Bursting with flavor, this easy and quick BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich with Vegan Coleslaw is a great family lunch or dinner, but also perfect for an outdoor gathering. Young jackfruit cooks while the vegan coleslaw is put together, enabling this dish to clock in at just 15 minutes to make.
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Hey Internet, I love BBQ season. Maybe it’s because I love to eat outdoors, or that there’s a heavy focus on food that comes together quickly, or maybe I just really love BBQ sauce.
I had tried a vegan pulled pork sandwich made with jackfruit at a restaurant once and loved it, so I had to try making one of my own.
When I finally did make it, my husband LOVED it, so I knew it was something I had to put on the blog.
I’m not sure it’s the smokiness of the BBQ sauce, the cold crunchy coleslaw, or that grilled bun that really makes it for me, but dang. So good.
This BBQ jackfruit sandwich recipe uses unripe jackfruit, your favorite BBQ sauce, and some onions and that’s pretty much it. However, I of course have a few tricks up my sleeve for tweaking the flavors so that they go from good to AMAZING.
Oh, and you NEED to pair it with a simple vegan Pina Colada, virgin or alcoholic. It’s just the best.
What You’ll Need for the BBQ Jackfruit
Young/Green Canned Jackfruit: Like my vegan shredded chicken recipe, this recipe uses young/unripe/green jackfruit that usually comes in a can or sometimes in a vacuum sealed package. You can buy young jackfruit online, or find it in stores like Trader Joe’s, some health food stores, and often in Asian markets. Do not use fresh ripe jackfruit as it’s very sweet and won’t have the same flavors.
Onion: I love a bit of onion in my pulled jackfruit, so I recommend either red onion or sweet onion here. Use what you like or feel free to omit.
BBQ Sauce: Use any BBQ sauce that you like here. If you’re vegan, beware that many store-bought BBQ sauces have honey or other non-vegan ingredients. I usually just make my own BBQ sauce since it doesn’t take very long.
Smoked paprika: For a little extra smokiness, I like to add some smoked paprika to the jackfruit just before adding the BBQ sauce. It really seems to stick that way.
Orange juice: Near the end, I love to add just a little orange juice to the BBQ jackfruit, letting it cook down for a couple of minutes. It brightens up the flavors and pairs beautifully with just about any BBQ sauce.
Buns: If eating as a sandwich, you’ll need some buns or bread of your choice. Feel free to use gluten-free to make this recipe gluten-free (just make sure you have a GF BBQ sauce).
Pickles: If you like, use dill pickle slices on your sandwiches. So good.
For the Vegan Coleslaw You’ll Need:
Shredded cabbage: Feel free to shred your own cabbage or buy a pre-packaged coleslaw in the salad section of your grocery store--though be careful because some include a dressing that contains dairy). I like to get both green and red cabbage and shred them myself while the jackfruit is cooking.
Shredded carrots: Either buy shredded/matchstick cut carrots at the store, or prep them yourself. I have to admit that I usually buy them pre-cut.
Celery seed: Such a tiny addition but makes a big flavor impact!
Vegan mayo: I make my own vegan mayo but store bought is fine too.
Apple cider vinegar: Any vinegar will work, actually, I just think apple cider vinegar is particularly good in this slaw.
Agave: Use any sugar you like, but I like coleslaw with just a touch of sweetness
How to Make a BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich with Vegan Coleslaw
- Prep your young jackfruit beforehand. Rinse it really well if it comes in brine, then lightly shred it with your fingers or two forks. Don’t shred it too much or the pulled jackfruit won’t have much texture. Discard any seeds--while they are edible, they don’t cook down as quickly and can be unpleasant in the finished product.
- Start by sauteing the onions (if using) in a large nonstick pot on medium high heat. If you cook with oil, feel free to use that here. I usually just splash a little water in, a tablespoon at a time, to keep the onions from sticking.
- Add the jackfruit and the smoked paprika, stir well and cook for one minute.
- Now add the water and half the BBQ sauce and stir well. Keep the burner on medium high. Set a timer for 10 minutes and stir occasionally.
- While you wait, make the coleslaw. If you are cutting your own veggies, thinly slice the cabbage and julienne or matchstick cut the carrots (or you can grate them on the largest setting on a box grater). Mix in a large bowl. Then mix vegan mayo with the celery seed, vinegar, and agave in a small bowl and then add to the cabbage mixture and toss it with two large spoons. Then mix in chopped parsley, taste, and adjust flavors if necessary.
- You can also start grilling the buns while you wait. Either toast them or cook them in a nonstick skillet. You may choose to spread a little vegan butter on the inside and lay them in the pan so they brown nicely.
- When the timer gets to about 3 minutes left, add the orange juice and stir it in. Let cook just a little longer.
- Now add the rest of the BBQ sauce, cook for 1-2 minutes to let it come to the right temperature, and remove from heat.
- To assemble the sandwiches, start by placing the bottom bun on a plate. Then scoop a generous amount of BBQ jackfruit onto the bun. Add a big spoonful of vegan coleslaw on top if, then add a few pickles if you wish. Finally add the top part of the bun and serve immediately. You may choose to serve with sandwich picks if you like (it looks kinda fancy but also helps keep it together while you eat.
- To store, refrigerate each component separately. Each should last 3-4 days in their own containers.
More Great Vegan Summer Recipes
- Vegan Chicken Salad Sandwich
- Vegan Sausage (they work great on the grill as “brats”)
- BBQ Tofu
- Sheet Pan Quesadilla
- Vegan Philly Cheesesteak
- Vegan Fish Tacos
- Asparagus Risotto
- Vegan Lobster Roll
- Watermelon Salad with Vegan Feta (homemade cheese)
- Vegan Caesar Salad
- Tofu Poke Bowl
- Vegan Honey Mustard Chicken Wraps
As always, I hope you love this recipe–I know I do and so does Mr. Zardyplants. I think he had at least 3 of these when we photographed it.
This BBQ jackfruit sandwich with vegan coleslaw is:
- Meaty (but without the cruelty!)
- and great for a quick family meal or easy party food!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!