Vegan Jackfruit Pernil | Meaty & Delicious

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This Vegan Jackfruit “Pernil” is a take on the traditionally meat-centric Puerto Rican dish. Using jackfruit as “pulled pork,” this recipe tastes just like the real thing!

This Vegan Jackfruit Pernil is a vegan take on the traditional Puerto Rican dish. Pernil is typically a meat-based dish that’s served during special occasions, parties, or holidays. It is cooked over the course of several hours and served alongside other traditional Puerto Rican dishes, like arroz con gandules, fried plantains, and fresh slices of ripe avocado. 

Instead of pork, this plant-based Pernil is made using jackfruit that has been marinated in a blend of Puerto Rican spices for maximum flavor.

close up photo of cooked jackfruit pernil to show texture

This recipe is part of the #FromYourBowl series on the blog – see here for more information.

Today we’re joined by Aly, who runs the food blog Plant Based And Broke. Aly is a 32-year-old Afro-Latina living in the Bay Area, creating budget and pantry-friendly recipes that emphasize seasonal produce and utilizing what you’ve got. Growing up with her mom and twin sister in Little Havana, Miami, Florida, Aly faced limited access to food at times, inspiring her to learn how to cook, budget, and understand how access influences a person’s diet. Her determination to eat in a healthier, more accessible way led her to where she is today—creating affordable, approachable, and absolutely delicious recipes!

photo of aly next to bowl of jackfruit pernil next to arroz con gandules and tostones

Aly chose to share a recipe that hits close to home for her: Vegan Jackfruit “Pernil.” After shifting to a plant-based diet, Aly still craved some of her favorite traditional Puerto Rican dishes she grew up with. In order to keep traditions and flavors alive, she knew she had to recreate them! Now she never feels like she’s missing out on any of her favorite flavors from back home.

Stay tuned for a Q&A with Aly at the end of this post, where we talk about one food item she absolutely hates ???? (and lots more!)

INGREDIENTS FOR VEGAN JACKFRUIT PERNIL

ingredients for jackfruit pernil in small white bowls on marble background

This recipe calls for just 10 simple ingredients! Don’t be fooled…these 10 simple ingredients pack some serious flavor. Get ready for your house to smell amazing when you make this.

  • Jackfruit: is an incredibly convincing substitute for pulled pork; the texture is tender and pulls apart just like pork. Its mild flavor easily takes on whatever you season it with.
  • Crushed Garlic: packs a flavor like no other. Just a few cloves will be enough to infuse every last bite with delicious garlic-y goodness! 
  • Seasoning Blend: Adobo, Sazon, Sofrito, Oregano, Smoked Paprika, and a dash of Black Pepper combine to create an array of warm and spicy flavors that will make your tastebuds sing. Aly suggests making fresh homemade sofrito, as it’s much tastier and super simple to make. You can also find Sofrito, along with Sazon and Adobo, online or at a nearby Latin market.
  • Oil for Cooking: We’ll be pan-frying our Jackfruit Pernil in a bit of oil to get it crisp and juicy. Aly suggests using vegetable oil for this recipe. 

HOW TO MAKE VEGAN JACKFRUIT PERNIL

photo of shredded jackfruit next to bowl of jackfruit pods next to photo of uncooked jackfruit tossed in marinade

All you need to prepare this recipe is one bowl and a pan to cook everything in. You’ll just need a bit of time to let the jackfruit soak up all of the flavors in the marinade before it gets pan-fried and is ready to enjoy!  

  1. Drain the jackfruit and rinse it with fresh water to remove any excess brine. Dry and squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the jackfruit, removing the seeds as you go.
  2. Break apart the jackfruit into “pulled pork” pieces using a fork, potato masher, or your hands.
  3. Add the crushed garlic, all of the spices, water, and a bit of olive oil to a bowl and whisk until well-combined. Then add the jackfruit pieces to the bowl and coat in your marinade. 
  4. Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour, to allow the jackfruit to soak up all of the juicy flavors in the marinade. 
  5. Add cooking oil to a pan and fry jackfruit over high heat, stirring occasionally. 
  6. Enjoy!

jackfruit pernil in white bowl next to serving dishes of arroz con gandules and tostones

