BBQ jackfruit sliders with vegan coleslaw are sure to be a hit, whether you're vegan or just looking to try something new. This recipe makes a great, easy party appetizer, casual lunch, or a light dinner. The flavors are rich and satisfying, making these sliders a fantastic vegan alternative to traditional BBQ pulled pork sliders.
These jackfruit sliders are the veggie world's answer to the beloved BBQ pork slider. Some years back, this was the first thing I ever made with jackfruit, although it was all about slapping some BBQ sauce on it, putting it in the skillet, and calling it a day.
While the recipe is still simple, I've added more spices and depth of flavor by baking the jackfruit, an idea I found from Tasty Recipes. Baking the jackfruit gives it a crispy, caramelized exterior that enhances its texture and flavor. Of course, in the spirit of true confession, let's not pretend I don't occasionally fall back into the comforting arms of the quick sauce-and-jackfruit-in-a-skillet combo when time is of the essence, but that's not the best this slider can be. This recipe, however, is a great BBQ slider you'll be proud to serve.
If you want more jackfruit recipes, try Vegan Jackfruit Nachos, Vegan Jackfruit Quesadillas, and the best Vegan Tunacado Sandwich for easy weeknight meals. For more plant-based sandwiches, try Vegan Chickpea Salad or an Open-Faced Mushroom Sandwich.
What is Jackfruit and What Does It Taste Like?
Jackfruit is a unique, tropical fruit grown in parts of Southeast Asia, Brazil, Africa, and the Caribbean.
When unripe, canned young green jackfruit has a mild, very subtle sweet taste, but its texture resembles shredded meat, making it great for sliders.
Jackfruit must be cooked and seasoned to mimic the taste of pulled pork, but together with its natural ability to shred and mimic meat, it makes jackfruit sliders a hit for those looking for a meatless option that delivers on taste and texture.
For more information on jackfruit, visit A Simple Guide to Jackfruit.
Do BBQ Jackfruit Sliders Really Taste Like Pork Sliders?
Short answer: Pretty darn close. Continue reading for details.
As a vegan food blogger, I like to set expectations for plant-based dishes that mimic those classic meaty favorites so you know what you're getting into. Here are my thoughts:
To me, jackfruit gets the award for "Best Fruit Mimicking Meaty Textures." Now, I won't tell you it's exactly like eating pork because, well, it's jackfruit and basically flavorless when unripe. But it transforms into something that will remind you of pulled pork or chicken, especially after it gets all dressed up in the spices and sauce. It's a flavor sponge, soaking up all that BBQ goodness and bringing you a step closer to the sliders you know and love.
While they might not be carbon copies of pork sliders, they come pretty darn close with their 'meaty' texture and ability to soak up flavors. Let me know what you think in the comments.
Quick Thoughts on BBQ Sauce
Have you ever followed a recipe to a T only to have the BBQ sauce stage a flavor takeover you didn't enjoy? The right (or wrong) BBQ sauce can absolutely make (or break) this recipe.
So, if you're navigating the flavorful waters of store-bought BBQ sauces, I thought I would share my take on a few of the many regional BBQ sauces to help you pick one you may like.
The classic Kansas City-style sauce is thick, sweet, and tangy, often loaded with tomato and molasses. It sticks well to food, making it great for jackfruit sliders. If you love classic BBQ flavors, Kansas City-style might be your best bet. This is my family's go-to classic sauce for these jackfruit sliders.
Memphis BBQ sauce is known for its sweet and tangy flavors. It has a thinner, more vinegar-enhanced tomato base than the thicker, sweeter Kansas City style. It's spiced up for a little heat and sweetened with molasses or brown sugar. This is also a good choice for these sliders.
In Texas, barbecue is bolder and spicier. It typically has a tomato base but is less sweet. This will be your go-to if you want sliders with a bit of a kick and a deeper, smokier flavor profile.
