By Chef Linda
Vaca frita is a Cuban classic that features beef that's been boiled, shredded, and fried so the exterior develops a charred crust; it's flavored with the simple flavors of lime juice and garlic. Vegan Vaca Frita Sliders, made with jackfruit, are a compassionate and healthier alternative.
Find versatile jackfruit online or in some grocery stores; my local Trader Joe's just started carrying it (yeah!). Rarely found fresh in your average grocery store, this enormous tropical fruit is easier to manage when you buy it canned. Jackfruit shreds easily and has a light, delicate taste and texture; perfect for absorbing flavors from your favorite seasonings. Allowing the jackfruit to develop a blackened, charred exterior is the key to the deep, smokey taste. Char just enough so that it's speckled throughout the dish. Top your Vegan Vaca Frita Sliders with Avocado Chimichurri Sauce to add a luscious, velvety finish. Our chimichurri sauce takes this Argentinian classic one creamy step further by adding an avocado.
While this recipe is written for indoor cooking, you can easily move your feast outdoors and use heavy duty aluminum foil packets on the grill, sealing up all the ingredients inside then placing the packet(s) on a grill pan over the heat.
Vegan Vaca Frita Sliders
2 (20 ounce) cans jackfruit in brine, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, halved then thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 to 4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Lime wedges for serving
For the Avocado Chimichurri
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, optional
1/2 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
4 large cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh tomatoes, sliced, or halved cherry tomatoes
Slider rolls/buns, brushed with olive oil and toasted
Using a sharp knife, remove tough centers from pieces of drained jackfruit. Discard centers and place remaining jackfruit in a medium bowl. Use your hands to breakdown the jackfruit.
Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for several minutes until the onions begins to turn translucent. Add jackfruit and stir. Sprinkle in cumin, salt, and black pepper. Cook, while stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Jackfruit and onions should begin to char on the bottom of the pan. Mix in garlic and lime juice. Continue to cook, allowing jackfruit to char, until about 25% of the jackfruit is blackened, about 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasonings.
To make the sauce, place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. To serve, spread sauce on the bottom of the bun, then place a heaping couple of tablespoons of jackfruit on top. Top with mores sauce and tomatoes. Serve with lime wedges on the side.