My first encounter with jackfruit was on a speaking junket at the St. Louis Home and Garden Show. I spoke 11 times in less than 4 days, rotating the stage with a rather magnificent St. Louis Veg Girl and plant-based chef Caryn Dugan, who prepared her world-famous Jackfruit Tuna Salad on stage. I hoarded the leftover salad behind the curtain and scooped it all in my mouth with a huge smile on my face. She inspired me to think more about plant-based foods and how my osteoarthritis diet might be affected by eating more plants. Caryn Dugan says “My mission is simple – a plant on every plate!” And indeed – my plates have far more plants on them than they did before I met her.
Jackfruit is typically grown in South or Southeast Asia and is a large knobby fruit similar to breadfruit (see photo below). It has a fleshy interior (right) which generates calcium and iron. The plant also provides about 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving. Best yet, jackfruit only has about 20 calories per serving and works really well when used as a substitute for fish or pork dishes because, like tofu, it often takes on the flavor of what you are cooking.
Jackfruit grows remarkably quickly and can produce up to 150 fruits per tree. Some jackfruits can get up to 100 pounds, so this plant offers an enormous amount of food grown in a relatively small area which could help feed millions of people around the world should it become more commonly consumed. Additionally, jackfruit can be a great contribution to a plant-based diet or you can try eating it just for a nutritious calorie-saving lunch and keep your meats for the evening dinner.
- 10 oz jackfruit, chopped to desired consistency (Upton’s Naturals works well fresh out of the package)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (use vegan mayo if you prefer)
- 1/2 cup celery
- 1/2 cup red onion
- 1 Meyer lemon, juiced
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Swiss chard leaves, deveined and cut in wrap sized pieces
- Mix all ingredients except Swiss chard leaves together.
- Serve jackfruit “tuna salad” on Swiss chard leaves.
This season my goal is to show you several recipes using jackfruit from Upton’s Naturals. They contacted me and asked me to come up with recipes throughout the season using fresh produce. This food is excellent for an anti-inflammatory diet to help with osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions as well as offering a strong fiber content. Since I first learned about jackfruit from my dear friend Caryn, I decided to start the recipe season out by preparing a Caryn Dugan-inspired dish – my own version of jackfruit tuna salad. All the dishes in this post are Fiestaware from The Homer Laughlin company (love them!). The jackfruit meat substitute is only 20 calories per serving and offers some great benefits to your family’s diet – it will help you stick with your dietary New Years Resolutions!