I had never used or even known about jackfruit until taking classes in culinary school.  The jackfruit is a species of tree from the mulberry and fig family and is quite sweet. 

Canned jackfruit has a more neutral flavor and takes on the flavor of the spices you use while cooking it.

Make sure you rinse it thoroughly in a strainer before you cook with it because it is sometimes packed in water and lime juice and the acidity of the lime will throw off the flavor balance of your dish.

The reason we use jack fruit in vegan cooking is because of its texture, which is like shredded pork.  When you add spices to the jackfruit it takes on the flavor of the dish, in this case chili.  You can use it in tacos, soups or stews and you won’t miss the meat.  It’s low in calories (50 calories per half cup serving). This is also one of those dishes that tastes great the next day, so feel free to make this the night before and just reheat in a pan before serving.  Top with any fresh topping you like on your chili.  My favorite are the shredded corn tortilla strips, vegan sour cream, chopped onion and cilantro.  If you’re not a fan of cilantro, you can use fresh flat leaf parsley.

Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans Jackfruit, preferred brand Native Forrest
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 2 t. cumin
  • 1 t. ground coriander
  • 4 T. agave nectar (this will remove the bitterness of the tomato)
  • 5 t. salt
  • 1 28 oz. can of chunky tomato sauce, recommended brand Muir Glen
  • 5-6 grinds fresh black pepper

Tortilla Garnish

  • ½ T. olive oil
  • 1 corn tortilla
  • Pinch of paprika
  • Pinch of salt

Other Toppings

  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Onion, chopped (green, red or white)
  • Vegan sour cream


  1. Drain the jack fruit in a strainer and rinse thoroughly
  2. On low to medium heat sauté chopped onion until softened and translucent, about five minutes
  3. Add jackfruit and break it up with wooden spoon or spatula until it is in shreds. It will look like shredded pork when thoroughly broken up.  Continue to stir and break up the fruit for another five minutes
  4. Add minced garlic, and remainder of ingredients and stir thoroughly. Let simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. For tortilla topping, cut the tortilla in thin shreds about 2 inches long. Heat olive oil in non-stick pan on medium heat.  Add tortilla shreds, a pinch of salt and paprika to add color and flavor.   Continue to cook until the tortilla shreds are crispy, about five minutes.  Set aside.


Pour chili into bowls.  Garnish with sour cream if desired.  Add tortilla strips, cilantro and onion


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