Jerk-spiced jack fruit and mango avocado salsa pack these vegan tacos with a big punch of flavor! They’re bright, fresh, and fun to eat.
When I flipped through the Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook by VDF, these jerk-spiced vegan tacos caught my attention right away. Combining jerk seasoning with ginger, tamari, and meaty jackfruit isn’t something I would have thought of myself. But wow, wow, wow, were these delicious! In the past, I’ve made vegan taco recipes with roasted sweet potato, black beans, a ground beef-like mushroom taco “meat,” and more, but this jack-fruit filling is one of my new favorites. It has a fantastic hearty texture and bold, spicy flavor that’s perfectly accented by a sweet and juicy mango avocado salsa. I’m obsessed with these vegan tacos, and I think you will be too!
Vegan Taco Meat
The vegan taco meat in this recipe is a Jamaican Jerk-spiced jack-fruit. If you’ve never cooked with jack fruit, it’s one of my favorite plant-based meat substitutes. Its stringy, hearty texture perfectly mimics shredded meat – think pulled pork or chicken tinga. As we made this filling, Jack and I couldn’t stop talking about how meaty it looked!
Canned jackfruit is bland on its own, so VDF spices it up with a homemade jerk seasoning blend. With ingredients like cinnamon, black pepper, cumin, and cayenne, the jerk spices are ones you likely already have in your pantry. This blend is a combination of familiar ingredients, but it’s aromatic, sweet, and spicy. Along with lime juice, tamari, and tomato paste, it makes the taco filling super flavorful, tangy, and juicy. We couldn’t get enough!
Vegan Tacos Variations
- InstantPot, or not. VDF cooks the vegan taco meat in an InstantPot, but since I’m the only person left on the planet who doesn’t have one, I made made mine in a regular pot on the stove, and it came out great in just 20 minutes. I’m sharing the stovetop instructions in the recipe below.
- Swap the salsa. The mango avocado salsa in this recipe is really delightful. The rich avocado tames the heat of the jackfruit, and cucumber adds a nice crunch. If you want to change things up, my mango or pineapple salsa recipes would be great too.
- Add extra richness. If you love your vegan tacos with something rich and creamy on top, finish these guys with avocado slices, cashew sour cream, or a big scoop of guac.
- Choose your favorite tortillas. Because I love the flavor of corn tortillas but appreciate the pliability of flour tortillas, I like to use tortillas made from a mix of corn and wheat flour. I’ll either buy this brand, or make my own. If you use regular corn tortillas, this vegan taco recipe is totally gluten-free!
- Mango Avocado Salsa
- 2 cups peeled and diced mango, about 2 medium
- 1 medium ripe avocado, diced
- ¾ cup diced red onion
- ½ cup diced cucumber
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
- Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
- 1½ teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 (20-ounce) cans jackfruit in brine or water
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 scallions, white and light green parts, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
- 1 habanero, serrano or jalapeño pepper, minced
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or agave nectar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¼ cup tamari
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 12 corn tortillas, charred or warmed
- Make the mango-avocado salsa. In a medium bowl, combine the mango, avocado, onion, cucumber, orange juice, lime juice, and cilantro and mix gently. Season to taste with salt.
- Make the Jamaican Jerk Seasoning. Combine all of the spices together in a small bowl.
- Prepare the jack fruit: Drain the canned jack fruit and lightly rinse under water, shaking off excess water. Use your fingers to remove any thick cores and pull the pieces apart so that it resembles shredded pork.
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the the scallions and cook until browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and chile pepper and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Add all of the Jamaican jerk seasoning, stir to coat, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly, until very fragrant.
- Add the shredded jack-fruit, coconut sugar, tomato paste, tamari, and lime juice. Stir well. Pour in 1/2 cup water and mix again. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve the jack-fruit with the tortillas and mango avocado salsa.