Monday, February 8, 2016

Chipotle Jackfruit Tacos

These jackfruit tacos were a huge hit with my teenage sons, who merely tolerate vegan dishes. Even the pickiest one ate three of them and said he actually enjoyed them,which was a first. Both sons eat meat when they aren't at my house and finding meat substitutes they like is a challenge. Neither one are fans of beans or legumes, so making healthy, vegan dishes can be a struggle when they're home. Jackfruit was a big hit for both of them, thought. I had never cooked with it before but had seen multiple recipes for BBQ jackfruit, a vegan version of pulled pork. I was in the mood for mexican, though, and decided to attempt some type of spicy taco. Here's what I threw together, and it came out amazing!

2 cans of jackfruit, in brine
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, with 2 tbsp of sauce
1 10.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
4 sprigs of cilantro
1 tsp molasses
salt and pepper to taste

I used a saucier to make this dish. If you don't have one, then a tagine or a deep sided frying pan should work. You want something that has a nice wide base, but higher sides than a frying pan. 

Drain the jackfruit and press slightly with a paper towel to remove as much liquid as possible. Pour into the saucier and use a potato masher or the back of a spoon to smash the fruit into shredded bits. 

Add the remaining ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. The molasses is added for some depth of flavor as well as to take a bit of the edge off the spiciness, my oldest son is a spice wimp. However, you can alter/eliminate the molasses if you don't need to tone down the heat. 

Pour the sauce over the jackfruit and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low, cover, and let cook for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. The jackfruit should absorb most of the liquid making a thick dish. The image above was taken after 1 hour of cooking. The boys were too hungry when it was ready to let me take another after shot before they ate. They also didn't leave any leftovers.

Once finished, serve with vegan sour cream, guacamole/avocado, or vegan cheese. I prefer mine simple, just a dab or two of sour cream. The boys piled it with cheese as well.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cinco de Mayo!

I thought I'd go all-out for cinco de mayo this year. I made a chipotle seitan taco with a mango and red onion chutney, fried plantains, and a watermelon margarita. Ammmmmazing! Feel free to add more chopotle if you prefer it spicier.

You can use your own seitan, cut into strips, or buy pre-packaged/frozen seitan. If you're buying frozen and unfamilair with seitan products, Gardein is arguably the best in terms of taste and texture. However, you can use whatever you have.

I used a honey mango this time and I think it was a bit too sweet for the chutney. I normally use a regular mango and I think I like their level of sweetness better for this dish.

This dish makes enough for dinner for one person, or lunch for two.

2 seitan cutlets (each about the size of a chicken breast)
1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into cubes
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp lime juice
2 tbsp canola oil or vegan butter
avocado and vegan sour cream (optional)

1 ripe plantain, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 tbsp vegan butter


Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the butter and let melt. Once the butter ripples, add the plantains and let cook about 8-10 minutes, or until the bottoms are caramalized. You should be able to judge when they are ready by looking at the sides. The bottom half should look cooked, or a different color, than the top half (kinda like watching/telling when pancakes are ready to flip).

While the plantains cook, place aother frying pan over medium heat and add 1 tbsp of oil or butter. When the oil/butter ripples, add the onions and saute until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the mango and cook over low-medium heat for another 3-4 minutes until the onion is fully cooked and the mango is soft.

While this cooks down, mix the spices together and then rub them on both sides of the seitan. Cut each cutlet into 1/2 inch strips.

After the chutney has cooked, pour it into a bowl and return the pan to the stove. Add the last of the oil/butter over medium heat. Once the oil/butter ripples, add the seitan strips. The plantains should be ready to flip around this time as well, if you haven't flipped them already.

Let the seitan cook until brown and moist, about 5 minutes, then flip to the other side to cook. Once finished, remove them to a plate. The plantains should also be finished by now.

To assemble, put some seitan strips on a soft taco, top with the chutney, and add avocado, sour cream, or whatever other topping you prefer. These are also really good without anything else on top!

Leftovers make wonderful lunches for the next day, too.

Monday, May 4, 2015


This is a thick stew with a wonderful briny flavor and a bit of heat. Everyone uses jackfruit to replace pork in vegan dishes, but it's texture always reminds me of fish. I think the jackfruit adds wonderful texture to this classic fish stew. If you want a stronger seafood flavor, add the optional kelp granules.

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1 28 oz can whole, peeled tomatoes
1 package oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 17 oz can jackfruit, drained and shredded
8 artichoke hearts from a jar, cut in half
1/2 cup wakame seaweed
4 cups seafood stock
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup brown basmati rice
2 tsp old bay seasoning
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil
1 tsp kelp granules (optional)

Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a small frying pan over medium heat. When the oil ripples, add the mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked through and release their juices. Add the wine and bring to a boil for for 3-5 minutes or until the wine is reduced by half. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a deep, heavy bottom pot over medium heat. When the oil ripples, add the garlic and shallots and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, with juice. Using an immersion blender, puree the tomatoes just until they are a chunky sauce. I prefer texture from the tomatoes instead of a smooth sauce. Add the stock and the mushrooms, with wine reduction. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the rice and stir a few times. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 40 minutes. If you are worried about the rice sticking to the bottom, you can stir once or twice half way through, but don't stir more than that as the rice can get gummy.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Summer Wrap

Here is a really simple wrap that goes together quickly and makes a light, tasty lunch. All of these items I keep on stock, so there was no prep work. Just pulling everything out of the fridge or pantry and layering them together. Feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand.

1 soft tortilla, I used plain, white flour, but you can choose whatever you like
1 roasted red pepper from jar
4 artichoke hearts from jar
handful of mixed salad greens
balsamic vinegar
olive oil

Place a tortilla flat on a plate. Spread a layer of hummus on the tortilla. I love hummus, so mine is somewhat thick. Add the mixed greens and drizzle with some balsamic vinegar. Tear the roasted red pepper into 3-4 strips. Roasted red peppers are easy to tear, but you can cut them if you prefer. Layer pepper strips on top of greens. Lightly squeeze water from the artichoke hearts before placing them on top of the pepper slices. Drizzle with olive oil and a dash of salt. Wrap and enjoy!