Jerk BBQ Jackfruit Tacos with Mango Salsa
Taco Tuesday (well in this case Thursday)!!! It's one of my favorite traditions and date night for Jermaine and I each week. When we first started dating, we used to pick a taco spot to go to each Tuesday and go to discount movie day to see whatever was out for the week. It was the best (and cheapest) date ever and we always had so much fun doing it! Along the way, we got busy (and started working out) and Taco Tuesday fell by the waist side, but we baccckkk! Even when we don't make it out, we find it fun to come up with out own creations in the house and even some fun margarita recipes to go alongside our meal. This week as I was perusing Trader Joes, I came across some canned Jackfruit -- which I love but rarely cook! With the weather getting warming, I was instantly inspired to make a fruit salsa to go on top of our tacos, and alas the idea for the jerk BBQ came to life. Jermaine and I differ with out spice levels, he prefers a more mild enjoyable bite, while I love a "burn your butt" spicy as he calls it!
If you've ever cooked with Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning you know that even the mild variation is SPICYYYY so I had the idea to calm it down a bit by mixing it into my own sauce for the meats, as well as making a mango salsa to give it a fresh and cool temperature.
Let's chat quickly about jackfruit. I'm not one to EVER say that something that is not meat tastes just like meat, but jackfruit is the only substitute I've had that can be used to actually mimick meat and you have to question yourself like wait a minute, this isn't chicken or pork!? When pulled apart and shredded, it has a very similar texture to meat and the best part is that when still young, the fruit has almost no taste, so can take on the taste of whatever you use to season it with.
I marinated 2 variations of tacos using the same seasoning/sauce mixture - because I knew Jermaine would want chicken and I was dying to use this jackfruit! Feel free to marinate anywhere from 1 hour up until a day before to allow the flavor to develop into the food. This recipe is perfect for a quick weekday dinner or a summer night make your own taco bar with friends... or ahem Cinco de Mayo, in just 2 days! Let me know if you end up making it, I can't wait to hear your thoughts :)
Jerk BBQ Jackfruit or Chicken Tacos with Mango Salsa
2 semi-firm mangos
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 red onion
1 jalapeño, optional
salt + pepper, to taste
1 can green jackfruit in brine or 1/2 lb chicken breast
1/2 tablespoon walkerswood mild jerk paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons BBQ sauce of your choice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons red wine or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 head red cabbage
1 pack corn tortillas
Mix jerk paste, olive oil, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and soy sauce together until well combined and a sauce is formed.
If using jack fruit: drain brine from can and in a medium bowl, break jack fruit up using hands until most large pieces have been pulled apart and shredded to your liking. Put jack fruit in a ziplock bag and pour sauce over.
If using chicken breast: put chicken breast whole into zip lock bag and pour sauce over.
Allow jack fruit or chicken to marinate for 1 hour to overnight in the fridge.
In the meantime: While that is marinating, let's make the salsa! Be careful not to eat it all before it's time to eat, this stuff is addicting!
Chop up the mangos, onion, jalapeño and cilantro. In a medium bowl, combine together until just mixed. Add the juice from 1 lime and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in the fridge.
To prepare the jack fruit: in a large skillet, sauté the jackfruit on medium heat until hot and some pieces begin to brown.
To prepare the chicken: use an Instapot, pressure cooker or crockpot and cook the chicken until the meat falls apart.
In a damp towel or paper towel, warm tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Arrange tacos with jack fruit or chicken, red cabbage, mango salsa and other desired toppings!
Tip: This is a great weeknight recipe or recipe for group events. You can marinate this from 1 hour in advance to overnight. You can find the Walkerswood jerk seasoning at a large local grocery store or at your local cultural market.