These roasted poblano and jack fruit tacos are the perfect item for your Cinco de Mayo celebration this week! You’ll likely have tacos on the brain anyway… but actually, when do you not?
It’s been a while since I created a new taco recipe. So when the rest of my testing for this occasion went downhill, I just remembered my motto… when in doubt, put it in a taco!
This recipe is fresh, light, and not too spicy. Well in my case it’s just spicy enough and I’m someone who can’t handle too much spice! The adobo cream sauce is uhhhhhmazing too. I have a couple notes on those chipotle peppers down below though!
Before getting into the recipe, I wanted to break down the mystery behind canned jackfruit. Not all cans are created equal but you can find what you need pretty easily. I’ve started seeing it at just about every grocery store recently, and now thanks to me, you know what to look for!
I’ve heard from restauranteur friends that getting it in Chinatown or T&T supermarket is the best, most inexpensive location. I live in Toronto and have seen it at No Frills, Fiesta Farms, and some random markets in Parkdale and Roncesvalles – sorry, the names escape me. It will obviously be easier to find if you live in a bigger city I’m sure, but when in doubt definitely check Asian grocers and markets!
what is jackfruit?
Jackfruit is a tree that grows primarily in South and Southeast Asia and it grows multiple, enormous, strange looking fruits… that we can eat! I wouldn’t really advise scouring your city for an actual whole jackfruit. I’ve seen them in Chinatown where I live, but ain’t nobody got time to hack through and prepare it from scratch. This isn’t something I’ve actually done myself. I’m just intimidated and I don’t like jackfruit that much that I want a whole lot of it lying around. So canned jackfruit is very convenient!
You’ll notice jackfruit in water, brine, or syrup. You do NOT want the jackfruit in syrup when you’re using it as a vegan meat substitute for savory applications. It will be too sweet and preserved. You’re looking for young jackfruit or young green jackfruit in water or brine.
The ingredients will be something like: jackfruit, water, salt, and an acid (citric acid, lime juice, or vinegar). Here are the brands I’ve come across and a few notes on the variations.
1. Chaokoh (20 oz can) young green jackfruit / from Thailand – this is my favorite brand to use as it’s the most mild and isn’t too salty or briney tasting. It does need to be trimmed, as I find the bits of the core are still in tact and don’t break up nicely. Once it’s trimmed, it’s essentially the same amount as in the 14 oz can. I find you can use this one and the next brand interchangeably, at least in recipes I’ve created. I drain and rinse this from the can under cool water in a fine mesh sieve and gently pat the chunks of jackfruit dry with paper towel, then trim and break up into shreds by hand before cooking.
2. Native Forest (14 oz can) organic young jackfruit / from Sri Lanka – I was using this brand until I found the above brand. I don’t love that it’s so pink. It just looks kind of weird. But once you cook it in sauce and prepare it properly, it’s just as good if it’s all you can find. I’ve noticed it’s the most common brand in grocery stores. However, this brand tends to be very briney and wet even when drained.
To prepare it, I drain it from the brine and rinse it under cool water in a fine mesh sieve. Then I squeeze out as much moisture as I can through the sieve and pat it dry with paper towels. This jackfruit is much softer and tender right out of the can compared to the first brand. This means that it will break up easily as you are straining it of moisture. I spread it out onto fresh paper towel and let the rest of the excess moisture dry up a bit more before I sauté it for a recipe. Now the flavour of the brine has been mostly neutralized and it can take on whatever sauce and spices you’re using in the recipe.
3. Cha’s Organics (14 oz can) young jackfruit in brine / from Montreal – I just found this on sale at Fiesta Farms in Toronto, so I wanted to compare it with the others. Do not buy this one. First off, it seems very tough, woody, and raw right out of the can. I did all the same preparation methods as the others and still found that it didn’t shred as nicely or get as tender. Unfortunately I had to waste this as it was that tough and it had quite a lot of the seed casings. The seeds pods are edible and you may notice a few of those in the other brands. They just break up and mesh with the rest of the fruit. But this one had a lot of tough outer skins of the seeds still in tact or something and they were not easy to chew. So I have no idea where they’re getting their jackfruit from?
