If you’re looking to add more plants to your diet, you might want to think about picking up some jackfruit next time you’re doing a food shop. This tropical fruit has become increasingly popular over the past decade, thanks, in part, to its fibrous consistency, which makes it a great meat substitute. But this fruit isn’t just delicious and versatile – it’s also incredibly good for you.

So, if you’d like to learn more about the health benefits of jackfruit, as well as how easily you can add it to your diet, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s everything you need to know about jackfruit – and 10 delicious recipes to make today.

What is jackfruit?

What is jackfruit

Jackfruit – or artocarpus heterophyllus, to use its scientific name –is a tropical tree fruit that grows in Asia, Africa, and South America, although it’s native to the South India region. It’s the largest tree fruit in the world, and can weigh up to 114 pounds – although thankfully, you don’t need to push one of these around in your shopping trolley! It’s usually sold in small tins, ready to cook or eat.

Jackfruit is part of the Moraceae plant family, which also includes mulberries, figs, and breadfruit, and it’s been eaten in India since ancient times. Beneath its thick, spiky green or yellow skin is a firm yet stringy yellow flesh that can be eaten raw or cooked. Its seeds are edible too.

The flavour of jackfruit depends on whether it’s ripe or not. Unripe jackfruit has a mild, delicate flavour and a fibrous texture. These two qualities make it great for savoury cooking – especially as a meat substitute – and it can be used similarly to tofu or tempeh. Ripe jackfruit is firm and dense, and has a sweet, tropical taste, rather like a cross between banana, mango, and pineapple.

What are the health benefits of jackfruit?

What are the health benefits of jackfruit

Like most plants, jackfruit is packed with nutrients and contains pretty much all essential vitamins and minerals. It’s low in fat, high in fibre, and has high amounts of vitamin Avitamin Cmagnesiumpotassiumcopper, and riboflavin. Jackfruit also has a much higher protein content than most fruits; one cup contains more than three grams of protein, whereas most fruit contains zero to one grams.

Jackfruit is also packed with several different types of antioxidants, which are probably responsible for its many powerful health benefits. So, let’s take a closer look at some of these benefits.

It may help to control blood sugar

Many studies suggest that jackfruit can help control blood sugar. It has a relatively low glycemic index (GI), which means eating it shouldn’t affect blood glucose levels – something that’s very important for people with diabetes. The high amounts of fibre slow digestion, and the protein jackfruit also contains is believed to prevent blood sugar spikes after eating.

2011 study investigated the effect of jackfruit on diabetes, and the results suggested that jackfruit helps prevent cell death in the pancreas (which produces insulin), and contributes towards low blood glucose levels. Another 2016 study found that jackfruit extract contains chemicals that prevent the breakdown of fats and complex carbs, which can also help in managing diabetes.

It may protect against disease

Jackfruit is packed with antioxidants that are believed to help prevent several chronic diseases, from cancer and heart disease to type 2 diabetes. It contains the phytochemicals flavonoids, saponins, and tannins, which, according to countless studies, counter the effects of free radicals, which can damage cells and play a role in the development of chronic diseases.

2017 study found that jackfruit inhibited the growth of induced, ectopic blood vessels, leading researchers to surmise that it may have potential as a future anticancer therapy. Plus, the high amounts of carotenoids jackfruit contains have been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

It may help to lower blood pressure

Jackfruit also contains high amounts of potassium – and a big benefit of this is that foods rich in potassium have been shown to help reduce blood pressure. This is because potassium counteracts the effects of sodium and reduces tension in the walls of blood vessels.

However, it’s important to note that due to its these amounts of potassium, jackfruit can be harmful to people with kidney disease or acute kidney failure.

It can aid digestion

Jackfruit, especially the seeds, is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels and slow the absorption of carbohydrates into the blood – which also prevents blood sugar spikes after eating. Studies show that fibre can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer.

Plus, jackfruit seeds also contain prebiotics, which means they can support the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.

Other health benefits

If these weren’t enough reasons to pick up some jackfruit next time you’re shopping, this tasty fruit is believed to have several other health benefits that haven’t been studied quite as extensively.

First, thanks to the amount of immune-boosting vitamins A and C it contains, it’s believed to help prevent illnesses. These vitamins contain natural compounds with antibacterial and antifungal properties, which means they may be especially good at reducing the risk of viral infections.

These same anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties are also believed to promote wound healing. One 2013 study examined the properties of jackfruit leaf extract, and concluded that it may support wound healing. Vitamin C is also good for improving overall skin health.

Jackfruit roots and extracts have been used in traditional South Asian medicines for hundreds of years, where they’re believed to treat conditions including asthma, diarrhoea, and stomach ulcers. However, more research is needed before we can draw firm conclusions on its effectiveness.

10 jackfruit recipes

So, now we know more about why we should be eating more jackfruit, let’s have a look at how we can do so. Below we’ve compiled 10 of our favourite jackfruit recipes.

1. Pulled jackfruit tacos

Pulled jackfruit tacos

If you’re a fan of tacos, you’ll definitely want to make this next recipe. The shredded texture of unripe jackfruit is very similar to pulled pork, and when cooked with deep, fragrant spices like cumin, cloves, smoked paprika and coriander – as well as onion and garlic – the flavour and mouth-feel is incredibly moreish. While this recipe uses homemade tortillas, you can save time by buying shop-bought ones.

To make pulled jackfruit tacos, try this recipe from Lazy Cat Kitchen.

