A Vegan Birria Taco recipe with juicy jackfruit cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. A delicious healthy plant-based dinner ready in 30 minutes!
What is Birria?
Birria is a Mexican dish usually made with pull-apart slow-cooked meat. It’s a long recipe where the meat is cooked in for about 3.5 hours with a spicy tomato chili sauce until the meat is easy to shred.
Birria is delicious served in tacos or as a stew.
What’s Vegan Birria?
Vegan Birria Tacos are the meat-free version of the popular Birria recipe, using Jackfruit as a meat replacement. As a result, it’s a much easier and faster recipe since jackfruit shreds and cooks very quickly, and you don’t need to wait for 3 hours for the jackfruit to be ready!
Jackfruit is a tropical fruit with a light flavor but an interesting texture. In fact, canned jackfruit looks like shredded meat when pressed or mashed with a fork.
As a result, it’s often used in vegan recipes as a meat replacement where the dish calls for pulled pork or slow-cooked beef.
It has a very similar texture as Oyster mushroom, but it is more readily available in any season and perfect if you are not a fan of mushroom meat.
In fact, jackfruit is pretty tasteless. All you feel is the shredded texture that very much mimics shredded meat.
The ingredients you need for a vegan Birria recipe look a little bit overwhelming, but don’t worry! The recipe is pretty easy and straightforward.
The Birria sauce is mainly made of dried chili peppers. Usually, 3 varieties of dried chili peppers are used: Ancho pepper, Arbol, and Guajillo.
Some recipes skip the de Arbol peppers in favor of more Ancho pepper. Feel free to adjust the recipe based on what you can find in your local store.
- Dried Ancho Peppers
- Dried Guajillo Peppers
- Dried de Arbol Chili Peppers – optional
- Large Roma Tomatoes – chopped
- Garlic Cloves, peeled, whole
- Whole Cloves
- Ground Cumin
- Mexican Cinnamon
- White Onion sliced
- White Vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- Vegetable Stock
- Canned Jackfruit – I used 3 cans of 14 0z each. Open the can, drain, and discard the hard pointy part of the Jackfruit chunks for the best taste in this recipe.
- Olive oil
- Maple syrup – optional. Only add at the end if too spicy for you. Note that original Birria recipes never add sweetener.
Prepare jackfruit – the meat replacement in Vegan Birria
First, drain canned jackfruit and rinse under cold tap water.
Each chunk of jackfruit has a triangle shape with a hard pointy part.
Cut off the hard pointy part of each jackfruit chunk – you can use them, but you have to chop them thinly and add to the recipe. I personally don’t use them in a Birria, and set them aside in the fridge for later recipes.
Set aside the top part in a bowl – keeping the jackfruit seeds, they are edible.
Prepare the Birria sauce
To make the Birria sauce flavorsome, first core the chili pepperss and slice the dried chili stems off, and remove the seeds inside.
In a cast iron or non-stick pan, cook the chili for 1 or 2 minutes on each side with no oil, until fragrant, then transfer to the blender jug.
In the same pan, warm the olive oil under medium-high heat and add chopped onion. Cook until fragrant and golden brown, stirring occasionally – it takes about 2-3 minutes.
Add crushed garlic and chopped tomatoes and keep cooking for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Transfer the cooked mixture to the blender.
In the blender, add in vegetable stock, white vinegar, cumin, oregano, marjoram, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.
Blend until the mixture is smooth. Set aside the Birria Sauce in a bowl. I don’t keep it in the blender jug simply because the color of the chili tends to stain the blender jug.
In a large non-stick pot or cast iron pan, warm olive oil and stir fry the jackfruit for about 4-5 minutes—season with salt and pepper.
Then, pour the Birria sauce over, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Use a fork or potato mashed to smash the jack fruit pieces to release their individual fibers and look like shredded pulled pork.
Assemble vegan Birria Tacos
To make a delicious authentic Birria taco, first, dip a corn tortilla into the Birria sauce.
Then, add it in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
Flip over and then add shredded jackfruits, vegan cheese, fresh red onion, cilantro, lime juice, corn and fold like a taco, half-moon shape.
Flip it over so it crisps on both sides and the cheese is melted
Serve immediately, with the Birria leftover sauce on the side. It’s traditional to dip your tacos into the sauce as you go.
You can also serve this recipe as a jackfruit Birria stew in shallow bowls with toppings of choice like warm tortillas chips and cilantro.
Birria Tacos are delicious served with many classic Mexican toppings like:
- Corn kernel
- Chopped red onion
- Red cabbage
- Jalapeno slices
- A splash of lime Juice
- Vegan shredded cheese
- Vegan Sour cream or coconut yogurt
This Birria jackfruit filling store very well in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
You can also freeze it for later and simply thaw it in the fridge the day before serving.
Some bread recipes to pair with Birria
Below I listed some of my favorite bread recipes to pair with this Jackfruit Birria for you to try:
Have you made this vegan Birria Tacos recipe? Share a comment or review below! I love to hear back from you,
Your friend, Carine
Vegan Birria Tacos
- 3 cans Jackfruit - 14oz each
- 3 Dried Ancho Peppers
- 3 Dried Guajillo Peppers
- 1 Dried de Arbol Peppers - optional, can add 1 more Ancho pepper instead
- 3 large Roma Tomatoes - chopped
- 4 Garlic Cloves - peeled, crushed
- 1 whole Clove
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- ¼ teaspoon Mexican Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Oregano
- ¼ teaspoon Marjoram
- ½ small White Onion - peeled, sliced
- ⅓ cup White Vinegar
- 1 ½ cups Vegetable Stock
- 4 tablespoons Olive Oil - divided
- 1 ½ teaspoon Salt
- 3 tablespoons Maple Syrup - optional, only if to if too spicy for you
- 10 Corn Tortillas
- Drain the canned jackfruit in a sieve and rinse under cold tap water.
- Cut the hard pointy part of each jackfruit chunk - you can use them chopped thinly and add them to the recipe. I personally don't use them in the Birria and set them aside in the fridge for later recipes. See my picture above for visual help.
- Set aside the top part in a bowl - keeping the seeds, they are edible.
- Slice the chili pepers' stems off and remove the seeds inside.
- In a cast iron or non-stick pan, cook the chili peppers for 1 or 2 minutes on each side with no oil until fragrant, then transfer to the blender jug.
- In the same pan, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil under medium-high heat and add chopped onion. Cook until fragrant and soft, stirring occasionally - it takes about 2-3 minutes.
- Add crushed garlic and chopped tomatoes and keep cooking for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the cooked mixture to the blender.
- In the blender, add vegetable stock, white vinegar, cumin, oregano, marjoram, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Blend at high speed until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
Cook Jackfruit and sauce
- In a large non-stick pot or cast iron pan, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and stir-fry the jackfruit for about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Use a fork or potato mashed to smash the jack fruit pieces to release their individual fibers and look like shredded pulled pork.
- Then, pour the Birria sauce over, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or more until the sauce has thickened, but you still have some liquid on top to dip the tacos in.
- Taste the sauce. If too spicy, you can stir in the maple syrup and cook for 3 extra minutes to blend flavors.
Assemble the Vegan Birria Tacos
- Dip a corn tortilla into the sauce on both sides - see my picture above for visual help - and add it in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Flip over and then add shredded jackfruits, vegan cheese, fresh red onion, cilantro, corn and fold like a taco, half-moon shape.
- Flip it over so it crisps on both sides and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.