Add these vegan Jackfruit ‘Tuna’ Sliders to your repertoire of Vegan Lunches That Will Make Your Friends Jealous. But the recipe for these vegan fish burgers makes enough to share so you can decide whether you’re feeling generous or not!
It’s been a while and I’ve missed you! I started this vegan lunch series months ago and I’m sorry it’s taken this long to complete but I think you’ll agree that these scrumptious sliders were worth the wait! Skip to the printable recipe.
Recipe Tutorial for Vegan Jackfruit ‘Tuna’ Slider
More Vegan Lunches That Will Make Your Friends Jealous:
Prep the Green Jackfruit (and get rid of that fruity flavour)
Start by preparing some unripe jackfruit, also known as green jackfruit. The best way to buy it is canned; the fresh stuff is inconsistent and can be tricky to handle. Canned jackfruit typically comes cut into wedges and packed in water or brine. Each wedge consists of a piece of the jackfruit core and a fibrous meaty part that will have seeds and seed pods embedded. Some wedges might have some discoloured parts on the edges too. We only want the fibrous meaty parts for this recipe, so cut away the core and any discoloration and remove the seeds and their pods.
By the way, don’t use ripe jackfruit for this recipe. Green jackfruit has hardly any flavour which is why it’s nice to use in savoury recipes where you can add any kind of flavour you want (like with tofu). Ripe jackfruit tastes like Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum. The flavour’s pretty nice; like a cross between peaches, banana, and pineapple. But that won’t taste so good in a vegan fish burger!
Even green jackfruit has a little of that fruity flavour so you’ll need to rinse it a few times. While you have the jackfruit submerged, break up the chunks so they separate into fish-like flakes.
Drain the water away and squeeze the jackfruit until it’s as dry as you can get it. I love using jelly bags for this task. Jelly bags are mesh bags designed to strain seeds from fruit when making jelly. That makes them easy to find (buy them where canning supplies are sold), durable and inexpensive.
After squeezing the jackfruit dry, give it a small taste. After only one rinse, the jackfruit probably still has a distinct fruit aroma. In that case, repeat the rinse, drain and squeeze process a few more times. I usually have to do this four or five times in total. Luckily, the jelly bag makes it super easy. Alternatively, you could use a nut milk bag or s fine wire mesh sieve. Just don’t press down on that wire mesh too hard; that’s how I broke mine. :p
Do I really have to do all that rinsing?! Some people claim that they can’t taste the jackfruit flavour as long as there are enough seasonings to cover up the taste. I grew up eating jackfruit and can taste it from a mile away, even under heavy sauces and spices. You may not have to rinse your jackfruit as thoroughly as I do. Just follow your own tastebuds!
When all is said and done, you should have about a cup of packed jackfruit flakes (135g after squeezing very dry).
In previous recipe tests, I only needed one can of jackfruit but when I shot the video for the recipe tutorial, one can wasn’t enough. The wedges were mostly core! So when you shop for this recipe, it would be wise to have a second can handy. That said, if you end up with a little less or even a little more, you probably won’t have to adjust much.
Making Vegan Jackfruit “Tuna” Patties
As you can see, jackfruit has the perfect texture to mimic flaky tuna but it has very little protein. That’s where chickpeas come in. Chickpeas are not only a great source of protein, they are full of iron, which is important for energy and your red blood cells, and magnesium which supports bone health and your blood pressure. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg (lettuce). 😀
But this is a yummy food blog, not a health site, so let’s move on!
You’ll need a cup of cooked chickpeas; cook them from scratch or get them out of a can. If you don’t have chickpeas handy, you can substitute with white beans. Make sure to drain your chickpeas/beans very well since too much moisture will make your slider patties hard to form. Mash them or run them through a food processor and mix them with your jackfruit along with finely chopped red onion and celery.
Since jackfruit has no flavour and chickpeas have very little as well, we’ll have to add lots of flavour. Old Bay Seasoning is commonly used in fish and other seafood dishes so its flavour reminds people of seafood.
Using nori confetti is an easy way to add a fishy flavour. I just ripped up a sheet of nori (sushi wrapper) and blitzed it in my bullet blender until it turned into confetti! You can use the same technique to make your own furikake (seaweed seasoning for rice). Use half directly in the jackfruit mix but reserve the other half for the crispy outer coating.
Organic white miso paste adds just the right amount of saltiness and savoury fermented flavour without being overpowering. If you’re avoiding soy, you can use chickpea miso instead of regular soy-based miso paste.
Vegan mayo adds moisture and fat without making things oily. Mix the mayo and miso together first before adding it to the jackfruit mixture. Finally, you’ll add regular breadcrumbs to bind everything together. I haven’t tested with gluten-free bread crumbs but I’m sure they would work too.
To make even sized patties, I like using a cookie scoop to divide up the mixture first before shaping them into patties with slightly wet hands. The bit of moisture will prevent the dough from sticking.
Finally, get some crispy coating on. This is a mix of panko, nutritional yeast, and nori confetti.