Eastern North Carolina is more of a vinegar-based sauce, tangy and spicy, while South Carolina is famous for its mustard-based sauce. This sauce might be particularly appealing if you're looking for something that's not just about the sweet and tangy. It's especially good if you put the slaw on top, as the mustard sauce complements the crunch and freshness of the slaw and pickles really well.
You'll be happy to know that many BBQ sauces are actually vegan-friendly, but always make it a point to look over the label before tossing it into your cart. Some of these sauces contain honey to sweeten things up or Worcestershire sauce, which, surprise surprise, has anchovies in it.
Here is a picture and notes of what you'll need for those who like to see your ingredients first. See the recipe card for quantities.
For the jackfruit mixture
- young green jackfruit in brine
- olive oil
- smoked paprika
- ground cumin
- cayenne pepper (optional for heat)
- black pepper
- vegan BBQ sauce
- vegetable broth
- mini burger buns or slider buns
- pickles and avocado slices for garnish
For the vegan coleslaw
- bag of shredded green and purple cabbage with carrots
- shredded carrots
- red onion
- vegan mayonnaise
- apple cider vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- maple syrup or agave nectar
- celery seed
Buy young green jackfruit in brine or water, not syrup. It's less sweet and more suitable for savory dishes. Cans are now found easily at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods as well as online on Amazon.
You should rinse the jackfruit to remove the salty brine and start with a clean slate.
Pick your favorite store-bought sauce. There are many vegan BBQ sauces to choose from. Just check the labels for honey and Worshestire sauce.
Vegan mayo is remarkably indistinguishable from traditional mayo in taste and texture, making it a breeze to swap in any recipe. It's an effortless switch that delivers deliciously familiar results whenever you use it. For more information on other easy vegan food swaps, check out Easy Food Swaps When You Are Going Plant-Based.
To make this recipe simple, I use a bag of mixed shredded cabbage and carrots. If you are shredding your own, use about 2 cups each of purple and green cabbage, along with shredding about 1 large carrot.
Check the labels on the mini slider bag to make sure they are vegan.
For those who like to see the process in pictures, this section is for you. See the recipe card for details.
For the Jackfruit Filling
Rinse the jackfruit thoroughly, then shred it with your hands or a fork. Finely chop the hard cores and soft seeds. Set aside.
Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil in a large pan until onions are translucent.
Add smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne, salt, and black pepper, stirring to coat for one minute until well incorporated.
Then, add jackfruit and veggie broth. Simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes.
Transfer the jackfruit mixture to a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes at 400°F (200°C) until the edges are crispy. Tossing it halfway through.
Remove the mixture from the oven and add enough BBQ sauce to coat it thoroughly. Place the mixture back in the oven for another 12 minutes. Remove and let it cool before assembling your sliders.
For the Vegan Coleslaw
This vegan coleslaw adds a perfect contrast to these sliders. Feel free to adjust the quantities of the ingredients for your taste preferences. It's a traditional coleslaw recipe that is very forgiving and adjustable.
Whisk together vegan mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, celery seed, salt, and cracked pepper to make the dressing.
Add the bag of shredded cabbage, carrot, and red onions to the dressing.
Toss until well mixed with the dressing. Refrigerate coleslaw for at least 30 minutes to blend flavors and soften cabbage.
Assemble the Sliders: Toast slider buns and top with pulled jackfruit, coleslaw, pickles, and a sliver of avocado.
Don't skip the baking. It caramelizes the mixture giving the jackfruit an even better texture and flavor.
You can chop up some cabbage and carrots yourself, or you can take the easy route and grab a pre-made coleslaw mix from the store.
Mix the dressing with your coleslaw mix just before serving. This keeps the veggies crisp.
