BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches

12 reviews / 5 average

Hi! Meet your new friend, the most saucy, meaty-like BBQ sandwich with a crunchy slaw on toasted brioche bun that is so filling, so day-making, so flavorful and easy, and also…totally meatless.

That’s right. We’re calling upon that can of JACKFRUIT to impress us with her meaty-textured ways here, and she does not disappoint.

What You’ll Need To Make BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches

Here are your short-ingredient-list essentials for this beautiful towering crunchy-saucy sandwich:

  • a can of jackfruit
  • chickpeas
  • BBQ sauce
  • slaw
  • buns

Plus or minus some extras like garlic, a few extra spices, maybe some pickles and/or hot sauce as a topping, and boom. You’re there.

New To Jackfruit?

Let’s talk about this meaty-but-not-meaty filling for a moment.

Roasted jackfruit in a pan.

If you’ve never cooked with canned jackfruit, listen up. You’re in for a fun adventure because IT’S SO EASY, pantry-friendly, and just really unique. The hardest part is probably finding it, but even that isn’t too hard: most health-emphasis or specialty grocery stores carry it, and when all else fails, Amazon!

When you push on the jackfruit pieces with the back of a wooden spoon or fork, they press apart into shreds that resemble shredded chicken, pork, etc. And when you add spices, a little brown sugar, and some BBQ sauce and let it all fry up in a pan? You’re going to get some really nice sweet and smoky roasty-ness on that jackfruit that is going to make you wonder where it’s been all your life.

And to take things to the next level, my friend Melissa has taught me the way: get some blitzed up chickpeas in there with those jackfruit shreds to kind of boost up the oomph factor and make it really feel substantial, filling, and crave-able.

Check, check, and check.

Close-up of BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches with slaw on a bun.

Now To Some Sandwich Styling

Toppings are your choice, naturally, but I am a big proponent of just a bag of store-bought coleslaw, especially in these SOS times that we are in. Do I prefer the delicate texture of a homemade cabbage slaw? Yes. But when I’ve got 100 other fires to put out in the house, like, NOW? That is not the moment for me to be shredding up a head of cabbage.

Other toppings that I’ve loved that require zero advance prep: avocado, pickles, pepperoncini, and hot sauce. Whatever gives it a little zip and zazz and maybe even a little bite – that’s what I like.

Should you eat a pile of jalapeño cheddar kettle chips with your sandwich? I mean, do you love yourself? I think that is the real question at hand.

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches on a plate.

Source notes: I finally got the push I needed to try jackfruit from my friend Melissa when she posted this recipe and swore that it was really, actually a good meaty alternative. And I had my doubts but dang, she was right. Her idea for the chickpea addition is unique and honestly… just super smart. It adds some protein and fiber and still keeps things squarely centered on all things veg! Thanks, Mel! ♡

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches: Frequently Asked Questions

What else can I use jackfruit for?

Lots! Jackfruit is a great vegetarian substitute for almost any recipe that requires shredded chicken or pork.

Can I omit the brown sugar?

The brown sugar really helps balance all of the flavors here, so it’s best to keep it in. You could try reducing the amount though if you’d prefer.

I can’t find jackfruit in a brine. My canned jackfruit is in water. Will that work?

That should still work! You might just need to add a little squeeze of lime to bring all the flavors together.

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BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

These BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches feature a “meaty” mix of jackfruit and chickpeas tossed in spices, garlic, and a bit of BBQ sauce. Pile it all on top of a toasted bun with slaw and dinner is ready! 


Ingredients

Scale

BBQ Jackfruit

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 14-ounce can young jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • several good shakes of paprika, chili powder, and onion powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce

Slaw

  • ideally, a pre-made slaw bag mix!
  • otherwise: thinly sliced cabbage + mayo, lemon juice or vinegar, sugar and salt

The Rest:

  • toasted buns (I like brioche buns)
  • any other toppings you like – I’d recommend avocado, pepperoncini, pickles, hot sauce, etc.

