Jackfruit BBQ Sandwich Recipe

If you want a meat-free sandwich, what comes to mind? Vegetarians have a number of options including grilled cheese and egg salad, but vegans, for the most part, have had to make do with mock meats such as Impossible this and Beyond that or else with grilled mushrooms. Mushrooms are nice and meaty, true, but the sandwich-loving vegan might want to change things up occasionally. How about a sandwich made from fruit? Yes, fruit — jackfruit, to be specific.

According to recipe developer Hayley MacLean, the fact that jackfruit doesn't have much flavor to it, paired with its stringy texture, makes it a perfect substitute for pulled meat. "It easily takes on the flavor of any sauce and has a firm, meaty texture," she explains. This particular jackfruit BBQ sandwich, she says, is "sweet and savory ... bright and fresh" and has a texture "almost exactly like pulled pork!" In fact, she assures us, "It is almost hard to tell this is not a pulled pork sandwich from the local BBQ joint!" Whether you're vegan or not, anyone will enjoy this tasty sandwich.

Get the ingredients to make a jackfruit BBQ sandwich

This sandwich requires a number of different ingredients, some of which you may have on hand, but others which will likely require a trip to the store. You'll need olive oil for cooking, an onion, barbecue sauce, paprika, garlic powder, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, coleslaw mix, and hamburger buns — MacLean favors the potato kind, although any hamburger buns will work. You'll also need mayonnaise, although if you use vegan mayo instead, you'll have an entirely vegan sandwich.

The most important ingredient, of course, is the jackfruit. Although conventional cooking wisdom seems to hold that fresh is always better than canned, there are some cases where that just doesn't hold true, and this is one of them. As MacLean tells us, fresh jackfruit is "often too ripe and sweet to be used as 'meat,'" and warns that "it also can have quite the aroma." So, canned jackfruit it is — this also makes the cooking process a whole lot easier!

Sauté the jackfruit

Heat the oil over medium heat, then sauté the jackfruit along with the sliced onion. After about five to eight minutes, the jackfruit should be warm and soft enough to mash. Use the back of a spoon to press down on it until it falls into shreds, much like pulled pork. At this point, scoop out and discard the jackfruit seeds and casings.

Pour the barbecue sauce into the pan along with the paprika, garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir it all up and cook for another three to four minutes, then remove the pan from the heat, cover it, and set it aside.

Make the creamy coleslaw

Mix the mayonnaise (or the vegan mayo) with the vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Empty the coleslaw mix into a large bowl and drizzle the dressing over the top. Toss the coleslaw with the dressing until well-combined.

As MacLean describes the coleslaw you've just created, it's "crunchy and tangy with a hint of sweetness to match the pulled jackfruit perfectly." In fact, if you're a coleslaw fan, you might even want to make extra to serve on the side.

Assemble the sandwiches and serve

Toast the hamburger buns under the broiler for just a minute or so, then spread them with the remaining mayonnaise. Divide the jackfruit mixture between the buns, then top it off with the coleslaw. Serve the sandwiches right away, otherwise, they are likely to get soggy.

MacLean suggests that "this sandwich would be great served with a big pile of sweet potato fries and spicy aioli for dipping," but adds that "really any side you would normally have with a big, hearty sandwich would go great with this." If you love pulled pork, then you're sure to love this jackfruit BBQ sandwich!

Jackfruit BBQ Sandwich Recipe
5 from 23 ratings
If you're looking for a vegetarian or vegan substitute to a classic pulled pork sandwich, look no further than this jackfruit BBQ sandwich recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
jackfruit sandwich on plate
Total time: 30 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans jackfruit, drained
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup mayonnaise (or vegan substitute), divided
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups shredded coleslaw mix
  • 4 hamburger buns
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Cook the jackfruit and onion for 5 to 8 minutes, until the jackfruit is warm.
  3. Using the back of a spoon, mash the jackfruit until it resembles pulled pork. Remove the seeds and casings.
  4. Add the barbecue sauce, paprika, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper to the jackfruit, and stir to combine.
  5. Cook the seasoned jackfruit for 3 to 4 minutes until warm.
  6. Cover the jackfruit to keep it warm and set it aside.
  7. Mix together ¼ cup mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  8. Toss the coleslaw mix with the dressing until evenly coated.
  9. Lightly toast the hamburger buns under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes.
  10. Spread the remaining mayonnaise on the toasted buns.
  11. Top the buns with the jackfruit mixture and finish with the coleslaw.
Calories per Serving 276
Total Fat 12.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.9 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 5.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 39.8 g
Dietary Fiber 1.9 g
Total Sugars 14.0 g
Sodium 443.1 mg
Protein 2.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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