Test Kitchen: Pulled Jackfruit Sloppy Joes

Easy, healthy recipes tested for you weekly at the Sargent Choice Test Kitchen

Kelley Magill, Graduate Dietetics Student, SAR ’20

About the Sargent Choice Test Kitchen: We’re all about making healthy taste delicious here at Sargent Choice.  That’s why we’ve teamed up with faculty-in-residence Dr. Karen Jacobs to offer students a one-of-a-kind opportunity to trial and taste-test new Sargent Choice healthy recipes each week at the Sargent Choice Test Kitchen.  Dr. Karen Jacobs invites students of all majors (not just nutrition) into her home on Boston University’s campus to cook up a recipe developed by Sargent Choice Registered Dietitian, Jennifer Culbert.  Feedback from the weekly Test Kitchen gets incorporated into future Sargent Choice recipes and helps shape the face of healthy dining at BU.

This week in the Sargent Choice Test Kitchen, we prepared delicious barbecue pulled jackfruit sloppy joes. With just a taste, you would not even guess they were vegetarian!

What we liked:

  • The texture of the jackfruit — some people actually thought it was chicken!
  • The seasoning was delicious
  • The avocado slaw was a perfect addition to this sandwich
  • We used whole wheat English muffins and they worked out great for the sandwich

What we would’ve changed:

  • We added too much lemon to the slaw. We had to add additional maple syrup to off-set the acidic lemon flavor. We recommend adding less lemon juice and using only real lemons.
  • Although the English muffins were great, we recommend toasting them prior to soften and warm them.

The nutrition content:

  • Jackfruit contains many B vitamins, vitamin C, and minerals such as potassium and magnesium. It’s also a good source of fiber.
  • Avocados are rich in healthy fats, specifically monounsaturated fat, ad in potassium and fiber.
  • Whole grains contain fiber, B vitamins, and even some protein.
  • If you like BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, this would be a good recipe to mix in with your BBQ pulled pork. It’ll add more fiber and vitamins/minerals to the dish, but still get the protein from the pork!

Sargent Choice Pulled Jackfruit Sloppy Joes

Recipe modified from The Minimalist Baker
Yield: ~ 6 servings


BBQ Jackfruit
2 20-ounce cans young green jackfruit in water
¼ cup BBQ seasoning (here’s the recipe we used: 2 Tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, ½ teaspoon chili powder)
1 tablespoon olive oil
¾ cup store bought BBQ sauce (plus more for topping)

Avocado Slaw (optional):
2 cups shredded cabbage and carrots
½ ripe avocado
1 tablespoon maple syrup or sugar
1 freshly squeezed lemon (or lime) juice
½ teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
Water to thin

For Serving:
6 whole wheat rolls


  1. Rinse, drain, and thoroughly dry jackfruit. Chop the center “core” portion of the fruit and discard. Place in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix together BBQ seasoning and add to jackfruit. Toss to coat.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and seasoned jackfruit. Toss to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes to achieve some color.
  4. Add BBQ sauce and thin with enough water to make a sauce. Stir and reduce heat to low-medium and cook for about 20 minutes (up to 35 minutes for a deeper flavor). Stir occasionally. For finer texture, use two forks to shred the jackfruit as it cooks down.
  5. In the meantime, make the slaw by adding all ingredients except the vegetables to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Thin with water until a thick sauce is made, then add the shredded cabbage and shredded carrots and toss to coat. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  6. Once the jackfruit has been simmered, turn up heat to medium-high and cook for 2-3 more minutes to get a little extra color/texture. Remove from heat.
  7. Place generous portions of slaw on the bottom buns, top with BBQ jackfruit and extra BBQ sauce if desired.