This delicious southwest salad is one of my favorites – it features BBQ jackfruit which is incredibly versatile, flavorful, and healthy. It truly tastes like shredded BBQ chicken! I tend to eat salads most everyday as they’re SO easy to prep and a great way to get your greens in. Typically this salad is loaded with unhealthy fats and animal protein, but I managed to keep the traditional southwest salad flavors whilst making sure it’s nutritionally sound. This salad is:
- High protein. I used Trader Joe’s ‘high protein tofu’ which is not only super high in protein, it doesn’t need to be pressed! If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, try to buy tofu that is super firm to avoid having to use a tofu press.
- Vibrant. There are so many benefits that come from eating the rainbow AKA filling your plate with color.
- Flavorful. From the pickled onion to the mustard tofu to the BBQ jackfruit, this southwest salad has a TON of southern flavors jumping out that come together perfectly.
- Satiating. One of the reasons I love this southwest salad is because it will keep you full for hours. There is a nice balance of carbs, fat, and protein all of which come with plenty of other nutrients that help keep you full.
- Refreshing. Southwest salads remind me of summer, especially with the sautéed black beans, corn, and BBQ jackfruit. You can heat up the individual ingredients, but I personally like to prep this salad in ready-made containers and eat it cold.
The star of this salad is the BBQ jackfruit. Once you mix the salad together, it’s flavors really stand out. To make the jackfruit you can technically just drain and rinse your canned jackfruit, but then you’ll just have a salty, chewy taste that takes away from how good this salad can be. The jackfruit method I provide may seem a bit tedious, but I promise it’s worth it and doesn’t taste as much time as you think. Plus, you only need a small amount for this salad so leave the rest marinating and use it the rest of the week!
3 Ingredient Dressing
This dressing is absolutely delicious and requires only three ingredients – veganaise, lime juice, and cilantro. If you don’t have access to veganaise, cashew butter with a touch of water to loosen the texture is a great alternative. Be sure to stick to the recipe too – I love veganaise but adding more than 1 tbsp per serving has a high fat content. You can forgo the veganaise completely and just mix cilantro with lime juice too – the BBQ jackfruit marinade mixes well so your salad won’t be too dry if you leave it out.
This salad has a variety of elements which is why I suggest meal prepping it as opposed to making it on a whim. It’s great because each ingredient (mustard tofu, BBQ jackfruit, pickled onion) is versatile and can be used in a wide array of recipes – if you really only want this salad once, just store the remaining ingredients and use them however you’d like the rest of the week. The BBQ jackfruit in particular works great on tacos.
Vegan Southwest Salad with BBQ Jackfruit
- 1 can unripe jackfruit I use the Trader Joe’s version as it’s canned in water rather than syrup which you should steer clear of. Finding unripe jackfruit is key for the texture
- 4 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 cup diced onions
- 2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp liquid smoke optional
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tbsp golden monkfruit
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp yellow mustard
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 block tofu I like the high protein tofu from Trader Joe’s
- 1.5 tbsp mustard
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp veganaise if you don’t have access to veganaise, use cashew butter OR soak cashews and blend them with a bit of water to get a creamy consistency
- 1/2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp cilantro
- 1-2 tbsp water amount depends on desired consistency. I like mine on the thicker side
- 2 cup chopped romaine
- 1/4 can corn
- 1/4 can black beans
- 1 red onion chopped into thin strips
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1.5 tbsp agave
- 2 tsp sea salt
- this jackfruit ingredient makes a few portions - if you only want one portion, just save the rest in an airtight container in the fridge. it’ll last a week and can be used as a topping for salads, tacos, etc.
- drain jackfruit and break apart with your hands to shred it - it should resemble shredded chicken or pulled pork. if there are pieces that you are having trouble breaking apart, use a knife to break it up
- after the jackfruit is broken up, rinse thoroughly - you’lol want to get rid of that salty brine taste so don’t skimp on this!
- add the jackfruit to a pot of water and boil for 10-15 min. strain and rinse again
- place jackfruit on paper towels and pat dry. let sit out to dry while you prepare the marinade
- combine marinade ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. once the jackfruit is dry, add it into an airtight container and mix in the marinade. let marinate in the fridge while you prepare the remaining ingredients
- simply cut a block of tofu into 4 strips and store 3 of the 4 strips in an airtight container in the fridge. if you’re meal prepping, use the entire block and multiply and mustard and lemon juice by 4
- chop the tofu into strips or cubes as big or small as you’d like. spray coconut oil on a pan and pan-fry the tofu strips for 3-5 min on each side. I prefer to use an oil spray as the fat content is much lower
- mix the lemon & mustard in a dish and pour over the tofu in an airtight container. make sure all of the tofu is evenly covered before placing it in the fridge to marinate
- add all ingredients in a small dish and mix to combine. I like to triple the recipe and store in a mason jar in the fridge so I don’t have to remake it each time
- make sure to pickle the red onions beforehand - I ALWAYS have pickled red onion in my fridge and use it as a topper for salads, avo toast, creamy soups, etc. chop the onion, add to a large mason jar, and pour the 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1.5 tbsp agave, and 2 tsp sea salt inside. give your mason jar a shake and store in the fridge
- drain and rinse the black beans and corn - only use 1/4 can of each for your salad. save the rest in an airtight container in the fridge or use it all to make a big batch
- spray coconut oil on your pan and add the black bean and corn mixture. saute for 5-7 min mixing frequently