Up until not too long ago I didn’t even know that you could use jackfruit as a meat alternative. Then, of course, came the question: have you tried it yet? No, I hadn’t, but since I love culinary adventures, I couldn’t leave it that way. I’m glad I didn’t, because young jackfruit really makes a wonderful addition to all kinds of dishes. It is tender, has a quite neutral taste itself, and will therefore adopt any flavor you want it to have. I love the way it complements this sauce while adding even more texture to it.
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium-size sweet onion, diced
- 1 medium-size eggplant, ends removed, cut into about 3/4 inch (2 cm) cubes
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2.2 lb (1 kg) tomatoes, diced
- 3 Tbsp homemade veggie broth concentrate (or store-bought granulated vegetable broth to taste)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional, if you like it spicy)
- 9 oz (250 g) red, yellow, orange sweet mini peppers, cored and thinly sliced (or bell peppers, diced)
- one 7 oz (200 g) package unseasoned young jackfruit pieces (I used “Edward & Sons“)
- Celtic sea salt to taste (you might not need any)
- chopped fresh parsley galore
Wash and cut all your veggies.
Preheat a large pot or saucepan on medium heat. Add olive oil with diced onion, and sauté for about 8 minutes until onion is soft. Add cubed eggplant and fry for 5 more minutes while stirring frequently. Add paprika and garlic, stir well, then add tomatoes, veggie broth concentrate, and maple syrup. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat just a little, and simmer uncovered for 15 – 20 minutes until tomatoes start falling apart. Stir occasionally.
Add dried basil, oregano, thyme, and (optional) crushed red pepper. If you like the mini peppers (or bell peppers) soft, add them now. I prefer them crunchy and add them with the jackfruit. Simmer until the eggplant is almost soft, about 10 more minutes.
Meanwhile, place jackfruit pieces in a small bowl and use your hands to slightly squeeze them out of their cubed shape. You should still have pieces though, not shreds.
Add jackfruit and, if you haven’t already done that, mini- or bell peppers, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season to taste with Celtic sea salt and maple syrup, top with parsley, and enjoy with your favorite pasta or rice!
- Serve with some vegan Parmesan and even more hot sauce, if you like.
- Most eggplant recipes call for salted, rinsed, then dried eggplant pieces to remove the bitterness. I honestly never had a problem with bitter eggplants, even though I completely omit that process. Make sure to use fresh eggplants with green stems and shiny, smooth, unblemished skin, and you won’t have a problem.