Vegan BBQ “Pulled Pork” Jackfruit Sandwich With Spicy Jalapeño Slaw And Cilantro Keeps Waistline in Check

by Brian P. Ramos

Jackfruit, distantly related to figs, has a similar texture to pulled pork and is great at soaking up the spices and flavors you season it with. However, unlike pork, jackfruit has immense health benefits (see below). The key to this sandwich is to use the unripened jackfruit to reduce the sweetness and enhance the texture that “shreds” like pulled pork. The only drawback is that it does not offer high amounts of protein that some may want in their diet. Despite this limitation, which can be easily fixed in other meals, jackfruit is a worthy addition for anyone looking to eat healthier without compromising taste and texture.

INGREDIENTS

  • For the BBQ Jackfruit:
  • 1 (14-oz.) can organic unripened jackfruit
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup organic barbecue sauce
  • For the spicy slaw
  • One cup purple cabbage
  • One cup shredded carrots
  • One teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • One tablespoon vegan mayo
  • 1/2 jalapeno diced
  • 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt + pepper for taste
  • Four buns (gluten-free preferable to reduce inflammation)

METHODOLOGY

· STEP 1

Rinse, drain and dry the jackfruit. Cut off-center core and discard.

· STEP 2

In a mixing bowl, toss together the spices and jackfruit. Stir until well coated.

· STEP 3

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of oil and add jackfruit. Cook for about 2–3 minutes, or until it begins to caramelize and turn brown.

· STEP 4

Add bbq sauce and stir and reduce heat to medium-low. Add a bit of water to thin the sauce stir again, then cover and cook for about 20 minutes to allow flavors to marry.

· STEP 5

While the jackfruit cooks, add slaw ingredients to a mixing bowl, toss gently then refrigerate.

· STEP 6

Once the jackfruit has a nice color and is tender, shred with a fork and begin to plate. Add a little bbq sauce to the bottom bun, a generous serving of jackfruit, then your slaw. Enjoy!

MAJOR BENEFITS

Jackfruit, like other produce, could help ward off chronic disease. Plants, like the jackfruit, contain antioxidants and polyphenols that have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects.

It boosts gut health and immunity. The fiber in the jackfruit has a prebiotic effect that promotes the growth of healthy microorganisms in your GI tract. Remember that 80% of your immune system is related to the microbiome in your gut.

It is good for your heart. As a rich source of fiber (reduces LDL cholesterol), potassium (helps regulate blood pressure), and antioxidants (fight free radicals linked to heart disease), jackfruit helps to support heart health.

It is a low-sugar, low-carb meat replacement. Like another vegan alternative, seitan, jackfruit is a low sugar and carb food that does not cause blood sugar spikes.

Jalapeños are not just a source of capsaicin, the alkaloid that gives the peppers their spicy quality. They are a superfood (low-calorie, high-nutrition) full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Jalapeños, like other chili peppers with capsaicin, can promote weight loss in three ways:

(1) Boosting metabolism by four to five percent

(2) Reducing appetite

(3) Reducing abdominal fat

You could add chili powder or capsaicin for this weight loss benefit, but you would then miss the other goodies that the actual raw pepper has. Amazingly, capsaicin has strong anti-cancer properties, may protect the stomach from ulcers, and lower cholesterol.

Carrots are high in water, energy, vitamins, and minerals. They are always a tasty addition to any juice recipe. Carrots contain many beneficial plant compounds, including (1) beta- and alpha-carotene, and lutein for eye health, (2) lycopene, which is an antioxidant that reduces the risk of cancer, (3) polyacetylenes that protect against cancer, and (4) anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants. Remember that diets rich in carotenes and plants with many colorful pigments have a protective effect against many types of cancers. Carrots are the only ingredient in my juice recipe that you could consume as non-organic without compromising nutrition or health benefits.

Cilantro leaves are rich in many important vitamins and minerals and a great component to add to your diet to boost liver detox. Its principal compound, Linalool, increases the metabolic activity of liver CYP enzymes that are important for the breakdown of potentially toxic substances. Lastly, cilantro improves digestion and relieves an upset stomach.

Red Cabbage is often overlooked despite its clear label as a superfood rich in nutrition. Cabbage contains many different vitamins and minerals that are crucial to many body processes, including energy metabolism and nervous system functioning. Cabbage, like other cruciferous vegetables, is loaded with antioxidants that help stave off inflammation. There is an inverse relationship between inflammation and intake of cruciferous vegetables. In particular, it is worth noting sulforaphane and kaempferol.

Red Cabbage contains powerful phytochemicals called anthocyanins that resist heat more than their cousins found in beets and therefore can be cooked to some extent. Anthocyanins give this vegetable its color and help reduce the risk of heart disease by fighting off inflammation and lowering cholesterol. The latter happens due to the ability of cabbage to block the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract with the help of phytosterols, which are structurally similar to cholesterol.

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