NOTE / UPDATE: you might see Cha’s comment below on this post. They’ve mentioned that this jackfruit is as close as you can get to raw, fresh jackfruit in a can. According to the company founder, this product needs some additional prep work (however, it doesn’t say this on the can or online!) They said it should be boiled for 20 to 30 minutes before using in recipes, preferably in some veggie soup stock or spiced salt water.
I have one more can left so I promise to give it another try, however, if it’s going to take the extra time it still might not be my first choice. I’ll cook it as they suggested and then try out the same application for this taco recipe to compare properly!
Anyway, for those who live in the USA and are near a Trader Joe’s, you’ll find a comparable in-house brand that will look much like the Chaokoh brand that I use. So get to know jackfruit! I think you’ll love it and it all really comes down to the preparation. You’ll find a couple more spectacular jackfruit recipes in my cookbook, too! The texture or feel is reminiscent of fish or chicken in this one, but by now you’ve probably seen the most common jackfruit recipe – a version of a pulled pork, smothered in BBQ sauce!
If you can find pre-sauced packaged jackfruit, even better! When I’ve visited friends in the U.S., I’ve come across a few brands. I really like this one by The Jackfruit Company. Of course, it won’t taste the same as the seasonings I’ve cooked the jackfruit in for this recipe, but for this particular recipe I would use BBQ or Tex-Mex.
Another common packaged jackfruit is by Upton’s Naturals. But personally I found the jackfruit texture to be too fiborous and woody even after being warmed up thoroughly, and their product is supposed to be ready to heat quickly and serve. But their other vegan meat products are quite good.
In regards to the uhhhhhmazing adobo cream sauce, turns out that not all cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are created equal. Through the testing you guys have done since this recipe was posted, it seems like some brands are SPICIER than others. So the amount I’ve listed below is a suggestion, but if you can’t handle much heat try adding some of the juice without whole peppers at first and then just keep adding more until you get a spice to your liking. I’ve heard some people think the adobo cream sauce is inedible with the amount I added. But again, I think I just had a brand that wasn’t AS spicy.
Okay, onto my recipe… it’s SO good!
roasted poblano & jackfruit tacos with adobo cream sauce
If you have yet to try jackfruit, this unique flavor combo with roasted poblano peppers a creamy hot adobo chili cream sauce will convince you of its magic!
roasted poblano peppers
- 3 large poblano peppers
- 1 x 20 oz/565 g can of young green jackfruit in water
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 C finely chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp sage
- 1 tbsp vegan worcestershire
abobo cream sauce
- 1 x 7.5 oz / 212 g can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 C cashews, soaked for 20 minutes in hot water
- 1/2 C fresh water
- 1 lime, juiced
- 6 flour tortillas
- 2 C finely shredded red cabbage
- 1 handful cilantro leaves
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- extra lime slices, as garnish
To roast the poblanos, roast for about 6 to 8 minutes per side on a baking sheet under the broiler in the oven. Ensure you place the baking sheet on the middle rack rather than too close to the element. You can also char them over an open flame if you have a gas range stovetop. Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes per side, turning them occasionally with a pair of metal tongs to get the peppers evenly charbroiled. Either way, do not leave these unattended or forget about them! They’re done when they’ve softened a bit and have turned a deep browny green color and dark charred spots all over.
Immediately place the peppers in a plastic bag and tie it. This will allow them to sweat and steam helping to remove the skins easily. Leave them in the bag while you prepare the sauce and jackfruit.
To make the adobo sauce, drain and rinse the cashews from the soaking water and place the nuts along with the rest of the sauce ingredients in a high powered blender. Blend on high until very smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Drain and rinse the jackfruit from the can in a fine mesh sieve. Pat dry with paper towels. Trim the woody tough core from the pieces of the jackfruit if necessary, then break it up into a bowl with your hands until it looks shredded.
Remove the poblano peppers from the plastic bag and scrape off the skin with the back of a knife or your hands. It should come off very easily. If it doesn’t, they haven’t roasted long enough. Split the pepper in half and remove the inside seeds. Slice the peppers lengthwise and set aside.
