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Sweet and Sour Jackfruit ‘Chicken’ (Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-Free)

I hear ya – Sweet and Sour Jackfruit – ‘Chicken’?! Let me start off by saying – jackfruit in no way tastes like chicken, however it does have quite a meaty texture. If you live in the US (or London) you’ll be able to easily find tinned jackfruit in plain spring water. If however, like me, you only find the tinned stuff in brine do not worry. Simply drain away the brine and soak over night in water. This will help to remove any of that nasty saltiness. If you’re a meat or fish eater then you can sub the jackfruit for some chicken, pork, or white fish but as always I like to encourage people to minimise the amount of animal produce they consume, plus jackfruit is actually hella tasty. In fact, this was gobbled up by my two fussy teenagers in no time!

A healthier version of a classic Chinese takeaway dish this Sweet and Sour Jackfruit ‘Chicken’ is naturally coloured with beet powder, sweetened with coconut sugar, and free from meat, dairy, nuts, grains, and gluten.

This dish is super simple to make, you don’t need any great culinary skills, and you don’t have to cut your carrots into flowers… only crazy people do that! You pretty much prepare the sauce first and then just bung all the ingredients into a frying pan and cook, then transfer back into the sauce again! I served mine up with some cauliflower rice but you can serve this with whatever takes your fancy. If you don’t have any beetroot powder don’t worry about it, I simply used this for colour and not taste, so just bear in mind if you don’t use it you’ll get a much lighter looking sauce. You could also use some beet juice or just pop a slice of beet into the pan until you reach your desired colour. I decided to use Chinese five spice in my sauce as a quick fix but if you’ve got star anise pop those in as it makes for a better depth of flavour altogether. If you like things spicy it’s also great to throw in some kimchi pepper or just some simple chopped red chillies.


I got my super sour flavour from a combination of rice wine vinegar and a squeeze of lemon juice but if you’re really weary of rice vinegar you can use white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or even a teaspoon or 2 of tamarind paste. This recipe is so versatile so please feel free to make it your own!

How authentic is this recipe? I’m not really sure in all honesty, but it will certainly knock the socks off any takeaway sweet and sour, plus you won’t have to worry about any awful additives such as MSG and artificial colours and that means you won’t be keeling over from any stomach pains later either!

If you made this recipe and loved it please drop me a little comment below! I love hearing everyone’s feedback as it means I’m not just sat here making pretty food for myself and staring at my own recipes all of the time! If you’re wanting to know where I bought my bowl from head on over to ‘Coconut Bowls’ who sell the most amazing eco-friendly kitchenware crafted purely from coconut and bamboo!


Sweet and Sour 'Chicken' (Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-Free)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A healthier version of a classic Chinese takeaway dish this Sweet and Sour Jackfruit 'Chicken' is naturally coloured with beet powder, sweetened with coconut sugar, and free from meat, dairy, nuts, grains, and gluten.
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
  • Juice from 2 x 400g tins organic pineapple chunks (250ml)
  • ⅓ cup/95ml organic rice vinegar
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar (depending on how sweet you like it!)
  • 2 tbsp liquid aminos or gluten-free tamari sauce
  • 2 tbsp organic tomato paste
  • 2" piece fresh root ginger (peeled and cut into slices)
  • ½-1 tsp beetroot powder
  • ½ tsp Chinese five spice or 8 Chinese star anise
  • ¼ tsp garlic granules
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot flour
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 small onion (sliced into chunks)
  • 1 tin jackfruit in water (if in brine soak overnight in water)
  • 1 x 400g tin organic pineapple chunks (drained)
  • ½ large red pepper (chopped)
  • ½ large green pepper (chopped)
  • ½ large yellow pepper (chopped)
  • 1 medium carrot (chopped)
  1. Start by placing the pineapple juice, rice vinegar, coconut sugar, liquid aminos, organic tomato paste, fresh root ginger, beet powder, Chinese 5 spice (or star anise), and garlic granules into a heavy bottomed pan. Whisk the ingredients together until combined and then place on a low to medium heat. Bring to the boil stirring occasionally. Simmer for 10 minutes in order to infuse the flavours. Using a slotted spoon removed the slices of root ginger and place onto a chopping board to cool or alternatively discard altogether.
  2. Next mix together 2 tbsp of your arrowroot flour with 3 tbsp of water into a milky paste. Slowly pour the paste into the pan, stirring continuously, and continue to heat until thickened. Add a squeeze of lemon juice until you get your desired sourness level. Remove the pan from the heat and place to one side until needed later.
  3. In a large frying pan melt your coconut oil, add the remaining ingredients including your drained jackfruit and fry until softened and golden. Stir the ingredients back into your sauce.
  4. Finely slice your root ginger that you had removed from the sauce previously and transfer back into the pan. Serve immediately or quickly warm back up on the hob if needed!


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  • Reply
    Renee Kohley
    4th September 2017 at 6:09 pm

    I love the idea of adding some heat with kimchi to the top! I’ll be doing that! I just saw jackfruit for the first time in our little grocer here – I’ll have to try it!

  • Reply
    Carre @ Clean Eating Kitchen
    4th September 2017 at 11:21 pm

    I’ve never tried jackfruit, but I really want to! I saw one of the fresh ones at the store the other day. It was HUGE!

  • Reply
    Michele Spring
    5th September 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Oh how funny- I was at my local Asian market last week and saw canned jackfruit and was wondering what the heck one would do with it. Now I know! I’ll have to go back and purchase some and make this because I am intrigued.

  • Reply
    5th September 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Love how creative and healthy this dish is! I don’t think I’ve ever tried jackfruit before. I think I need to check it out!

  • Reply
    Kari - Get Inspired Everyday!
    6th September 2017 at 7:40 pm

    I’ve been super curious about jackfruit and I really want to try it, now… how to track some down in Montana? Might have to order online to make this because I love anything with 5 spice in it!

  • Reply
    Tina T.
    6th September 2017 at 9:34 pm

    You have the most creative recipes! This looks amazing.

  • Reply
    Emily @ Recipes to Nourish
    6th September 2017 at 10:29 pm

    You’ve got me intrigued! I’ve never had Jackfruit before, now I want to try some!

  • Reply
    8th September 2017 at 1:01 am

    This sounds so good! I’ve seen jackfruit pulled pork, but I like how you’re using it as chicken. I haven’t tried it, but am definitely interested!

  • Reply
    10th September 2017 at 3:12 am

    I’ve never cooked with jackfruit now I want to try it !!

  • Reply
    11th September 2017 at 7:32 am

    I have never heard of jackfruit before, will def keep my eyes open for it! Looks like an incredible dish Georgie!

  • Reply
    11th September 2017 at 4:29 pm

    I’ve never used jackfruit in my cooking. Super creative!! Love your recipes!

  • Reply
    12th September 2017 at 3:40 am

    As always great ideas! I certainly need my animal protein fix pretty much in every meal but if looking for a substitute it sounds like I have one here!

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