This Vegan Jackfruit Pernil is tender, juicy, and packed with flavor. Aly likes to serve hers alongside the traditional Puerto Rican side dishes she grew up with. Yellow rice with pigeon peas or arroz con gandules, crispy fried plantains, and fresh slices of avocado are her favorites. She also enjoys using the leftovers to make a “pulled pork” sandwich full of Puerto Rican flavors. You can store this in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze in a tightly-sealed container for up to 2 months.  

jackfruit pernil in white bowl next to serving dishes of arroz con gandules and tostones

If you’re looking for more Latin-inspired recipes, you’ll also love this Vegan Arroz con Gandules, this Vegan Picadillo, and this Vegan Lomo Saltado!

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂

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Vegan Jackfruit Pernil

This Vegan Jackfruit “Pernil” is a take on the traditionally meat-centric Puerto Rican dish. Using jackfruit as “pulled pork,” this recipe tastes just like the real thing!

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 20-ounce (560 g) cans of young jackfruit in brine (not syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons homemade sofrito*
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed 
  • 2 teaspoons oregano 
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon adobo seasoning blend*
  • ½ teaspoon Sazón seasoning blend*
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • ½ cup (120 ml) water 
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) vegetable oil, or other high-heat cooking oil

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Jackfruit: Drain the jackfruit and rinse with fresh water to remove the excess brine. Dry the jackfruit with a clean cheesecloth, thin towel, or paper towels by squeezing as much water as possible from the fruit; Discard the liquid.
  2. Shred the Jackfruit: Remove the seeds or “pods” from the jackfruit, as these do not shred evenly and can have a bitter flavor. Shred the jackfruit apart using either a fork or potato masher; It should resemble pulled pork.
  3. Marinate: In a large mixing bowl, add the olive oil, sofrito, crushed garlic, oregano, black pepper, adobo, Sazón, smoked paprika, and water. Whisk until well-combined and the spices have dissolved. Add the jackfruit to the mixing bowl and mix well. Cover the bowl and have the jackfruit sit in the marinade for at least an hour in the refrigerator, longer if possible.
  4. Sear: Add ⅓ cup of oil to a large non-stick pan over high heat. Once the oil is warm, add the marinated jackfruit (and the leftover juices in the bowl, if any) to the pan. Pan-fry jackfruit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. It’s best to let the jackfruit sit for 3-5 minutes at a time, in order to brown some of its edges and give it more of a realistic texture. 
  5. Serve: warm and as desired. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days and are best reheated on the stovetop.

Notes

  • Sofrito can be bought pre-made at many Latin markets or in the “ethnic” aisle of a grocery store, however, homemade sofrito is much tastier and it’s fresh.
  • Sazón and Adobo seasoning blends can be found in some standard grocery stores, or your local Latin market. They can also be purchased online!

Keywords: vegan pernil, vegan jackfruit recipes, vegan puerto rican recipes, vegan pulled pork

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BONUS Q&A WITH ALY:

When you’re not in the kitchen, what do you like to do? 

I love being outdoors. It doesn’t have to be anywhere incredible, just simply being outside in warm weather and a beaming sun makes me feel at peace. 

Are there any foods that you cannot stand? 

Vinegar was always strange to me – it smells like sweaty, dirty socks. However, it makes for a great cleaning product.

What does diversity in food media mean to you?

It means not only ethnic, cultural, and racial diversity – but diversity of income, access, and ideas. It doesn’t mean just inserting a BIPOC person for one campaign. It means actively including different voices and experiences in food media. This will not only appeal to a diverse audience, but it will help inform teams working in food media to make decisions that include a perspective that may not have been previously considered. 

How does your background/culture/upbringing influence your food choices and how you cook today?

I grew up in Miami in a Puerto Rican household. This means I was able to experience a plethora of Caribbean and Latin American flavors on a regular basis. Additionally, I grew up where money was limited and where food was often stretched out. I cook the way I cook today because I want to show others that it’s possible to eat a plant-based diet with limited equipment, resources, and ingredients – while still enjoying traditional flavors you grew up eating.

*As per the mission of #FromYourBowl, a donation was made to Gyrl Wonder in Aly’s name.

About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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