- Heat a pan over medium heat with vegetable oil. Add onions and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until quite soft and slightly lightly browned. Then add garlic and jackfruit and continue to sauté for 4 minutes, browning the jackfruit lightly and breaking up more as necessary. Reduce heat to prevent garlic from burning.
Add salt, spices, worcestershire, sliced poblanos and cook for about another 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover with a lid to stay warm while you prepare the rest of the taco ingredients.
- Toss shredded cabbage and cilantro with lime juice in a bowl.
You can also warm the flour tortillas over an open flame of the gas element as well to get them nicely toasted and brown.
- Assemble tacos with slaw, the warm poblano and jackfruit filling, and top with as much adobo cream sauce as you like. You’ll want to serve the extra sauce at the table for dipping along with extra lime wedges!
33 thoughts on “roasted poblano & jackfruit tacos with adobo cream sauce”
If you are ever in Chicago, we have a local vegan company that has their own jackfruit line alongside some wonderful seitan options. I think you can buy online! Heads up if you’ve never tried Upton’s. https://www.uptonsnaturals.com/
so funny I was just making an update adding in the packaged jackfruit that I like and have tried. Unfortunately while I love Upton’s other products I don’t like their jackfruit!
The Cha’s Organics Young Jackfruit is actually canned without any transformation, super fresh, which is why it’s so tough. It just requires more cooking as it’s completely raw. It can be boiled first or cooked in the pan for about 30 minutes with a bit of liquid to help soften it. I have used it several times and always got great results, it will shred as it cooks, and you don’t even need to cut off the "core". On top of that it’s organic! I hope you can give it another chance 🙂
First of all thanks so much for trying out our new Young Jackfruit! We’re so sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it as much as the other brands, and did want to take a minute to clarify some of the points you mentioned.
The main reason why our jackfruit is tougher than the others is due to the minimal processing it undergoes. It’s actually the closest thing you’ll find in a can to fresh young jackfruit.
That said, it does need some additional prep work! For best results, it should be boiled for 20-30 minutes before using in recipes, preferably in some veggie soup stock or spiced salt water. Once boiled, I think you will find the texture is actually quite nice to work with.
I’ll be honest, we were saddened to see you recommend not buying our brand. As a Canadian business that strives to offer only the highest quality products to our customers, we offer only 100% organic and ethically sourced products from producers who we personally develop long term relationships with.
What’s more, our cans are BPA free and our ingredients are very clean. The brine contains only filtered water, sea salt and organic coconut vinegar as opposed to the conventional brand you mentioned which contains citric acid (normally GMO derived), calcium chloride (prohibited in organic foods) and sodium metabisulphite (a chemical preservative). Indeed, our may taste a little more "briney" but that’s because you can’t taste the chemicals 😉
We do hope you’ll give our jackfruit another chance, and would be happy to provide you with some free product to work with (including out Fair Trade, organic coconut milk that is guaranteed NOT picked by monkeys) and Fair Trade, organic spices. Just give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address if you would be interested.
Thanks again Lauren, hoping to hear from you soon!
Marise from Cha’s Organics
Hi Lauren! I live in Sweden and this looks sooo good. But, getting chipotle peppers in abobo sauce? I think forget it. How do I do this anyway?! Strange thing is that I can buy the exact kind of jackfruit you prefer…
Thank you for updating the post Lauren! Hope you’ll get better results with the longer cooking time 🙂
Just made this for lunch today, my first hot for food recipe! It was so delicious, I highly recommend it! I’ll be making it again tomorrow (it was that good!)
YAAAY so glad you enjoyed it 😀
I tried "The Jackfruit Company’s" BBQ jackfruit, and it was awful. The BBQ sauce was cloyingly heavy on the smoke flavor and tasted nothing like any bottled BBQ sauce I have ever tasted (much less a tasty homemade sauce). The texture was soft/good I guess. But I would recommend buying the plain jackfruit and adding your own sauce, even if from a bottle.
Perhaps someone else can comment if The Jackfruit Company’s other flavors are any better?
hmm that’s too bad. I’ve had it a few times and really like it. But I guess different strokes for different folks 😉
Made the jackfruit tacos tonight and they were aweaome! Great recipe!
