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Looking for a healthy meat substitute? Try this vegan pulled jackfruit recipe, which masquerades perfectly as pulled ‘pork’, taken from Theo Michaels’ Canned cookbook.

If you’re a seasoned vegan, you’ll already know that jackfruit is God-tier when it comes to mock meat. And if you’re new to veganism, allow me to let you in on a little secret…

Jackfruit grows in the tropics, and is the largest fruit that grows on a tree – some reaching two feet in length. The flesh of the fruit makes a fantastic meat substitute thanks to its meaty texture and neutral taste, which allows it to absorb other flavours. Its ‘pull-apart’ consistency perfectly mimics pulled pork, as shown in this delicious dish. 

Fresh jackfruit is hard to get hold of in the UK – and is a bit of a pain to prepare – but thankfully, it’s pretty easy to find cans of the stuff.

As well as tasting like a dream, jackfruit is a good source of nutrients, including vitamin B6, vitamin C and potassium. And while most fruit contains very little protein, jackfruit has more than most at 1.8g per 100g. The sweetcorn in this recipe adds another small dose of protein, as well as complex carbohydrates (a healthy source of fuel for your body), fibre (to keep you regular), and loads of B vitamins, which help keep your brain healthy.

Why not add a side of other plant-based protein to this meal to up your intake, like tofu, spinach, potatoes or a sprinkling of seeds? Delish. 

Try this jackfruit ‘pulled pork’ with blackened corn dish for a nutritious vegan dinner


Serves: 4

2 x 400g cans jackfruit

A splash of olive oil

1 large onion, thickly sliced

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon plain flour

80ml tomato ketchup

1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

A generous pinch of dried oregano

200g can sweetcorn kernels, drained

A small pinch of cayenne pepper

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

To serve 

Tortilla chips, rice or a burger bun

Sliced fresh or pickled chillies

Lime wedges, for squeezing


1. Drain the jackfruit through a sieve, pushing it down to release the excess water. Just before you are ready to use it, pat it dry with paper towels.

2. Heat a frying pan to smoking hot, add a splash of olive oil and stir-fry the onion for a minute to char, then immediately turn off the heat and remove the onion from the pan (you want the onion to remain slightly firm).

3. Mix the paprika, cumin and flour together in a bowl and toss the jackfruit in to coat. Reheat the skillet, add another splash of oil if needed and fry the jackfruit for a few minutes to get some colour. 

4. Using the back of a fork or a potato masher, gently push down to break up the jackfruit slightly and then add 100 ml hot water. 

5. Gently shake the pan to mix in the water, then add the ketchup, soy sauce, maple syrup, vinegar and oregano and season with salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. 

6. Simmer over a low heat for a few minutes, breaking up the jackfruit more if needed, until the sauce thickens and becomes glossy. 

7. Remove from the heat, scatter the onion over the jackfruit and keep warm.

8. Heat a clean, dry frying pan to almost smoking hot. Tip in the sweetcorn kernels, shaking the pan to level them and leave to char for a couple of minutes. Any water will quickly evaporate. As the kernels start to blacken, shake the pan to get an even charring. 

9. Remove from the heat, season well with salt flakes and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Serve with the faux pulled pork and trimmings.

Recipe taken from Canned by Theo Michaels (£18.99, Ryland Peters & Small), out now. 

Image: Mowie Kay © Ryland Peters & Small

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