Spicy, rich, and flavorful Vegan Jackfruit Barbacoa Tacos are the perfect plant-based meat for your next taco night! This super easy vegan taco recipe comes together in a few simple steps and under 30 minutes.
This vegan shredded beef dish is spicy but you have all the control- make it less spicy or go wild!
This vegan barbacoa is filled with spices and chipotle peppers in adobo so you can bet it's incredibly flavorful and tasty. It comes together in 30 minutes or less but doesn't taste like it!
- Canned Jackfruit
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo
- Agave Syrup
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Fresh Lime Juice
Canned jackfruit is the star of this taco! The jackfruit is shredded to resemble the texture and look of shredded beef. Chipotle peppers in adobo are added for a rich, spicy flavor that you don't want to miss out on!
- Canned Jackfruit: I used Trader Joe's brand jackfruit- the canned variety in brine or water is what you need for this recipe. Fresh or frozen will not work.
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo: This small can of peppers packs a huge punch! This is an essential pantry staple for me. Basically, it is dried jalapeño peppers that are rehydrated and canned in an adobo sauce. Adobo sauce is made up of tomato puree, vinegar, and garlic among other spices.
- Agave Syrup: I enjoy adding agave or maple syrup to balance out the acidity and spice- I typically add 3 tablespoons but I recommend starting with 2 tablespoons and adding another if needed.
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce: Low sodium is best!
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Just a bit for a tang.
- Seasonings: Cumin, Oregano, Bay Leaves, Smoked Paprika, Salt, Black Pepper
- Fresh Lime Juice: Add as much or as little to fit your preference. I typically add half a lime and then use the rest to squeeze over the final product.
How to Make This Recipe
Drain, rinse, and shred the jackfruit.
Heat a large frying pan on medium-high heat and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Add the minced onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Mince the garlic and add to the pan, continue to cook for 2 more minutes.
Add in the shredded jackfruit- allow to slightly brown and sweat out the liquid. Tossing only occasionally.
Chop up the chipotle peppers- don't clean the adobo sauce off the peppers, you want all that flavor! Add the chopped peppers to the jackfruit along with 1 extra tablespoon of adobo sauce.
Add in the remaining vegan barbacoa ingredients, except the lime juice, and mix until well combined.
Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer over low heat- allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
Uncover the pan and allow to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed- you don't want it to dry out.
Add the juice of half a lime to the pan and stir- taste and add more lime if desired. Take this time to add more salt or chipotle peppers if needed.
See the list below for topping ideas- prep the desired toppings and heat up the corn tortillas. Assemble the vegan barbacoa tacos and serve!
Tips & Tricks
Pick the right jackfruit! Be sure to get a can of young, green, or unripe, canned in water or brine, to use jackfruit as a vegetable meat substitute. Ripe or canned jackfruit in syrup won't be good in this recipe. Fresh jackfruit can often be too ripe to use as a meat substitute so I would avoid it.
Sweat out the jackfruit! Add the jackfruit to the pan after you cook the onions and allow it to start to brown and all the liquid to be absorbed- the jackfruit barbacoa will be too mushy if you skip this step.
My favorite way to serve these delicious, spicy vegan barbacoa jackfruit tacos is with thinly sliced radishes, cilantro, and diced red onion with a squeeze of fresh lime over the top!
- Shredded Red Cabbage
- Thinly Sliced Radishes
- Finely Chopped Cilantro
- Diced Red Onion
- Sliced Jalapeño Peppers
- Lime Wedges
I typically serve mine in a corn tortilla with toppings as a taco but this vegan taco meat can be used in so many different recipes and ways!
- In a corn tortilla with a few toppings from above
- Use this vegan barbacoa as the filling in burritos, enchiladas
- Or as a topping for nachos or burrito bowls
Storage: Allow the vegan barbacoa meat to cool completely then store in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
Reheating: Reheat leftovers by cooking in the microwave or on the stovetop over low heat until warmed through.
Freezing: Allow to cool completely then store in a freezer-safe container. Freeze up to 2 months. Allow it to thaw before reheating.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use canned jackfruit for a wide range of different dishes- It can be used as a meat substitute in many shredded meat dishes like pulled pork. More jackfruit recipes here: Crispy Cheesy Jackfruit Tacos w/ Avocado Lime Sauce and Jackfruit No-Tuna Melt.
Add them to any dish when you want a little spice! I add it to chili, burrito fillings, taco fillings, or sauces like my Chipotle Aioli.
More Taco Recipes You’ll Love:
Jackfruit Barbacoa Tacos
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- Half a Yellow Onion minced
- 3 Garlic Cloves minced
- 2 20oz Cans of Jackfruit in brine or water
- 2-3 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo
- 1 tablespoon Adobo Sauce
- 1 cup Water
- 2-3 tablespoons Agave Syrup or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Cumin
- 2 teaspoon Oregano
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 ½ teaspoons Smoked Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Salt more or less to taste
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- Fresh Lime Juice to taste
- Drain, rinse, and shred the jackfruit. Set aside.
- Heat a large frying pan on medium high heat and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the minced onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Mince the garlic and add to the pan, continue to cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add in the shredded jackfruit- allow to slightly brown and sweat out the liquid. Tossing only occasionally.
- Chop up the chipotle peppers- don't clean off the adobo sauce off the peppers, you want all that flavor! Add the chopped peppers to the jackfruit along with 1 extra tablespoon of adobo sauce.
- Add in the remaining ingredients, except the lime juice, and mix until well combined.
- Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer over low heat- allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Uncover the pan and allow to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed- you don't want it to dry out.
- Add the juice of half a lime to the pan and stir- taste and add more lime if desired. Take this time to add more salt or chipotle peppers if needed.
- See the list above for topping ideas- prep the desired toppings and heat up the corn tortillas. Assemble the tacos and serve!