Hawaiian BBQ sandwiches are an island institution, with the most tasty and authentic ones often sold from roadside stands. We’ll wager you won’t even miss the pulled pork when you taste our heart-healthy plant-based version. Jackfruit is a versatile and remarkable fruit. When unripe or green, it has a meat-like texture. As it ripens, it turns yellow and becomes very sweet. Jackfruit is simply packed with calcium, iron, potassium, and B vitamins, with only 95 calories per cup. If you can’t find canned jackfruit in water at your local supermarket, try an Asian grocery. We’ve also added black beans for additional protein and fiber.
Yields: 6 Servings
2 CUPS no-salt canned black beans rinsed and drained or 1 cup dried black beans
1 (20-OZ) CAN green jackfruit in water
1 CUP red onion finely chopped
1/2 medium red onion
1 TABLESPOON garlic finely minced or pressed
1 TEASPOON chili powder
1 TEASPOON smoked paprika
2 TEASPOONS apple cider vinegar
3/4 CUP prepared barbecue sauce - less than 5g sugar and 3g fat per serving
1/4 CUP cilantro freshly chopped optional
Hot sauce to taste; optional
6 whole-wheat sandwich thins see Chef’s Notes
6–12 THIN SLICES tomato
6 VERY THIN SLICES red onion
6 lettuce leaves
1If using dried beans, prepare according to package directions. Set aside 2 cups cooked beans for this recipe, and save the rest for another use. (One cup dried beans will yield 3 cups cooked.)
2Drain and rinse jackfruit, then drain again. Pat dry using paper towels. Using your fingers, pull jackfruit apart so that it looks shredded.
3In a large skillet, combine onion, garlic, chili powder, paprika, vinegar, and 1/3 cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Let cook until onions are soft and translucent and water has evaporated, 5–7 minutes.
4Stir in jackfruit, beans, barbecue sauce, and 1/3 cup water. Let simmer, stirring frequently, until flavors marry and jackfruit is soft, for 25 minutes. Add an additional 1–2 tablespoons water if pan gets too dry. Remove from heat. If necessary, use 2 forks to break apart any large chunks of jackfruit.
5Season with cilantro and/or hot sauce (if using).
6To serve, place lettuce leaves, tomato slices, and thinly sliced red onion on the bottom half of each sandwich thin “bun.” Add 1/2 cup jackfruit barbecue for each sandwich, and top with remaining bun. Serve.
This is a great do-ahead dish for entertaining. The barbecue jackfruit can be prepared a day or two in advance, and its flavors will only improve over that time.
Sandwich thins are a marvelous way to keep sandwiches on the menu but cut back on carbs at the same time. Since jackfruit is higher in carbs, the sandwich thins keep this dish in balance. Look for these thin round “buns” in the bread or bakery aisle. Small whole-wheat pita rounds would work as well. For a gluten-free version of this dish, serve the barbecue jackfruit in a bowl over long-grain brown rice and top with freshly sliced tomatoes and chopped lettuce.