8 Good reasons to cook with jackfruit (plus recipe)
08/27/2021 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
8 Good reasons to cook with jackfruit (plus recipe)

Move over, mushrooms. There’s a new meat substitute in town – jackfruit.

Jackfruit is a large fruit native to India and parts of Southeast Asia. Ripe jackfruit has a fruity odor and a flavor that’s best described as tasting like something between an apple and a banana.

Jackfruit itself is green and oblong with a bumpy, spikey exterior. Inside, jackfruit contains several pale-yellow plump bulbs, which are joined at the core. These bulbs can be eaten alone or used in savory dishes, while the fruit’s seeds can be ground into gluten-free flour.

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Cooked jackfruit flesh has a remarkably similar appearance and texture to pulled meat. This is mainly why this exotic tropical fruit has gained popularity among vegan and vegetarian crowds internationally.

Unlike other meat substitutes, however, jackfruit is low on protein. But don’t let that stop you from adding this unique fruit to your diet. Jackfruit is incredibly rich in dietary fiber and is a good source of micronutrients, especially potassium. As such, you can easily boost your nutrient intake by using jackfruit in your go-to recipes.

Here are seven more reasons you should cook with jackfruit:

  1. Maintains good eyesight – Jackfruit is a good source of beta-carotene, a compound that the body converts into vitamin A. As a potent antioxidant, vitamin A helps you maintain good eyesight by protecting your eyes from oxidative stress, which is linked to cataracts and other eye issues.
  2. Supports healthy digestion – Jackfruit, especially its seeds, contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, turning into a gel-like substance that slows digestion and makes you feel full. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, attracts water into and adds bulk to your stool, promoting regularity.
  3. May help prevent cancer – Phytonutrients in jackfruit, such as lignans, isoflavones and saponins, contribute to the fruit’s anti-cancer properties. According to a recent review published in the International Journal of Food Science, these phytonutrients can prevent the formation of cancer cells and fight cancerous ulcers.
  4. Boosts energy levels – Jackfruit is a good source of B vitamins, especially vitamin B6. This vitamin helps your body convert proteins, fats and carbohydrates into glucose, which serves as fuel for cells.
  5. Maintains strong bones – Jackfruit is also high in calcium, which is primarily stored in your bones. Aside from building bones and keeping them healthy, calcium also enables your blood to clot and your muscles to contract properly.
  6. Helps lower blood pressure – The potassium in jackfruit helps lower your blood pressure by relaxing your blood vessels for better circulation. Potassium also helps flush out excess sodium. High levels of sodium can cause your body to hold extra water, which can put stress on your blood vessels.
  7. Maintains healthy and radiant skin – Lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene and other antioxidants in jackfruit can help keep your skin clear and healthy by protecting it from free radicals and oxidative stress, which has been linked to premature skin aging.

Recipe for jackfruit “chicken” quinoa bowl

Skip the meat course with this quinoa bowl recipe. Instead of chicken, this recipe uses shredded chunks of jackfruit and cremini mushrooms.

Ingredients for 3 servings:

  • 4 cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 20-ounce cans green jackfruit
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cups salted water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 Tablespoons cashew butter
  • 2 Tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon organic maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt

Preparation:

  1. Combine the almond butter, cashew butter, coconut aminos, maple syrup, sesame oil, cumin and paprika in a small bowl. Mix until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Combine the quinoa and salted water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed all the water.
  4. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the jackfruit. Chop off the firm center parts and discard. Keep only the softer edges.
  5. Heat the sesame oil in a skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the onion starts to caramelize. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. Add the jackfruit chunks. Press on them firmly with a spatula to “shred” them and give them the appearance of chicken. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring continuously to prevent sticking.
  7. Add the sauce from earlier and mix well, making sure all the chunks are coated.
  8. Divide the quinoa into serving bowls. Top each one with the jackfruit “chicken.” Serve and enjoy.

Jackfruit is a tasty tropical fruit rich in potassium, vitamin C and other essential micronutrients. When cooked, it takes on a texture and appearance similar to pulled pork or shredded chicken. As such, you can easily add jackfruit to your daily diet by using it in place of meat for popular meat dishes like tacos or hamburgers.

Sources:

FoodRevolution.org

Hindawi.com

FullOfPlants.com

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