Jamaican Jerk Vegan Tacos

Spicy vegan taco meat & mango avocado salsa pack these vegan tacos with a big punch of flavor! They're bright, fresh, and fun to eat.

Vegan Tacos

I commonly get asked how I choose the recipes I make for this blog. The answer is quite simple – I make the foods that I feel like eating! It’s why you’ll see a salad recipe next to a pizza recipe next to a sauce or dressing that I’m pouring over everything at that moment. When I cook from other people’s cookbooks, however, I choose recipes with an entirely different intention. I always look for a recipe that would have never occurred to me to make on my own. That could mean a baking recipe that I wouldn’t have otherwise attempted or a flavor combination that is unfamiliar to me. These vegan tacos are in the latter category. The recipe comes from the Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook by Nisha Vora who, by the way, has the most gorgeous instagram account @rainbowplantlife. Instantly go follow her! You can thank me later 🙂

When I flipped through her book, these jerk spiced jackfruit tacos caught my attention because 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! Whether you celebrate Taco Tuesday or Taco Wednesday, you have to make these vegan tacos!

Vegan Taco Recipe Components

Vegan Taco Meat

The vegan taco meat in this recipe is a Jamaican Jerk-spiced jackfruit. I’ve used jackfruit as a pulled meat substitute before, and it was a great hearty filling for these vegan tacos too – its texture is a lot like that of chicken tinga! As we made these, Jack and I couldn’t stop talking about how meaty they looked.

To make it, Nisha spices up canned jackfruit 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. It’s a combination of familiar ingredients, but the jerk seasoning blend is aromatic, sweet, and spicy.

Nisha 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. Along with the spice mix, lime juice, tamari, and tomato paste create a sauce for the jackfruit that becomes deliciously tangy & juicy as it cooks.

After just 20 minutes on the stove, your vegan taco meat will be ready. Load up your tortillas, and enjoy!

Vegan Tacos with Mango Salsa

How to Make Great Vegan Tacos

Vegan tacos are great quick and easy plant-based dinner recipes! Luckily, it’s not hard to make really good ones. Here’s a taco template that I like to follow, whether I’m making these vegan tacos or any tacos. Nisha’s vegan taco recipe checks all these boxes:

  • Something meaty: This recipe uses jackfruit. Some of my other favorites include black beans, sweet potato, butternut squash, or shiitake walnut taco “meat.”
  • Something sweet & juicy: Nisha’s mango avocado salsa is the perfect sweet topping for the spicy jackfruit in this recipe. For other taco variations, I like mango salsa, pineapple salsa, or pico de gallo.
  • Something bright: Lime is one of my favorite bright taco ingredients, and it’s in Nisha’s salsa. Otherwise, I turn to tomatillo salsa or pickled jalapeños or onions for a bright pop.
  • Something creamy: Avocado is usually a must for me. If it wasn’t already included in this salsa, I would add a scoop of guac.
  • Something crisp: Cucumbers (like in this recipe), radishes, shredded cabbage, and chiles are some of my favorites.
  • And something spicy: I like to top my tacos with jalapeño or serrano slices, but – fair warning – the jackfruit in this recipe is pretty spicy on its own. If you’re sensitive to spice, you might want to hold back on adding extra peppers. If you’re like me, spice it up!

Vegan Taco Meat

What to Serve with Vegan Tacos

Margaritas, of course! If you like yours spicy, check out this recipe, or for a fruity variation, try my favorite watermelon margarita.

Otherwise, these tacos are delicious with classic taco sides like tortilla chips, guacamole, and cilantro lime rice. A zesty salad, like my watermelon salad, taco salad, Mexican corn salad, or summer Asian slaw, would pair well with these vegan tacos too.

Make this vegan taco recipe for a weeknight dinner, or use it for entertaining! Throw a taco party and set out the taco meat, salsa, and your favorite fixings so that guests can customize their tacos. I like using a taco night theme for parties because you can prep the fillings ahead of time. In addition, tacos are especially dietary-restriction friendly. This recipe is already vegan and nut-free, and with corn tortillas, it’s gluten-free too! Of course, if your guests aren’t vegan, they could add cheese to their tacos.

Jamaican Jerk Vegan Tacos

What are you waiting for? Go eat tacos! Also, be sure to check out The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook. It includes SO MANY recipes that I want to make, like her Tofu Cauliflower Tikka Masala and her vegan Cookies ‘n’ Cream Cheesecake.

If you love these vegan tacos…

Try these many-veggie tacos, these mushroom tacos, or these breakfast tacos next!


5.0 from 2 reviews
Jamaican Jerk Vegan Tacos
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These spicy vegan tacos are bright, fresh & fun to eat! You can easily prep the filling ahead of time, so they're great for entertaining. Adapted from The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook.
Author:
Recipe type: Main dish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
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
  • Sea salt
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
Jackfruit
  • 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
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. Make the Jamaican Jerk Seasoning. Combine all of the spices together in a small bowl.
  3. Prepare the jackfruit: Drain the canned jackfruit 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Add the shredded jackfruit, coconut sugar, tomato paste, tamari, and lime juice. Stir well. Pour in ½ cup water and mix again. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Serve the jackfruit with the tortillas and mango avocado salsa.

 

10 comments

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  1. Susan
    07.03.2019

    Jeanine, you are not the only person on the planet who doesn’t have an instant pot – I don’t, either, and they have absolutely no appeal for me. Somehow, everything I would make seems to work just fine on the stove top, and my kitchen stays less crowded.

    • Karen
      07.08.2019

      I don’t have one either! *waves hand in air*
      I’m glad to see the recipe worked out fine with a regular pot. I’m always afraid to try insta recipes because I’m not sure how to adapt them to suit my regular speed of cooking. Can’t wait to try these YUM!

      • Jeanine Donofrio
        07.10.2019

        in this case, I just cooked it a little longer! Her recipe cooked the jackfruit for 4 minutes, and I cooked mine on the stovetop for 20. Super easy to adapt.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.10.2019

      ha ha, glad to have another fan of stovetop cooking 🙂

  2. Oh Jeanine! I am so floored by your post! Thank you so much for sharing my cookbook with your audience. It means so much to me! You made this recipe look SO beautiful. I’m totally in love with the photos and possibly even more in love with your suggestion to serve them with margaritas 😉

  3. Emily from rainbowdelicious.com
    07.04.2019

    These tacos look so good! I know what I’m making next taco tuesday!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.10.2019

      I hope you love them!

  4. Lisa
    07.15.2019

    Delicious! Great flavor combination and without telling my family these were vegan they just assumed it was chicken. It was a little spicy for the kids but I can easily adapt next time. My first try with jackfruit and I’m a newfound fan!
    Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.19.2019

      Ha ha, I’m so glad everyone loved the jackfruit!

  5. Ada Orie
    07.18.2019

    This recipe is on my to do this summer. Thank you for the step by step instructions and your authentic feedback. I have never heard of jackfruit but plan to check it out. BTW-I do not have an instant pot either so you are not alone.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.