Jackfruit BBQ Ribs
A meat substitute that has really gained popularity over the past couple of years is the jackfruit. Who would have ever thought a fruit that can weigh as much as 50 pounds could replace meat?
While the fresh fruit is indigenous to India and is also grown in southeast Asia, it can (and does) grow in tropical climates including parts of Florida.
The young green jackfruit is used for savory dishes. Once ripened, it becomes a sweet, sticky fruit that can be used in desserts and smoothies.
Fortunately, it’s easy to find prepared jackfruit in a can in most Asian grocery stores or even local health food stores. It’s often used in BBQ dishes as it can develop a texture similar to that of pulled pork. To me, it still has somewhat of a “slimy” texture if eaten after having simply marinated in BBQ sauce. Because of this, I love to turn the jackfruit into BBQ “ribs”.
How does this magic happen? In addition to mixing in spices and chopping the jackfruit to a “ground beef” like texture, the secret ingredient is vital wheat gluten, which gives the “ribs” their meaty texture.
What is vital wheat gluten? It’s the protein component of wheat that gives bread its shape and dough its elasticity. It’s made by hydrating wheat flour to activate the gluten, then removing everything but the gluten. It’s then dried and ground into a powder.
1/4 cup of vital wheat gluten contains 120 calories and 23 grams of protein. So while jackfruit doesn’t have much protein, the jackfruit ribs are packed! See my blog to learn more about the benefits of plant versus animal proteins.
I like to serve these with oven backed potato wedges and homemade coleslaw to create a complete BBQ meal which includes some extra veggies!