Jackfruit Carnitas


Two years ago I didn’t even know what jackfruit was. My first experience with this versatile fruit was at a vegan restaurant that I worked at. We made jackfruit tacos, enchiladas, soups and we even used it to substitute seafood like tuna or crab. Since then I have moved on to working in another kitchen that doesn’t offer jackfruit as a vegetarian option and usually uses only tempeh or tofu. So when we had a taco day the other day and had tempeh once again, I started dreaming of the jackfruit tacos I used to eat so often. The meat option that day was carnitas, so I decided to go home and make some carnitas of my own with the two cans I jackfruit I had in my pantry.


If you can’t find jackfruit at your regular supermarket in the Asian section or with canned fruits or vegetables, you will always be able to find it at any Asian supermarket. Jackfruit is originally from India and Southeast Asia but is also very popular in Brazil and other South American countries. It is the largest fruit in the world and can grow to be 80 pounds. I haven’t personally had a ripe or fresh jackfruit but I hear it tastes like Juicy fruit, Yummmy! For savory dishes you want to make sure you buy the green fruit in brine.


When you open the can and strain it you can either break it apart with you fingers for a very shredded look or you can just break it up in the frying pan with a sharp spatula. As it warms up it will become easier to break apart.


Here is my recipe for jackfruit carnitas. I tried to keep it as authentic as possible to the original pork recipes by simmering it in orange juice. Not only is jackfruit super low in calories, you also don’t have to spend hours cooking it on the stove like the meat version.

TIME:  30 minutes


Two 20 ounce cans of green jackfruit in brine

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 medium yellow onion diced

3 cloves of garlic minced

2 serrano chili peppers

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup of orange juice

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke


Start by dicing your onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat in the coconut oil until they become translucent and then add your serrano chilies. Make sure to deseed the chilies unless you really want some spicy food! If you can’t get serrano chilies, you can always substitute with jalapeños.

Next add your jackfruit and heat about five minutes or until it gets nice and hot. If you haven’t already started shredding the jackfruit when you removed it from the can, you can start now by using the edge of you spatula. As it gets warmer, it will get easier. Don’t worry about getting it completely shredded, the tougher parts will add texture to your dish.


Next add orange juice, soy sauce and liquid smoke and mix well. Add remaining ingredients and mix well again so they are evenly distributed. Let the jackfruit sit and simmer in the pan until all the liquid has dried up. I like to leave it on a little longer to brown the outside.


Serve your finished vegan jackfruit carnitas by serving on corn tortillas with cilantro and avocados and your favorite salsa.


Panko Crusted Spaghetti Squash Casserole

TIME: 1 hour                                                                                                                                                 


1 Medium Spaghetti Squash

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme, minced

1 Cup Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese

1/4 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan

1/4 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs

Cut Spaghetti Squash lengthwise with a sharp knife and scoop out the seeds and other loose filling so all that is left is the firm meat. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease baking dish as well as the inside of the squash. I used coconut oil cooking spray so I could evenly distribute the oil without using too much. This also helps keep the calories down since this is a very healthy substitute to other very fatty casseroles. Place the squash flesh side down on the baking dish and place in the oven for about 40 minutes. Check to see that it is fully cooked by sticking with a fork. If the fork goes in easily, it is ready to come out, if not, leave in for another 5 to 10 minutes or until forks slides in easily.

Once the squash cools enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and place in the mixing bowl. Mix in the Ricotta cheese, thyme and salt and mix well.

Lightly grease a 9×9 inch casserole dish and pour the squash mixture. Grate the Parmesan Cheese and evenly cover the casserole. On top of the parmesan evenly cover the casserole with the panko crumbs.

Place in the preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn oven to broiler setting and broil for two minutes or so, watching very carefully as the panko crumbs brown. Don’t let them burn. Remove immediately after they turn golden.


Chipotle Corn Chowder

Now that fall is finally here, it’s time to start eating warm soups again on chilly nights. It’s time to start cooking with the famous fall harvest vegetables too, like corn! I made this soup so it would be spicy and warming and using one of my favorite fall crops. A cup of this soup is not an appetizer but rather an entree. It will fill you up and give you enough energy to get through the season of preparing for Halloween, cooking for Thanksgiving and shopping for Christmas.

TIME:  30 minutes


oil for sauteeing

3 cups of water

2 cups of yellow onion diced (about 1 large onion)

2 large cloves of garlic minced

1 cup of celery chopped

3 cups of Yukon Gold potatoes cut into half inch cubes

1 chipotle from a can in adobo sauce

1 16 ounce pack of frozen corn or 2 cups of fresh corn

1 cup non dairy milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

parsley for garnish

YIELDS: 8 cups

Heat oil at medium high heat and saute onions, garlic and celery for about five minutes or until the onions become slightly translucent and the celery has begun to soften.

Add the potatoes, corn, water, salt and pepper and cover. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about fifteen minutes or until the potatoes and soft.

Place about 3 cups of the soup in the blender or food processor along with the chipotle chili and non dairy milk and roughly blend.

Mix with the remaining soup and serve immediately. Garnish with parsley or cilantro for a more southwestern flavor.




Peaches and Cream Smoothie

I’m in love with this new smoothie that I thought of this morning and am drinking as I write. Autumn began yesterday here in Portland as the weather changed and it poured rain all night. I felt like I wanted something that was autumn like, and that contained those favorite ingredients like cinnamon and nutmeg. Instead of the tried and true combination of pumpkin and spices, I had frozen peaches in my freezer. Here’s what I came up with and I dedicate it to the changing of the season, with a little summer and a little fall.

TIME: 5 Minutes


2 cups of cashew milk or nondairy milk of choice

1 banana

2 cups or frozen peaches

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons maple syrup

1 pinch of nutmeg

Yields: 1 cup

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend well.

Fantastic Orange Fennel Juice


TIME: 5 Minutes


1/2 of a fennel bulb

1 lemon

1 cup of spinach packed tightly

4 medium oranges

Yields: 1 cup

When peeling the lemon and orange, I like to cut the rind right off of my citrus instead of peeling it with my fingers because that is the easiest for me. I do try to cut off as much of the white part of the rind as possible though but I don’t think it matters that much. If you are eating a piece of fruit the white part tends to be bitter but I don’t think it makes too much of a difference when juicing since I don’t think there is juice in there.


I like to wash all of my greens and peel all of my citrus and place all ingredients in a bowl so it is together and ready to be put in the juicer. A little secret to juicing is that I put all of my greens through first, like spinach or kale, so when I put the citrus through, it will get more of the good green juice out and into your cup, where you want it!

The fennel adds a slight licorice flavor to this juice which is unique and refreshing.


A bowl of refreshing vitamins and goodness is what you end up with!


Watermelon Agua Fresca


One of the great things about summer is all the fruit. At the restaurant I work at we always have agua fresca on the menu. I never drink it in the winter but I save it for the summer when it is refreshing and sweet.


My husband is from Mexico and whenever I’m with his family this is always a treat. The spanish translation is ‘fresh water’ and fresh it is. I add a little sugar to my recipe but if your fruit is sweet enough or you’re on a no sugar added diet, then just leave it out. I also like to add a sprig of mint for mine.

TIME: 5 Minutes


4 cups chopped watermelon

4 cups of water

2 teaspoons of sugar

1/4 cup lime juice

Yields: 6 cups

Place all of your ingredients in your blender and blend well. Some people prefer to strain the pulp out of the juice but I like my pulp, it’s really a matter of preference. Serve well chilled or immediately over ice.