gluten free baguette or sandwich buns (can also serve over brown rice)
  • 1 cup sliced red cabbage
  • 1/2 English cucumber, sliced
  • chopped cilantro for garnish
  • jalapeno sliced (fresh or pickled)- optional

Jackfruit Banh Mi Instructions

  1. Tear the jackfruit pieces apart with your fingers to mimic the appearance of shredded meat. set aside
  2. In a medium dutch oven, warm the oil over medium heat and saute the shallot until translucent. Add in garlic, ginger and lemongrass and saute until fragrant. Stir in coriander, tomato paste, sambal oelek and curry paste until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the prepared jackfruit, soy sauce (or tamari or coconut aminos), agave, vinegar, lime juice, pepper and cloves and stir to combine. Bring to a low boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and rest for at least an hour, but preferably for a few hours or overnight.
  3. Prepare the pickled vegetables using my quick pickled onion recipe, adding in the onion, radish and carrot to the jar. Rest for at least 30 minutes
  4. Prepare the aioli. Combine the vegan mayo, horseradish and sriracha in a small-medium size bowl and set aside.
  5. Assemble the sandwiches. Return the jackfruit to low heat to warm. Once warm, lightly toast the baguette/ buns. Place 3/4 cup of jackfruit mixture on the bottom of the sandwich. Top with sliced cabbage, cucumber, pickled vegetables and jalapeno (if using). Drizzle with the sriracha aioli and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve immediately and enjoy

Recipe Modifications

  • Gluten Allergy: Use Ocean’s Halo brand soy free soy sauce or replace the soy sauce with a gluten free tamari sauce, coconut aminos or liquid aminos
  • Soy Allergy: Make sure to use Ocean’s Halo brand soy free soy sauce
  • Tree nut (coconut) Allergy: Stick with soy sauce or tamari sauce

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