Jackfruit Carnitas Tostada with Watermelon-Tomato Pico and Black Bean Mash

Jackfruit Carnitas Tostada
Jackfruit Carnitas Tostada

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you should be familiar with at least one meat substitute by now. Tofu has been around since BC times, but today we’ve surpassed coagulated and pressed soy milk. Tofu, tempeh, and TVP (textured vegetable protein), all derived from soy, are now found in most grocery chains as protein sources for vegans and meat-eaters alike. Seitan, made from washing away starch in wheat dough, is a gluten based alternative currently in vogue.

In today’s society, we are touted daily with diet and/or lifestyle adjustments. Health, environmental, and animal cruelty concerns are commonplace when cooking up the next meal. With a disposition of moderation or abstinence surrounding soy and gluten, the following are now put into action at vegetarian tables: legumes, reserved liquid from cooked legumes, mushrooms, lentils, nuts, fruits, vegetables, flax seeds, chia seeds, and nutritional yeast (inactive yeast). Alternatives, once considered bleak substitutes, have morphed into an experimental feast. Topping a pie with whipped chickpea liquid (aquafaba), devouring a mushroom and lentil burger, and filling a taco shell with jackfruit carnitas are now preparations in their own right.

Jackfruit, native to Asia, came into the picture and made the seemingly impossible, possible. Tender and stringy, the largest tree-born fruit also offers up undeniable flavor absorbing capabilities. With an uncanny ability to mimic seasoned chicken and pork, it’s a no-brainer for BBQ and tacos. While one can certainly work up whole jackfruit, it’s easier and quicker to purchase young jackfruit in water or brine (not syrup). We buy ours at our local asian grocery, but it’s also available at some chains, or on Amazon here .

In an effort to pare down processed food, gluten, and soy in our own home, we turned to whole foods as a means for sustenance. Our homemade chickpea scrambles, southwestern walnut and lentil stuffed peppers, and buffalo style mushroom burgers now take precedence over their processed grocery store counterparts. While it does take a bit longer to prepare, we know what we’re eating. With a few extra minutes in the kitchen during the week, and some planning on Sunday, we have the ability to check arbitrary ingredients at the door.

Jackfruit is an ingredient we bank on time and time again. Taking full advantage of its properties, we use it in everything from kale pesto pasta to BBQ burritos. This tostada is one of our all time favorites. Tender carnitas style jackfruit, cool watermelon pico, and crunchy radish and cabbage are piled on top of a crispy corn tortilla. The opposing flavors and textures will leave you feeling happy and satisfied. We hope you enjoy this pleasing dish as much as we do!

Print Recipe
Jackfruit Carnitas Tostada with Watermelon-Tomato Pico and Black Bean Mash
A perfect picnic!
Cuisine Southwestern
Cook Time 40 Minutes
Servings
Tostadas
Ingredients
Jackfruit Carnitas
Watermelon-Tomato Pico
Black Bean Mash
Tostads
Optional Garnishes
Cuisine Southwestern
Cook Time 40 Minutes
Servings
Tostadas
Ingredients
Jackfruit Carnitas
Watermelon-Tomato Pico
Black Bean Mash
Tostads
Optional Garnishes
Instructions
  1. Drain, rinse, and dry jackfruit. With a knife, remove the core from each segment. Use your hands to remove any large seed pods, and break each segment into 3-4 pieces.
  2. In a bowl or shallow pan, add jackfruit and all spice rub ingredients.Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the watermelon pico and black bean mash.
  4. Combine all pico ingredients in a medium bowl, stir to combine, and set aside.
  5. In a medium pan, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over low heat. Add remaining bean mash ingredients to pan. Cook over low heat for 8-10 minutes, mashing about half the beans as they cook.
  6. Remove marinated jackfruit from fridge and allow to sit on countertop for 10 minutes. In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over low heat for approximately 1 minute. Add marinated jackfruit, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, cinnamon, clove, and vegetable stock. Reserving the orange, add the juice from both halves. Stir to combine. Add bay leaf and reserved orange halves. Nestle the eight onion sections evenly around the pan. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes, breaking up the jackfruit into small shreds as it cooks, and checking for remaining seeds.
  7. While the jackfruit is cooking, prepare the Tostadas. In a large pan over medium-low heat, work in batches to fry tortillas in olive oil (about ½ tablespoon per tortilla). Fry until brown and crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a towel to drain.
  8. After the jackfruit has cooked for 30 minutes, remove from heat. Preheat oven to 350°, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a slotted spoon to drain off any excess liquid, transfer jackfruit to lined baking sheet in a single layer. Transfer orange halves and 8 onion sections to sheet. Bake for 5 minutes in preheated oven. Set the broiler to low, and broil for 5 minutes.
To Assemble
  1. Top each tostada with a smear of bean mash, a liberal amount of jackfruit carnitas, a spoonful of pico, and any optional garnishes. Serve with extra pico.
Recipe Notes

*Refrigerate leftover jackfruit in a sealed container for up to two days.
*To keep recipe vegan: substitute brown rice syrup or maple syrup for honey, no optional queso fresco garnish.

Whole Jackfruit
Whole Jackfruit

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