2. Jackfruit massaman curry

Jackfruit massaman curry

The rich, flavourful, and mildly spicy flavours of Massaman curry go perfectly with the mild flavour of jackfruit. Though this Thai curry tastes incredibly complex – with ginger, lemongrass, garlic, and chilli adding a punchy kick – it’s surprisingly easy to make. The addition of peanuts adds a satisfying, salty crunch, and a dash of lime and a scattering of fresh coriander lends freshness. Serve with jasmine rice.

To make jackfruit massaman curry, try this recipe by Olive Magazine.

3. BBQ jackfruit stuffed sweet potatoes

BBQ jackfruit stuffed sweet potatoes

If you have a slow cooker and are in the mood for a hearty, comforting dinner, this next recipe ticks the box. Cooking jackfruit in a slow cooker along with warming spices makes sure it becomes wonderfully tender, to the point where it falls apart on your fork. Then, once it’s cooked, simply stuff into baked sweet potatoes, and top with sour cream or avocado crema, as per the recipe.

To make BBQ jackfruit baked sweet potatoes, try this recipe from Thyme and Love.

4. Teriyaki jackfruit sushi bowl

Teriyaki jackfruit sushi bowl

In the mood for something lighter and fresher? This teriyaki jackfruit sushi bowl isn’t just packed with flavour, it’s also incredibly good for you – and every bite is sweet, savoury, and zingy. Pulled jackfruit is slathered in teriyaki sauce, and served on sushi rice with wilted spinach, pickled ginger and wakame (dried seaweed). Sprinkle black and white sesame seeds over before serving, then enjoy hot or cold.

To make this Japanese-inspired plant-based rice bowl, try this recipe from Elephantastic Vegan.

5. Jackfruit pot pie

Jackfruit pot pie

If you’re looking for a filling and comforting winter warmer that’s easy to knock up, pot pie is a good choice. While pot pies usually contain meat, veggie versions can be just as tasty, and this jackfruit pot pie is an absolute dream. Crack through the golden, flaky pastry crust with your fork and spoon out a creamy mixture of jackfruit, veg, and potatoes. It tastes decadent, but it’s easy on your stomach!

To make this creamy jackfruit pot pie, try this recipe from One Green Planet.

6. Jamaican jerk jackfruit wraps

Jamaican jerk jackfruit wraps

At this time of year, many of us are feeling under the weather – so why not inject some sunshine into your day and make these Jamaican jerk jackfruit wraps? Packed with shredded jerk jackfruit, black beans, mango, and cucumbers, these Caribbean-inspired burritos are high in protein and vitamins, and each mouthful is an explosion of flavour. If you don’t fancy it in a wrap, just serve it as a bowl.

To make these Jamaican jerk jackfruit wraps, try this recipe from Vegan Richa.

7. Pulled jackfruit burger

Pulled jackfruit burger

While the days of sun-drenched BBQs may still be a while away, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a few BBQ-inspired meals in the meantime. Thanks to its mild flavour and tender, stringy flesh, unripe jackfruit is the ideal vehicle for spicy sauces and marinades, so if you’re looking for a mouthwatering meat-free BBQ recipe, this burger is perfect. Served with apple slaw for a meaty yet sweet taste!

To make this pulled jackfruit burger, try this recipe from Olive Magazine.

8. Vegan duck pancakes with jackfruit

Vegan duck pancakes with jackfruit

Duck pancakes are a Chinese classic, and if you’ve always been a fan of this dish and want to make a veggie alternative, this next recipe will blow you away. Here, the tender jackfruit beautifully mimics the texture of duck, and drenched in sticky homemade hoisin sauce, and served with the traditional pancakes, cucumber, and spring onion, it’ll go down just as well with omnivores as herbivores.

To make jackfruit duck pancakes, try this recipe from Vegan Food & Living.

9. Pulled jackfruit Chilli

Pulled jackfruit Chilli

Chilli is one of those cosy meals that’s perfect for this time of year. If you want to make a veggie chilli, there are hundreds of excellent recipes online – some with beans, some with veggie mince, some with lentils, and some with all three. Jackfruit chilli is more unusual, but no less delicious – and very healthy. Packed with fibre, protein and vitamins, the jackfruit adds a satisfying meaty thickness too.

To make pulled jackfruit Chilli, try this recipe from Keepin’ It Kind.

10. Sri Lankan jackfruit curry

Sri Lankan jackfruit curry

A final recipe for the curry fans now – and perhaps one of the most authentic. Jackfruit originates in South India, and this next dish gives you an idea of how this versatile fruit is enjoyed in and around its place of origin. Plenty of fresh spices are essential for this fabulously fragrant dish – and if you want to save time, you can swap the deep-fried shallots with shop-bought crispy onions.

To make Sri Lankan jackfruit curry, try this recipe from Olive Magazine.

Final thoughts…

Delicious, diverse, and incredibly good for you, it’s no wonder jackfruit has seen such a surge in popularity in recent years.

While its meaty texture has meant that it’s become a regular addition to many plant-based menus, you don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to fall in love with this tropical tree fruit. The mild taste of jackfruit means it goes well with pretty much every cuisine, and there are so many ways to enjoy it.

Today, most large supermarkets sell canned jackfruit, although if yours doesn’t, your best is your nearest Asian supermarket. Failing that, you can always buy tinned jackfruit online!

Have you eaten jackfruit before? Perhaps you have some of your own jackfruit recipes you’d like to share? We’d love to hear about your culinary experiences in the comments below.