I'm so excited to share this recipe with you! For starters, it involves squash, which you all know I'm obsessed with. But this recipe also has something else I am totally digging lately...jackfruit!
Have you tried jackfruit yet? I am sure you have heard of it at the very least. Jackfruit is definitely trending in the food department lately. But what is it and where does it come from? Jackfruit is widely cultivated in tropical regions around the world. And jackfruit appropriately grows on jackfruit trees...who would have thought! Because of its popularity, this drought resistant, high yielding crop offers substantial income to local farmers where jackfruit grows abundantly on their land. So not only does it offer some health benefits, but it is also providing for families in other ways.
As a meat replacement, jackfruit, when harvested young, is a low-calorie plant that has the look and texture of real meat. Because it’s so high in fiber, jackfruit is a great addition to your meal, it helps satiate appetites, and aids in overall body health. Jackfruit also contains iron, potassium, and calcium. And while we are on the subject of calcium, let me just say it is noted that jackfruit aids in preventing osteoporosis. That's a huge deal for me because of my family history. We lose calcium through our skin, nails, and sweat on a daily basis. But since our bodies don't produce new calcium on their own, we must get it through the foods we eat. So it's important to be mindful of your calcium intake. You can obtain 6% of your daily recommended allowance in one serving. Jackfruit is also rich in vitamin C which makes it a great immunity booster.
You may be assuming that because jackfruit is known as a meat replacement that it contains a fair amount of protein. This is perhaps the one area where jackfruit falls short. It is actually low in protein with 2.4 grams in one cup. In this recipe, we will gain a little more protein with the flax eggs and cashew flour. It's just something to keep in mind as you select other food sources throughout the day. This recipe calls for young jackfruit. If you are wondering why, it is because young jackfruit isn’t sweet. It’s harvested as the name suggests — before the fruit is fully ripened which means the sugars haven't developed. Young jackfruit looks like meat. Fully ripened jackfruit, on the other hand, has the texture of a ripe banana and is sweeter as well. Ripe jackfruit is used to make desserts and sweet things of that nature.
In its fresh form, jackfruit is a fairly large fruit with a prickly outer shell. Despite the prickly shell, peeling and slicing it is fairly simple. Finding it canned is not a problem these days. Most health food stores will carry it. So if prepping the raw fruit seems intimidating, just grab a can of it instead. Some of the more popular dishes made with jackfruit are "pulled pork sandwiches", tacos, chili, stir-fry, salads, etc. But this recipe is one of my favorites! The spices, along with the harissa, adds some fantastic flavor to the jackfruit. It doesn't hurt that some delicious delicata hosts these wonderful ingredients.
So if this is your first attempt with jackfruit, I really think you are going to enjoy it. Not only is this whole food healthy and versatile, but it is vegan, gluten-free, and paleo friendly. This recipe serves as a fantastic main or side dish, as well as being an excellent addition to your holiday feast.
1 can young jackfruit (This is a popular brand, Trader Joe's also sells it)
1/4 cup cashew flour (or almond flour)
2 flax eggs
2 Tbs harissa (I use this brand)
2 Tbs minced shallots
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
2 medium delicata squash, round slices, 1/2 inch thick
olive oil, for drizzling over squash slices
roasted red pepper cashew cream
1. Drain can of jackfruit and place jackfruit in your food processor. Pulse until the jackfruit is shredded in small pieces. Do not over process- you don't want it to become pasty.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the jackfruit, flax eggs, harissa, shallots, cashew flour, garam masala, turmeric, and coriander. Then place the bowl in the refrigerator while you prep the squash.
3. Wash the delicata, slice 1/2 inch thick circles, then scoop the seeds out of the middle so you are leaving the squash circles hollow in the center.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 400°F. Brush the delicata circles lightly with olive oil and bake them for about 15 minutes.
5. Remove the delicata from the oven and grab your bowl of the jackfruit mixture. Scoop the mixture out and fill each hole in the center of the delicata circle. Pack it in nice and tight. Repeat until all the delicata slices are filled.
6. Place the baking sheet back into the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes so that the delicata is fork tender and your desired consistency has been reached. Remove from oven and top with your favorite additions. Serves about 4-6 depending on if you are using it as a side dish or main course.