So, let’s have it. Let’s hear every mistakenly negative thought you have pondered about “vegetarian” foods.
Firstly – may I say that many a people will have, at one point, may have thought I was a food snob. I violently disagree. You would shudder to hear me enumerate the fast food joints I lust over on a daily basis. I can get down and dirty with the worst of them.
Anyways, my point is – food is food. Vegetarian, unhealthy, too processed, carnivorous, paleo, gluten-free, keto and any other bullshit label you may have for food is unnecessary. Let us, instead, marvel at this wide and wondrous world of edible enticements and how lucky we are to have access to even half the food we do. All food in moderation is key (in my opinion). Food is magical. Food is all you need. Food.
I’ll get off my soap box now.
Just try it. It’s a great bbq pork substitute if you’re trying to cater to a picky vegetarian or just to serve as is. Put your adult underwear on and get over any prejudices you may have. This is just plain good.
Plus, this recipe has the added bonus of being fast to prepare. You’ll be ready to eat before the first excuse of why you shouldn’t cook even begins to form in your mind.
BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches
If you’ve never had jackfruit before, it’s a fruit native to southeast Asia. You can buy it fresh and canned. The ripe, sweet version tastes somewhat like a heavenly cross between a mango and a lychee. Here, we will be using the young, unripe version that is canned in brine. You can find this cheaply at any Asian or ethnic grocery store.
What You’ll Need:
- 2 20oz cans of young, green jackfruit in brine
For the BBQ Sauce:
- 1 chipotle pepper plus 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce it is canned with
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup of ketchup
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 6-7 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup water or chicken stock
For the Sweet Corn and Caramelized Onion Spread:
- 1/2 cup of creamed corn (canned)
- 1/2 a medium onion sliced thinly
- 3-4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tblsps of honey
- Olive oil for cooking
- Buns for building your sandwich. (I used those Hawaiian sweet rolls- the hamburger bun version. If you can, definitely use those as your buns. The sweetness of the bread makes the sandwich.)
- Drain the canned jackfruit in a colander and rinse thoroughly. Chop off the tough, middle core of each chunk.
- In a food processor, blend all of your ingredients for the bbq sauce together.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet on a medium heat. Put in the drained and cored jackfruit in the pain and saute until the jackfruit browns a little, about 1-2 minutes of cooking.
- Pour the bbq sauce over the browned jackfruit and lower the heat to medium low and let simmer for about 35 minutes, or until the bbq sauce has reduced to about a fourth of the original volume. Stir occasionally and break up the jackfruit as you stir so that it resembles pulled pork. The jackfruit will soak up all that saucy goodness. When finished, set aside.
For the Sweet Corn and Caramelized Onion Spread
- While the jackfruit is simmering gloriously away, you can start on your corn and onion spread.
- In a skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of oil at a medium-low heat. Put your thinly-sliced onions in the skillet with 1/4 a teaspoon of salt.
- Stir onions around constantly, making sure they do not burn in the pan. After about 10-12 minutes, the onions will be translucent and begin to darken to a brown in color. Make sure to constantly stir and scrape the bottom of your pan with your spatula to get up all those good, onion-y bits. If you see the onions beginning to dry out or burn, add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan. You may add more balsamic vinegar later if you feel the need to.
- Near the 20-30 minute mark, the onions should be darker in color and will be done.
- In a food processor, put the honey, the creamed corn, a pinch of salt and pepper and the caramelized onions and blend together until a you have a well-blended, semi-lumpy spread. Contradiction of terms? Yes, I know. But corn kernels can be resistant to being completely pureed. This is okay. It still tastes beautiful.
Now, I understand that if you have never made caramelized onions before that the idea of spending anywhere NEAR 30 minutes stirring a pan of onions seems ludicrous. Especially after I prefaced this recipe as a “quick” one. Truth be told, you’re waiting and stirring the simmering pan of jackfruit in the bbq sauce and you might as well make an awesome sandwich spread while you wait.
Also – if you think caramelized onions are not worth the work, I don’t know if we can be friends.
Just kidding. We totally can. But, if you think the Lord of the Rings movies are too long, I can’t forgive you.
Do yourself a favor and butter and toast your sandwich buns.
Spread the corn spread generously. Heap the bbq jackfruit to the heavens, throw some pickles on there and plant your face into that sandwich.