Meant awesome lol
Hi Lauren I also live in Canada but have only been able to find Jackfruit in syrup at the few grocery stores I’ve checked. Where do you normally buy yours? Hope to hear back 🙂
Jackfruit is hard to find! It likely won’t be in any major chain, but I’ve found it in every Asian grocery store I’ve tried. Hope that helps!
These were extremely good. The jackfruit needed an additional squeeze of citrus at the end to brighten it up, but this is carnivore approved!
One thing: for me and my wife the adobo cream kind of overpowered the more subtly flavors in the jackfruit, poblano mix. I’d say eat one with the cream mix (cause it was good) and one without (because it was good too!).
So delicious! I used a pre-marinated jackfruit and added mushrooms to the mix. I feel that in a pinch, mushrooms provide enough of that meaty texture that the jackfruit could be optional. I also used a short cut and took vegan sour cream and blended it with the adobo peppers and sauce. Overall, this recipe is flavorful, bright, and perfect for summer!
I’m so glad you mentioned the Upton’s Naturals jackfruit because that was the first and only time I tried jackfruit as a meat substitute after people RAVED about the brand, and I agree with your assessment of it. I think it’s time for me to try again!
Really good. The adobo sauce is super tasty and very spicy. I thought the spice/chipotle flavor was a little overpowering so I’d add 1/2-3/4 of the can next time. I also have so much sauce leftover. Any suggestions on how to use it besides tacos?
Omg, this was sooooooo good!!! Thank you for such a fabulous recipe 😁
these taco’s were absolutely tasty! my boyfriend was at first a little hesitant to eat these when he saw that a can of jackfruit was going into this recipe, but the flavor and texture of this dish proved him wrong – he loved it as did I! Definitely a recipe I’ll be remaking in the future
Delicious recipe but I added the whole can and now the sauce is too hot ( like I get teary eyed). Any suggestions on how to tone it down. I would hate to waste all of that sauce. I know you warned us 🙁
My sauce did not come out creamy. What could I have done wrong? I followed the measurements exactly.
I liked this. But I found it little difficult to me. There are some ingredients which may be not available in our locality, I may visit a departmental store in the city.
oh my gosh these were sooo sooo good! I made some chips and guac and it was a perfect dinner! Also– I follow a lot of vegan youtubers/ bloggers that come out with cookbooks but I’ve never bought one. Yours will be the first one I buy, I can’t wait! I love everything you come up with!
Made this dish last night and what an eye-opener it was! Jackfruit was new to us, as was making sauces out of cashews. Thank you so much for sharing this.
Lauren, this is perfect – it blew me and my boyfriend away when we first had it. Tonight we’re serving it at a dinner party with vegan and non-vegan friends! I’m pretty sure this will convince everyone that vegan food can be flavourful and delicious 🙂
I am not vegan, but enjoy making most of my meals veg/vegan if I can. As soon as this video was posted I was salivating. The chipotle sauce makes the whole dish! I doubled the filling to feed 4 adults about 2 each. (2 cans of jack) SO yummy! The flavours go together well and will defiantly be making it again.
Would love more recipes to use the chipotle sauce, its so good but I had a lot left over.
THIS ADOBO CREAM SAUCE THO
Thank you so much for the informative post on jackfruit! I’ve been vegan 9 months and really excited to try it. All I can find is the Cha and Native Forest brands (I bought the latter); can’t wait to make these this weekend!
I made this recipe last night (subbing black beans for the jackfruit since finding niche grocery items is still a struggle for me due to lockdown) and it was amazing! These were honestly the best tacos I’ve ever made which is saying something because I make a LOT of tacos. The combination of textures was to die for and that SAUCE! Oh, that sauce. Absolutely delicious. I’ll definitely try it again with the jackfruit once I can find it but FYI, the recipe is also incredible with beans. All I did was cook the dried beans in my slow cooker with onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, chipotle powder, and vegetable stock, adding them to the tacos at the assembly stage.
Does anyone know how long the sauce would last in the fridge/if it freezes well? This recipe yielded a ton of sauce for me and I want to make sure I preserve it correctly since it’s so tasty!