Ahh - the 'great coleslaw debate' in my house! It's a mayo battleground – some of us love it creamy and rich, while others prefer it lighter and more tangy. You're the chef and the referee in your house, so adjust the mayo in the coleslaw recipe to your liking, whether it's a dollop or a deluge, your coleslaw, your rules! Comment and let me know which side of the mayo fence you land on. Are you 'Team More Mayo' or 'Team Less'?
Just add a handful of really thin half slices to your coleslaw or dice them finely. The idea is to get that nice zing from the onions, but you don't want to overdo it and let the onion flavor take over the whole dish.
You could go for classic slider buns, or if you're feeling adventurous, try something like Hawaiian rolls for a sweet contrast to the savory jackfruit - if you can find them vegan.
For those who want to add more sauce to their sliders, have some extra BBQ sauce, vegan mayo, or even hot sauce on the side.
Sweet potato fries, Delicious Air-Fryer Fries, chips, a simple green salad, or even some grilled corn on the cob round your meal nicely. You can swap out the cole slaw and serve it with Purple Cabbage Slaw with Creamy Tahini Dressing.
While jackfruit has a meat-like texture, it's not as high in protein as meat. It's more about the texture and flavor experience.
I have often left it out entirely, and it works great with these jackfruit sliders.
You can but It's labor-intensive. You'll need to cut it and remove the seeds and fibrous parts.
Vegan coleslaw can last about 3-5 days in the fridge. However, it's best when fresh, as the veggies lose their crispness over time.
Yes. You can prepare the jackfruit mixture ahead of time and reheat it when you're ready to serve. It actually allows the flavors to meld together even more. However, I'd suggest preparing the coleslaw fresh to maintain its crunch.
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ yellow onion, sliced thinly into rings, then halved
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (~15 grams)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 14-ounce cans of young green jackfruit in brine (not syrup), drained, rinsed, and shredded
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup vegan BBQ sauce
- mini burger buns or slider buns
- pickles and avocado slices for toppings
- 4 cups of mixed shredded cabbage and carrot (or 4-ounce bag)
- ¼ red onion, sliced thinly into rings, then halved
- ¼ - ½ cup vegan mayonnaise (depending on your preference)
- ¼ cup relish
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- Prepare the Jackfruit: Rinse the jackfruit, then shred it with your hands or a fork. If there are any hard-core pieces or pieces that look like seeds, chop them finely. Everything in the can is edible and will soften up.
- Chop the Vegetables: Slice the onions and mince the garlic.
- Preheat the Oven: Set the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Making the Jackfruit Mixture
- Cook the Aromatics: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add the chopped onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until the onions are translucent, around 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and sauté for another 1 minute until fragrant.
- Season: Add the smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne, salt, and black pepper. Stir well for about a minute to toast the spices a bit.
- Jackfruit: Add the jackfruit and vegetable broth and mix until everything is well coated. Simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes until the veggie broth has evaporated.
- Bake the Jackfruit: Spread the seasoned jackfruit in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the edges are crispy and slightly browned.
- Combine: Take the baking pan out of the oven, pour the BBQ sauce over the jackfruit, and put it back in the oven for another 12 minutes until the edges are crispy.
Prepare the Coleslaw
- Prepare the Dressing: While the jackfruit finishes baking, prepare the coleslaw by whisking together vegan mayo, relish, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and celery seed, seasoned with salt and pepper.
- Combine: Add the shredded cabbage, carrots, and sliced red onion to the dressing.
- Chill: Refrigerate the coleslaw for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the cabbage to soften.
Assemble the Sliders
- Lightly toast the slider buns. Spoon a generous amount of pulled jackfruit onto the bottom half of each bun. Top with coleslaw, a few pickles, and slices of avocado.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Oven: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: main dish, appetizer
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: Amerian
- Diet: Vegan
- Serving Size: 2 sliders
- Calories: 178
- Sugar: 25.1 g
- Sodium: 665 mg
- Fat: 3.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 35.5 g
- Protein: 2.8 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: jackfruit, savory, summer, spring, bbq, sandwich