These vegan "pulled pork" inspired sandwiches feature sweet & smoky BBQ spiced jackfruit topped with a creamy coleslaw on a fluffy gluten-free bun. This gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan recipe is sure to be a hit at your next summer BBQ!
These Vegan "Pulled Pork" Sandwiches have been a long time in the making. I don't remember specifically where it was that I fell in love with BBQ Jackfruit, but I know that it's been in my life for several years now...
My friend Kelly has been vegan for nearly 5 years and I believe she introduced me to the concept just before it became popular. We went to school together (for 15 years actually) and found the most amazing gluten-free AND vegan restaurant in town that had BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches on the menu. We were hooked! The smoky jackfruit with the texture of pulled pork and a refreshing coleslaw was so good.
Naturally, I had to recreate at home so I could have these sammies anytime I want. Not only are they super simple and flavourful, but they'll impress any meat-eater you cook them up for!
What you need to make Vegan "Pulled Pork" Sandwiches
There are 3 main components to this recipe: the coleslaw, the BBQ jackfruit, and the bun. Now, unfortunately I have not yet mastered the art of gluten-free bread making, so I bought my buns at an amazing local gf bakery. But if you are a legend and can whip up some gluten-free burger buns, power to you! And also, please teach me.
This coleslaw recipe comes from the one that my mom would make for every family holiday! I have made some modifications based on my dietary restrictions and I think it is a wonderful rendition of the classic.
You will need:
A bag of coleslaw mix: or just shredded cabbage. The main ingredient in coleslaw!
Celery: for crunch. I love the crunchy texture of this coleslaw in contrast to the soft and smoky pulled jackfruit. The celery definitely adds to the crunch factor!
Green onion: I love the distinct flavour that green onion gives this coleslaw.
Mayonnaise: This is the base of the coleslaw dressing here. My mom's original recipe also includes yogurt in the dressing, but I've never been a big fan of yogurt. I replaced the yogurt's quantity with more mayo, which also helps this coleslaw be dairy free! To make this recipe vegan, all you have to do is use a vegan version. Note that I like to use the Sir Kensington's mayonnaise pictured above. It uses avocado oil and is a great paleo option!
White vinegar: for zing!
Mustard: acts as an emulsifier and flavour-booster for the dressing.
Sugar, celery seed, salt & pepper: I've tried to remove the sugar from this recipe, but even my mom noticed that something was off. I like to use coconut sugar to be paleo, but regular granulated sugar would add what the dressing needs with the least-prominent flavour.
BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Ingredients
This BBQ jackfruit mixture is inspired by what I used to love about pulled pork. Now I'm not vegan so I very much would still eat it, however BBQ can be complicated for those eating gluten-free. Soy sauce, Worcestershire, and barely can very easily sneak their way into sauces and dishes that you may not think to check. So in that case, I love to cook up this easy, vegan BBQ meal that I know is gluten-free!
Canned young jackfruit in water: 2 cans will yield approximately 4 sandwiches. I find this stuff at my local health food store, however online is a great option as well. I like the Native Forest brand. It looks and smells a bit odd, but trust me that the end result is soooo worth it!
Coconut sugar, chilli powder, cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, salt & pepper: These classic BBQ spices act as a dry rub for the jackfruit. They sure take it to flavourtown!
Your favourite BBQ sauce: Make sure it's gluten-free and vegan! A pre-made BBQ sauce will help to braise the jackfruit and let it cook down until it's super soft while absorbing all the flavour. I love this one called Bigfoot Bold (no affiliate, just BBQ love).
How to make Vegan "Pulled Pork" Sandwiches
This gluten-free and vegan meal comes together in just 40 minutes, and most of that time is hands-off!
The first thing you want to do is make the coleslaw, since that needs to sit to soak in and develop flavour. Chop up the vegetables and combine the rest of the sauce ingredients in a measuring cup. Mix everything together in a large bowl or container, stir, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve!
Once the coleslaw is done, you can begin cooking the jackfruit! The first thing you'll want to do is drain and rinse the canned jackfruit. This helps to remove the tin smell. Be sure to then dry all of the pieces thoroughly.
Next, combine all of the BBQ spices and toss with the jackfruit to form a dry rub.
Let it sit for a minute while you heat some avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sear the jackfruit for 2-3 minutes to lock in the flavour of the spices. While that's happening, measure out your BBQ sauce and add an almost equal amount of water. This will act like a flavourful braising liquid for the jackfruit.
Add the thinned BBQ sauce to the skillet, stir, and add the lid. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally. If you notice the jackfruit getting too dry, you can add more water or BBQ sauce. If you notice by the end that it's still quite liquid, leave the lid off for the last few minutes.
Once the jackfruit is fully cooked, it will be very easy to pull it apart with 2 forks. The texture comparison to pulled pork is spot on. Break it down into small chunks or strands, and top with additional BBQ sauce if you wish.
Next, take your gluten-free buns of choice and get them nice and toasty. Load them up with a nice scoop of pulled BBQ jackfruit and some cool, refreshing coleslaw. Then it's time to enjoy!
These Vegan "Pulled Pork" Sandwiches sure are a crowd pleaser. Gluten-free, vegan, and meat-eaters alike! Everyone loves a good BBQ meal, and you'll love how inclusive this version is for all dietary restrictions and allergies. You'll be craving more soon!
These Vegan "Pulled Pork" Sandwiches are perfect for an allergy-friendly BBQ craving! You’ve gotta try this recipe. If you have, I’d love to see. Tag me on instagram @liv.glutenfree and let me know how it was in a comment below!
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BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches
- 4 cups Coleslaw mix (300g bag) or chopped cabbage
- 6 stalks Chopped celery
- 3 Chopped green onions
- ½ cup Mayonnaise can sub for vegan mayo
- 1 tbsp White vinegar
- 1 tsp Granulated sugar can use coconut sugar for paleo
- ½ tsp Mustard
- ½ tsp Celery seed
- ½ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper
- 2 cans Young jackfruit ensure it's in water not brine
- 2 tbsp Coconut sugar
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Garlic powder
- ½ tsp Chilli powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Pepper
- 2 tbsp Avocado oil
- 1 cup BBQ sauce ensure it's gluten-free and vegan
- 4 Gluten-free buns
- Chop the cabbage (if not bagged), celery, and green onion. Place into a large container or bowl.
- Combine the rest of the coleslaw ingredients together in a measuring cup. Pour the dressing into the container or bowl. Stir well so everything is evenly incorporated. Place the coleslaw in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Drain and rinse the jackfruit. Pat to dry.
- Combine all of the spices in a bowl. Toss with the jackfruit to coat.
- In a medium size skillet, heat the avocado oil on medium and fry the jackfruit for 2-3 minutes.
- Thin out the BBQ sauce with an almost equal portion of water. Add to the skillet and turn to low heat.
- Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you find the jackfruit is getting too dry, add some more water. If it is still quite liquid near the end of the half hour, remove the lid for the last few minutes.
- Use 2 forks to pull the jackfruit like you would pulled pork. Add extra BBQ sauce if you desire.
- Create BBQ jackfruit sandwiches by toasting your gluten-free buns and adding a scoop of BBQ jackfruit topped with the creamy coleslaw. Enjoy!