I just found out about some new delicious meat substitute choices for dinnertime. Upton's Naturals has released these tasty new options for all of us to enjoy featuring jackfruit as a meat substitute. Jackfruit? I'd never even heard of it. Have you?
Jackfruit is apparently very close in texture to pulled pork or chicken and is a great meat substitute for those who are living a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, though everyone (even us meat eaters) can enjoy it.
What is jackfruit?
According to wiseGEEK:
A jackfruit is a huge, spined, oval fruit that is believed to have been first cultivated in Indian rainforests. It's mostly grown in tropical climates, and is the largest fruit in the world, weighing up to 80 pounds (about 36 kg) with a length of up to 3 feet (0.91 m).
You can click the wiseGEEK link above to learn all about what jackfruit is and what it is useful for.
Upton's Naturals jackfruit products offer a good source of fiber, are completely free of cholesterol, gluten, soy, oil, and GMO's with no artificial flavors and are 100% vegan. Also low in fat and carbs, varieties currently include Bar-B-Que and Chili Lime Carnitas.
Jackfruit is spiky on the outside but mild-flavored and nutrient-dense on the inside. Upton's Natural cooks the fruit up when young (not ripe) and seasons it to create their delicious products which can be served in a variety of ways such as over rice, in tacos, as a sandwich filling or in salads.
I chose to prepare the BBQ variety and serve it over rice for my family's dinner, along with sides of peas and corn. I didn't have time to mess with dinner rolls (since I didn't have any frozen ones and would have otherwise made them from scratch) so I just served some nice English toasting bread I'd bought at the grocery store — since it's a little more fancy than regular bread. Not a very imaginative menu, but it's been a busy couple of weeks around here and I needed a healthy, tasty dinner on the table fast. I started the vegetables and rice first and started a load of laundry, washed a few dishes and swept the kitchen floor while waiting for them to be just about finished before starting to heat the Upton's Naturals Bar-B-Que jackfruit. The jackfruit just needs to be stirred occasionally while heating, so that gave me time to get out dinner plates, silverware and set the table.
Here's a close-up of the BBQ flavor jackfruit during meal preparation.It really does look very much like pulled pork and it smelled delicious. I was pretty excited to see what my daughters (who are vegetarians) would think about this dinner option.
The product comes sealed in plastic packaging. There are two methods for preparing it: you can simply submerge the plastic packaging in boiling water for 5-7 minutes until the contents are heated. Alternatively, the recommended method is to fry it in a pan with a small amount of oil for 1-2 minutes. I decided to go with the recommended method.
In terms of the time it took to prepare and the level of difficulty this is a super-easy and fast dinner option and I think it would be a very tasty and fast way to get dinner on the table quickly on a busy weeknight. And it tasted good! That's the most important thing because it makes no difference how easy it is if it doesn't taste good, right?
We tried the Chili Lime Carnitas flavor served on tortilla shells with taco-type toppings such as shredded lettuce, dices tomatoes and sour cream alongside tortilla chips and salsa for dinner a few nights after trying the BBQ. My personal favorite was the Chili Lime Carnitas. My family (who can sometimes be picky about what they eat) gave both Upton's Naturals flavors a thumbs up, so I am satisfied! We will be having these again very soon!
Upton's Naturals can be found in the refrigerated section at natural and specialty stores nationwide. To find a store near you that carries it you can use their Store Locator. They even feature Recipes on their site for use with their products. You should definitely check them out if you decide to try Upton's Naturals.
Have you ever heard of jackfruit or tried it as a meat substitute? I'm very interested to know your experiences with this versatile new option for dinnertime deliciousness! Comment away…
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Disclaimer: I was provided the product shown free of charge to facilitate review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.