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Updated: Dec 20, 2020

This IS the traditional Christmas fare in Puerto Rico, veganized: JACKFRUIT "PERNIL" WITH RICE & PIGEON PEAS.

Jackfruit is completely transformed to look and taste like roast pork, which goes extremely well with this easy-to-make "arroz con gandules" (rice with pigeon peas).

Prepare to wow your guests with this delectable holiday feast!



For the Rice with Pigeon Peas: • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil • 4 Tbsp sofrito • 1/4 Cup chopped red pepper • 2 ½ tsp homemade “sazón” (recipe below) • 6 Tbsp tomato sauce • 1 can (15 oz) green pigeon peas • 2 Cups medium grain white rice • 3 Cups water • 2 tsp homemade “adobo” (recipe below) • Salt, to taste

For the Jackfruit “Pernil”: • 2 cans (14 oz) young jackfruit • 1/2 large yellow onion, sliced • 1 Cup water • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil • 1 Tsp Liquid Smoke • 1 Tbsp Oregano • 1 Tbsp Cumin • 1/2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika • 1 tsp homemade “sazón” • 1 tsp Black Pepper • 6 Garlic Cloves • ½ tsp Sea Salt


  1. Mix all the ingredients for the jackfruit “pork” (except the jackfruit and onion) in a small blender and blend together and create the marinade.

  2. Drain two cans of jackfruit and pat dry. Using a knife, remove the seeds and any part of the core from the fruit.

  3. Place the jackfruit chunks with the marinade in a sealed container for 3 to 6 hours.

  4. Once ready, start on your rice. Heat the oil over medium/high heat in a pot with a lid. Once hot, add the sofrito, peppers and “sazón”. Turn the heat down to medium/low and cook for about 3 minutes.

  5. Add the tomato sauce and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the pigeon peas and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add the rice, water and adobo, and bring to a simmer.

  6. Simmer until most of the water has evaporated (about seven to ten minutes). Stir occasionally during this time to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom. After the water evaporates, cover the rice and cook for ten minutes. Do not uncover the rice during this time!

  7. After the ten minutes are up, uncover and turn the rice, making sure that you rotate all the rice from the bottom to the top. At this point, you can check for flavor and add a bit of salt if needed. Cover again and cook for an additional ten minutes.

  8. Get started on your jackfruit “pork” by heating up some oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Once hot, add the onion strips and cook until they are translucent. Add in the jackfruit pieces without the marinade. Reserve the marinade to add some of it while cooking the jackfruit.

  9. You can shred some of the chunks with a fork, so it looks like pulled pork. I like to keep some large whole chunks. Add a spoonful of the marinade from time to time as it cooks to avoid the jackfruit from sticking to the pan and to add flavor. Don’t add too much, you want your jackfruit to cook dry and char a bit, so it looks roasted. (As an alternative, you can transfer your jackfruit from the skillet to a baking tray and place in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes – or air fry for 20 minutes at 350°F – until crispy but not burnt).

  10. Once you reach your desired level of char, remove the skillet from the heat. Serve immediately with your rice.


Homemade “Sazón” (makes about 6 Tablespoons): • 1 Tbsp Coriander powder

• 1 Tbsp Cumin powder

• 1 Tbsp Annato powder

• 1 Tbsp Garlic powder

• 1 Tbsp Salt

• 2 tsp Oregano powder

• 1 tsp black pepper

Homemade “Adobo” (makes about 6 Tablespoons): • 3 Tbsp Garlic powder • 2 1/2 Tbsp salt • 1 tsp black pepper • 1 tsp Oregano • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric

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