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BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich with Grilled Pineapple and Quick-Pickled Cabbage Slaw

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich with Grilled Pineapple and Quick-Pickled Cabbage Slaw

Adapted from an article originally published on: https://www.tastingtothrive.com/2021/08/04/bbq-jackfruit-sandwich/

Once summer hits, I want pretty much all of my meals to have something to do with the barbecue. Whether that means they're actually cooked on the barbecue, or just doused in a delicious BBQ sauce—bonus points if they're also eaten outside.

One recipe that I haven't tackled on my own is the BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich. Don't get me wrong, I've had plenty of them at restaurants, but something about making them at home felt a little daunting. Until now! Honestly, this recipe was so much simpler to make than I imagined it would be. If you've never had BBQ jackfruit before, it has a similar texture and flavour to pulled pork when its cooked, making it the perfect vegan filling for sandwiches!

The BBQ jackfruit in this sandwich tastes amazing on its own, but I've elevated it even further by pairing it with grilled pineapple and a quick-pickled cabbage slaw, all on a delicious Silver Hills sprouted bun. The sweetness of the grilled pineapple pairs perfectly with the smokiness of the BBQ jackfruit, and the quick-pickled cabbage adds a delicious crunch. There's no doubt that this recipe will be on repeat for me for the rest of the summer (and let's be honest, into the winter, too!).

(A good sandwich isn’t complete without a delicious bun, am I right? Silver Hills burger buns are my favourite because they’re made from sprouted grains and have a light, smooth and delicious flavour. Despite being light and fluffy, they’re packed with nutrition! Just one bun has 5 grams of fibre and a whopping 10 grams of protein, which is perfect for this recipe since jackfruit isn’t very high in protein. I opted to toast the bun on the barbecue until it was warm and lightly golden).

Why I love this BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich

Despite looking super fancy, it's seriously easy to make. The sprouted Silver Hills bun provides 5 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein, which is welcomed since jackfruit on its own isn't high in protein. All of the components of the sandwich pair perfectly together. The smoky BBQ jackfruit, sweet grilled pineapple and crunchy quick-pickled cabbage on a delicious bun make it a surprisingly nutritious meal!

What is jackfruit?

You might be wondering what the heck jackfruit is, and where to get it. Jackfruit is a tropical fruit that's native to South India and has been used in dishes or eaten on its own for many years. It has a very subtle pineapple, banana-like flavour, but mostly takes on the flavour of whatever it's eaten with. This jackfruit recipe uses canned jackfruit, which is accessible at most grocery stores nowadays, or at Asian grocery stores.

I recommend buying canned jackfruit, since the hard work of removing the flesh from the spiky outer coating of the fruit is done for you!?I've used young green jackfruit in water in this recipe. Some canned jackfruit comes in syrup, which I don't recommend for this recipe.

Ingredients

For the BBQ jackfruit:

  • 2 large cans (585g / 20 oz) young green jackfruit in brine (do not use jackfruit in syrup)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cups BBQ sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

For the quick-pickled cabbage slaw:

  • 2 cups purple cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the grilled pineapple:

  • 6 pineapple rings (about 1/2 of a fresh pineapple)

For the sandwiches:

Instructions:

For the BBQ jackfruit:

  1. Start by draining and rinsing your canned jackfruit. Place jackfruit in a large bowl and use your hands or two forks to separate jackfruit until it’s the consistency of pulled pork. You'll notice that there are some woody parts—remove these, as they're pretty tough to eat.
  2. Once the jackfruit is separated, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the jackfruit to the pan and cook on its own for about 5 minutes. This helps to release some of the water so the jackfruit better absorbs the flavours of the BBQ sauce.
  3. After 5 minutes, add the BBQ sauce, smoked paprika, garlic powder and pepper. Sauté for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally so all of the flavours can soak in. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the quick-pickled cabbage slaw:

  1. While the jackfruit cooks, make the quick-pickled cabbage slaw. Slice cabbage thinly and place a medium bowl with salt and apple cider vinegar.
  2. Use hands to massage the cabbage for 2 – 3 minutes, until it starts to wilt. Let sit until the BBQ jackfruit and grilled pineapple are ready.

For the grilled pineapple:

  1. Preheat barbecue to medium heat. Cut pineapple into rounds, removing the core. Brush with olive oil on each side, then place on the barbecue.
  2. Let cook over medium heat for 10 – 15 minutes, flipping halfway. Be careful not to flip too early, as you won't get the grill marks and the pineapple may stick.

For the sandwiches:

  1. Warm your sprouted whole grain burger buns over the barbecue for 2 – 3 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
  2. Once pineapple is cooked and BBQ jackfruit is ready, assemble the sandwiches by placing a grilled pineapple ring on the bottom, jackfruit in the middle, and cabbage slaw on top. Feel free to add vegan mayo, jalapeño slices or any other toppings you'd like. Serve and enjoy!
Tips:
  • Storing leftovers: Store leftover BBQ jackfruit in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 – 4 days. If you have leftover grilled pineapple, I recommend storing that in a separate airtight container in the fridge. It will probably last 1 – 2 days. Any leftover quick-pickled cabbage slaw can be stored in a separate airtight container for up to 5 – 7 days!
  • Grilled pineapple: If you’ve never tried grilled pineapple before, you’re in for a treat! Grilling pineapple brings out the sweetness even more and adds a new depth of flavour. If you don’t have a grill, feel free to cook the pineapple in a pan over medium heat for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Other toppings: I’ve kept this BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich pretty simple, but feel free to add jalapeño, sliced carrot, or vegan mayo. The options are endless!

Lauren McNeill is a Registered Dietitian who specializes in plant-based nutrition based in Toronto, Ontario. She runs a virtual private practice, Tasting to Thrive, and online program where she helps those who are vegan, vegetarian or just wanting to incorporate more plant-based foods into their everyday eating patterns. She holds a Masters of Public Health in Nutrition and Dietetics with a collaborative specialization in Women's Health and has a cumulative social media audience of over 75 thousand.