Jackfruit: Protein for Athletic Summers

This unusual fruit is a great meat substitute for vegan athletes because it provides a protein source.

Summer eating wouldn’t be complete without tropical fruits. The most popular summer tropical fruits are pineapple and mango but there’s another tropical fruit superstar that’s moving into the spotlight for a number of reasons. The humble jackfruit is a sustainable tropical fruit that has a subtle sweet flavor and has a high amount of fiber. This unusual fruit is a great meat substitute for vegan athletes because it provides a protein source. Additionally, jackfruit is one of the rare fruits that contains a rich source of B-complex vitamins which can be a challenge to obtain without consuming foods of animal origin.

Green, un-ripe jackfruit work the best as a meat substitute because they are less sweet. A unique property of this fruit is its ability to be diced, or even shredded, making it a perfect meat substitute for a variety of uses from salads to tacos and curries.

Jackfruit pairs well with a multitude of seasonings because it doesn’t have an intense flavor on its own. Instead, it easily combines with flavors to produce a unique meatless eating experience. Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches are traditionally made with shredded pork or chicken on a baguette. In this version, the jackfruit makes an appearance in place of the meat. Jackfruit has a near identical texture to shredded pork or chicken, but because it is a fruit, it is suitable for athletes following a vegan lifestyle. Jackfruit is also fairly high in carbohydrate content so in place of the traditional baguette, I’ve lightened the carbs by placing this sandwich folded into large lettuce leaves for a lighter, summery lunch.

Vegan Banh Mi Lettuce Wraps

Calories 375, Protein 4g, Carbs 55g, Fat 16g

Prep time: 15 min

Serves: 2 (2 wraps each)


  • 2 cups shredded green jackfruit from either fresh or canned in brine fruit (not canned in syrup)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or sriracha
  • Splash of lime juice

Quick Pickled Carrot and Daikon:

  • ½ cup peeled and shredded carrot
  • ½ cup peeled and shredded daikon radish
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

Other Ingredients:

  • 8 large lettuce leaves (romaine or bibb/butter lettuce work well)
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegan mayo (like Just Mayo)
  • Cucumber, sliced very thin
  • Jalapeño, sliced very thin
  • Cilantro sprigs

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients for the pickled carrot and daikon and let stand 15 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Shred jackfruit with a fork, or clean hands, and stir in the chili sauce and lime.
  3. To assemble wrap, lay two lettuce leaves down and spread mayo on top leaf.
  4. Add pickled carrot and daikon, then the jackfruit and top with cucumber, jalapeño, and cilantro.
  5. Fold over and eat like a sandwich.
The author, Kari Lund, has a 28 Day Clean Eating Challenge that uses real food, real health, and real results to help you up your nutrition game. Full plans for every meal of the day, macro counts, calorie counts, and everything you need to turn clean eating and meal planning into a habit. The lessons you learn in doing this challenge will stick with you for life.

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