Sharing food around a table is one of life’s great pleasures, and this is the meal I always want to make if I have friends or family over. It’s so much fun, and everyone gets to make their own personal taco! The trick with these is to have fun and don’t worry if you get a little messy—and to have a stack of paper towels on hand! Jackfruit is a great meat substitute; it absorbs flavors really well and has a texture similar to pulled pork once cooked. (You could buy a good-quality BBQ sauce if you prefer, but this one is really delicious.)
SERVES 4 | Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 2 hours (or overnight) for marinating | Cooking time: 40 minutes
For the filling
2 (14-oz) cans jackfruit in brine, drained
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
4 tsp liquid smoke (see this page )
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a glug of olive oil
2 small red onions, sliced
2 small bell peppers, seeded and sliced
8 taco shells (2 each)
For the BBQ sauce
½ (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp molasses (or maple syrup)
packed ¼ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
2 tsp chile powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp mustard
a pinch of sea salt
To serve
¼ small red cabbage, thinly sliced
3⅓ cups spinach
1 tomato, chopped
cilantro leaves
lime wedges
Put the drained jackfruit in an airtight container. Add the garlic powder, paprika, liquid smoke, and some salt and pepper, and mix until well coated. Use the back of a fork to shred the jackfruit. (There will be small, soft seeds that you can eat, too.) Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
Once ready to cook, preheat the oven to 425˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over low heat. Cook the onions and peppers for about 10 minutes, until they are soft and caramelizing a little. Add the jackfruit and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring every so often.
Spread the mixture onto the lined baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.
While the jackfruit is cooking, make your BBQ sauce. Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
To assemble the tacos, layer each shell with cabbage, spinach, and chopped tomato. Load the jackfruit mixture on top. Generously drizzle with the BBQ sauce and finish with the cilantro and a squeeze of lime.