Cooked by TFW: Jackfruit Meatballs

Today’s meal is a #CookedByTFW first, y’all! But more on that in a moment… The internet is an amazing thing. It’s a source of endless information at your fingertips (like a recipe blog written by the handsomest, most eligible bachelor in the Rocky Mountain region). It’s a place to reunite long lost or long distance friends and family. And, as often was (let’s be honest, still is) the case for me, it’s a place to liiiiiiiiiiiie your face off about your entire life. Back when I was in high school, before there was Twitter, Facebook, Tinder, WhatsApp, Snapchat, or Instagram… there was AOL Instant Messenger, AIM for short. It was the original gChat (I know there was ICQ, too but… nerds… stop being nerds). You could go into giant chat rooms, and talk to random strangers… Everybody was catfishing everybody!!!! It was an amazing and terrifying time to be alive.

Why do I bring up the now-ancient chatroom program? Because, back in high school, you had a LOOOOOOOOOT of fakesters in your class claiming they had significant others they didn’t really have, myself include. I definitely had an “internet girlfriend” or two. Again, why am I bringing any of this up in a cooking blog? Because all these years later, and I’m still up to my old ways, albeit very tongue-in-cheek these days.

Let me tell you about a girl I know. Her name is Scott… Her name isn’t actually Scott, but I’ve been calling her Scott ever since we hung out in June; it’s an inside joke… you had to be there. We’re calling her Scott, okay?! Scott and I have been Twitter friends for a little over a year – which is the internet equivalent to about 15-20 years – and have recently joked our way into a fake internet relationship, a “Fauxmance” if you will. #TrueFauxmance. Most our friends are in on the joke and play along. When Scott was in town in June, we did karaoke and sang a bunch of love songs to each other. It’s cute and innocent and all in fun. The on-going joke in the Tym and Scott saga is that she’s a vegan and I am a dyed-in-the-wool meat-eater, so our love is forbidden. A real modern day Romeo and Foodiet.

Scott is always opening my eyes to delicious vegan meals, and I’m always promising her that I’ll change my ways so we can finally live in harmony. Truth be told, Scott is an angel who is so beyond out of my league that if I was ever forced to choose between her and meats in real life… I’d never touch a steak again in my life. But I digress. Scott introduced me to jackfruit a few months ago… If you’re like me, you probably have never heard of jackfruit until Scott came into your life. Let’s briefly discuss.

Jackfruit is this massively large (according to Wikipedia, it’s the world’s largest tree-borne fruit and can get up to 80 lbs) fruit native to South India. It’s in the fig family. And, unbeknownst to me, jackfruit has recently revolutionized vegan menus here stateside. You see, what makes it so popular is that many claim it tastes just like pulled pork. Scott, a former meat-eater herself, swears by it. There is a restaurant in her town that allegedly makes the best BBQ jackfruit sandwich. Naturally, with Scott’s ringing endorsement, I had to try it for myself. I have spent WEEKS researching various Jackfruit recipes, mainly in an on-going attempt to impress Scott, but I guess y’all can reap the benefits of my internet flirt game. I’ll sprinkle new jackfruit recipes from time to time as I get my hands on this delicious meat substitute.

Which brings me to today’s meal, a #CookedByTFW first becaaaaauuuuuse!!!!

IT IS THE FIRST COMPLETELY VEGAN MEAL IN THIS YOUNG RECIPE BLOG’S LIFE!

Some would argue Spicy Veggie Pasta or the Low-Carb Dinner Date were the first vegan meals, but both of those merely were – say it with me, kids – VERSATILE enough to be made vegan if you so pleased. I prepared them with chicken. Today’s recipe, Jackfruit Meatballs, is 100% intended to woo the nonivores (Hey! Remember when I made that joke in the dinner date post?!) and vegans in your life. Scott, here’s looking at you, kid!

Instead of my usual long parenthetical in the Ingredients section, let me quickly share what I’ve learned about Jackfruit: you can get it fresh or canned from your local Cost… errrrrr… Whole Foods. There’s another first! I walked into Whole Foods for the very first time the other day in search of Jackfruit. If not for the garlic, this almost became the first meal I prepared with zero ingredients from Costco… Anyway, I used canned jackfruit for this recipe (because fresh jackfruit is $2/lbs and weighs a solid 10-20 lbs… ain’t nobody got time – or the cash flow –for that); however, I’m excited to eventually get my hand on some fresh jackfruit and see how it compares. Spoiler Alert: canned jackfruit was pretty dang good!

Let’s see… rambled about a non-existent high school love life, repeatedly named dropped my current internet girlfriend’s fake name, jackfruit facts… hmmm… looks like we’re ready to hop into this reci… OH WAIT! Last thing! This recipe is only going to cover how to make the meatballs themselves. In the pictures, you’ll see I also made zucchini noodles (#NeverZoodles) and a red sauce, but we’ve gone over veggie noodles and homemade sauces before. For reference, use the sauce recipe in the Chicken Pizza post (available hurrr: https://www.tfwmma.com/news/2017/4/19/fight-camp-foods-chicken-pizza). Okay… now, to the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 14oz Can of Jackfruit
  • 3/4 Cups Breadcrumbs
  • 5 Cloves of Garlic (reminder: I love garlic, so adjust that portion accordingly, if necessary)
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 Tsp Cooking Oil (I used Canola)
  • 1 Tsp Lemon Juice
  • Salt And Pepper To Taste

 

Directions

1. Boil about 2 Cups of lightly salted water. Drain the jackfruit and add to the water. Let it boil for 10-12 minutes, until the jackfruit softens. Drain the water and let the jackfruit cool a bit before transferring it to the food processor.

2. Add all ingredients EXCEPT the breadcrumbs to the food processor along with the jackfruit and shred. You’ll need to scrape the sides of the food processor a few times to get things finely cut up. Pro Tip: add the oil and lemon juice after letting it shred a few times first.

3. Transfer the mix to a bowl and add 1/2 Cup of the Breadcrumbs. You may not need all 3/4 Cup of the breadcrumbs. Once you add that half cup and mix it up, add more a tablespoon at a time until your mix firms up… but don’t let it get too dry. Once the mix reaches your desired consistency, make about 10 – 12 1-inch balls.

4. There are two ways to cook your meatballs. I tried pan searing, but kinda wish I had baked them. Follow you heart.

To pan sear: heat an oiled skillet over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add your meatballs and cook for about a minute or two on each side.

To bake: preheat your oven to 410º. Place the balls on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.

And there you have it! A 100% vegan dish! Add it to your spaghetti, your meatball subs, your tacos, your anything to which you like to add meatballs! Play with the spices and be sure to share your versions of these Jackfruit Meatballs on all the social medias using the hashtag #CookedByTFW.

Make them for the #1 Vegan in your life and, as always, thank me in the morning!

LA Jennings