This post was sponsored by the amazing people at The Jackfruit Company!
A few weeks ago my office treated us to lunch. I don’t know about you, but free food has always been a welcomed treat for me. Since my days in undergrad, I’ve always been appreciative of a good free meal. Initially, we were offered pizza. Pizza is great, but not when you’ve had pizza a few days prior. A mediocre pizza at that. I had reached my quota for cheese-less veggie loaded pizzas, so in an effort to spice things up, I suggested that we explore other options instead. Another co-worker gave the suggestion for empanadas from a local spot that was nearby. I’d never eaten at this place, but whatever they were serving HAD to be better than pizza.
I ordered a few empanadas with some rice and beans. I was right, it was definitely way better than pizza. It hit the spot! One bite of the empanadas and I was smiling from ear to ear. The breading was the perfect texture and the filling was perfectly seasoned with each bite. Almost immediately I started to think about ways to make these in my own kitchen. I wanted the perfect savory empanada that even meat-lovers would enjoy. As I mulled over different ideas, the one that kept reoccurring involved jackfruit.
Wondering what jackfruit is? You might be surprised to know that it’s a fruit that makes for a really versatile meat substitute. Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world (can weigh up to 100 pounds) and it’s most common in Asian countries. Young jackfruit’s flavor is really subtle, which makes it perfect for a variety of meals (like these BBQ Jackfruit Empanadas). It has a meaty sort of texture, has TONS of fiber, and shreds like pulled pork. On the other end of the spectrum, a fully ripened jackfruit takes on a really sweet, tropical taste. During my visit to Thailand last year, I got to experience this first hand and I was pleasantly surprised with how tasty it was!
I was nervous that making these jackfruit empanadas might require more work than I was used to, so in an effort to make things easier on myself, I opted to use this ready-made BBQ Jackfruit from The Jackfruit Company. This stuff was a lifesaver! Being that this jackfruit is already seasoned and ready to go, it made creating the filling for these BBQ Jackfruit Empanadas SO easy! All I had to do was chop up the veggies and toss this in. Before I knew it, I was done!
All I had left to do was simply form the empanadas. I used pre-made discs that I found at my local grocer, but these can also be made gluten-free by opting for a gluten-free dough! For a “fancy” look, you can try twisting the empanadas around the edges (check out this video) or simply pressing them down around the edges with a fork. Once they’re done, you’ll have flaky, savory, and delicious empanadas!
My husband (a meat-eater until the very end) loved these, so I’m sure your non-vegan friends and fam will love these jackfruit empanadas too! I’m looking forward to making these for a gathering in the near future. I’m positive these would be a hit amongst a crowd! There’s also a dipping sauce that pairs really well with them below so be sure to try it out! I’d love to hear what you think about these jackfruit empanadas. I’m so excited for you to try them! Once you test them out, let me know what you think in the comments below!
BBQ Jackfruit Empanadas
- 1 package of The Jackfruit Company BBQ Jackfruit
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 large yellow onion diced
- 1/2 red pepper diced
- 1/2 green pepper diced
- 2 tbsp tomato sauce
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- salt+pepper to taste
- 10 small empanada discs (for a gluten free version, use gluten-free friendly dough)
- 1 tbsp melted vegan butter to brush over empanadas (optional)
Avocado Ranch Dipping Sauce
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 1/2 cup vegan mayo
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 1 pinch of salt
- 5 tbsp almond milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large pan, saute minced garlic in olive oil (or water) over medium heat for about 1 minute, then add in diced yellow onion, red pepper, and green pepper. Cook until soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the peppers, onions, and garlic are soft, add in the BBQ Jackfruit and combine with other ingredients. Break up large chunks with a fork.
- Add in spices and tomato sauce. Cook on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes, until all ingredients are fully combined.
- On a clean surface lay out empanada discs, then add about 1 tablespoon of BBQ Jackfruit filling to each disc. Seal the edges with a dab of water, fold over each disc so that the edges are touching, and press closed with a fork (or fold the corners as I did to create a neat design).
- Once complete, brush the dough with melted vegan butter (optional).
- Place the empanadas on a baking pan evenly spaced (I lined mine with parchment paper to avoid sticking). Cook for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and enjoy!
Avocado Ranch Dipping Sauce
- Add all ingredients to a blender and mix until a smooth texture is formed.