Instructions

  1. Shred the Jackfruit: Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add the jackfruit and break it apart into “shreds” with the back of a spoon. 
  2. Make the Filling: In a small chopper or food processor, pulse your chickpeas and garlic until they have a finely chopped texture. Add the mixture to the pan, along with the brown sugar and spices. Stir it all up to get it seasoned and happy. Add barbecue sauce and let it get a little roasty. More undisturbed time in the pan = more meat-like browning.
  3. Assemble Sandwiches: Serve your jackfruit BBQ on a bun topped with slaw and anything else you like! Add a pile of salt & pepper chips to your plate and you are in delicious business.

Equipment

Notes

Nutrition info includes the BBQ jackfruit, buns, and slaw. 

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Sauté
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: bbq jackfruit, jackfruit recipe, vegan sandwich

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37 Comments

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      We purchased our jackfruit from the grocery store, but the Aroy-D and Native Forest brands found on Amazon should all be great options!

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Ann

    I understand that Trader Joe’s has their own jackfruit label(!), but was actually thinking of using fresh, as it is available near me.

    Any suggestions?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      DV

      If you use fresh, make sure it’s unripe. Savory jackfruit recipes are best with canned, in water or brine. Ripe jackfruit tastes like juicy fruit gum. You also wouldn’t want to use canned in syrup.

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Great question, Ann! We haven’t tried this recipe with fresh jackfruit, but we think it’ll work just fine. In step 1 of the recipe, you may need to add some broth or water to the jackfruit and let it simmer for a while to soften it and make it shreddable. We’d also recommend adding a nice dash of salt in this step to season the jackfruit. If you give it a try, we’d love to hear back!

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Sarah

    I am loving this series. I appreciate that you continue to offer the quickest way to get dinner on the table, along with a few options to glam things up.






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      So glad to hear you’re liking the series, Sarah! Thanks for the feedback!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kate

    I’m sooo excited that there is finally a doable recipe in my life to try jackfruit – thank you!

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jennifer

    Any ideas of how to make this with frozen jackfruit? I have some from the frozen fruit/smoothie section at my store!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      Interesting! Didn’t know frozen jackfruit was a thing! But just did a quick bit of research on it, and it looks like frozen jackfruit is sometimes the ripe, sweet kind whereas the canned jackfruit that we used for this recipe is considered the young, green type typically used in savory dishes. You’ll want to make sure you have the young, green type for this dish. If you do, we’d suggest defrosting it, patting it dry, and then following the recipe!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Sara

    I will definitely be keeping a couple of cans of jackfruit around to make this again—probably doubling it so there are leftovers next time. I had my family dig in before telling them what it was—my husband was shocked it was vegetarian and told me to keep it in rotation!






  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    One of my favorite fruits is jackfruit. Sadly, I don’t readily get the fresh ones here like I did growing up in the Philippines. But to see that this recipe uses canned? Hmmm……I’m going to have to give this a try! Thanks for the post!






  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I made this for dinner.
    My hubby and I enjoyed soooooooooo much!
    With chickpea, the burger’s texture get more real!
    And only your recipe put chickpea.
    Thanks for great recipe:)






  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jenn

    My skeptical, carnivorous husband loved these! 100% into the rotation of a quick easy dinner. Yum and give me some more.






  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Katie L

    I just made this and OMG, it was mind-blowingly delicious.

    Your vegetarian recipes are so creative! Keep them coming!

    (I found canned jackfruit at Trader Joe’s after no luck at my usual grocery store!)






  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Madison

    Having never tried jackfruit, I was SKEPTICAL. I can say I was very pleasantly surprised! My husband had some as well and without me saying anything, he asked if it was chicken! Ultimately shocked and confused as to how this strange “fruit” can resemble pulled pork. It really was delicious and it almost had an Italian-esque flavor to it. Will be definitely making this again!






  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Sarah

    I’ve always tried to like bbq jackfruit but I always felt it was missing something, now I know it was chickpeas! This recipe is a game changer and will be on rotation all summer long.






  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Melanie Gradinger

    First time with jackfruit and we all loved it. The coleslaw is key and the spices you cook it in before adding the bbq sauce are great. I added some heat but this was great. Thx!