Panko are Japanese-style breadcrumbs and have a lighter crispier texture than regular bread crumbs. This is another place you can theoretically adapt to make it gluten-free using gluten-free panko. But if you can’t find any, crushed up potato chips will work too.
Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that has a sort of chicken soup base flavour, sort of cheesy, sort of nutty flavour. Don’t be fooled by its weird name, it’s good stuff and you should totally have it in your pantry at all times even if you’re not veg*n.
Press the patties gently into the crumbs on all sides and gently tap any excess off. Then these little cuties are ready to fry up. If you’re eating right away, get your slider fixings ready. If you’re making these for later, just keep going! You’ll want some little slider buns (small dinner rolls work nicely), vegan tartar sauce, and maybe some vegan cheese.
Add a little oil to a pan and heat it up over medium high. When the pan is hot, add your tuna slider patties.
The oil helps them not stick to the pan and adds to the crispy texture. After a few minutes, you can flip them. That bottom should have gotten nice and golden brown. If yours aren’t, then cook a bit longer or turn the heat up a tiny bit.
After a few more minutes, the other side should be browned too and you can transfer them to a cooling rack or serve them up right away.
Put together your Jackfruit “Tuna” Sliders
For a nice soft warm bun for these tuna sliders, microwave the sliced buns for 8 seconds. Then stack on a slice of vegan cheese, crispy tuna patty, and creamy vegan tartar sauce which is really just vegan mayo with a little lemon, chopped pickles and onion.
And there you have it. Delicious vegan tuna sliders ready to share with your friends and family…or not. These are your vegan jackfruit tuna sliders and there are no rules.
More recipes using young green jackfruit:
Printable recipe for Jackfruit Tuna Sliders – US
Jackfruit 'Tuna' Sliders
These mini vegan 'fish' burgers are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and 100% delicious! Unripe jackfruit, also known as green jackfruit, is the perfect stand in for tuna's flaky texture and colour while nori and other seasonings add the perfect tuna taste.
- 2 x 20oz cans of green jackfruit in water or brine
- (4.76oz), about 1 cup volume after trimming away
- cores and seed pods)
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas (drain and pat dry)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (to taste)
- 1 1/2 tbsp nori confetti (half sheet of nori)
- 3 tbsp breadcrumbs*
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste**
- 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup panko (choose gluten-free panko if desired)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 1/2 tbsp nori confetti (half sheet of nori)
- 9 slider buns
- vegan cheese of choice
- vegan tartar sauce
Prepare the jackfruit
- Drain the jackfruit and remove the tough cores, seeds and any discoloration. Discard the seeds and discolored parts but you can save the tough cores and use them sliced thin for stir-fries or other dishes.
- Soak the jackfruit in a large bowl of water and break up the chunks so they separate into fish-like flakes. Using a fine sieve (a nut milk, jelly bag or fine wire mesh sieve will work), drain away the water and squeeze the jackfruit as fry as possible. Taste to see if there is much fruity flavour remaining. Repeat a few times to remove more of that flavour. Make sure to squeeze the jackfruit as dry as possible after the last rinse.
Combine dry ingredients
- After drying off the chickpeas, mash them or run through a food processor. Combine in a large bowl with the jackfruit, celery, red onion, garlic powder, old bay seasoning, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of nori confetti.
Combine wet ingredients
- Mix the miso paste into the mayonnaise until no lumps remain. Then add to the jackfruit mixture and stir well to combine.
- Add 3 tablespoons of bread crumbs and stir well to combine. Let rest for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the panko, nutritional yeast, and remaining nori confetti in a separate bowl or dish.
- Now is also a good time to get your slider fixings ready: buns, vegan cheese, and vegan tartar sauce.
- The jackfruit mixture should have a dough-like consistency and hold together easily when squeezed gently in your palm. If it seems too loose/wet, you can add more bread crumbs. Divide the jackfruit dough into nine. Roll them into balls and flatten to create a slider shape.
Coat in crumb
- Press the patties gently into the crumb mixture on both sides and along the edges. Carefully tap off any excess crumbs. To ensure the crispiest crunch, pan-fry these right away. If you can't get to pan-frying them right away, just make sure to re-crumb them just before frying. Reserve the extra crumb mixture for this purpose (or to sprinkle atop salads, rice, or anywhere else you'd like a crunchy, salty topping).
- Heat a pan over medium high and add enough oil to coat the bottom. When the pan is hot, add the jackfruit 'tuna' patties. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until each side is nicely browned.
- Warm the buns quickly in the microwave (about 8 seconds for 2 buns). On the bun heel, add vegan cheese, a crispy 'tuna' patty, a tablespoon of vegan tartar sauce and, finally, the bun crown. Serve immediately.
To store in the refrigerator
- Let the patties cool on a cooling rack. To store for the week, prepare an airtight container by lining it with paper towel or clean lint-free kitchen towel. Place the cooled patties into the container in a single layer. To store more than one layer in a container, separate each layer with paper towel or clean lint-free kitchen towel. Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- Reheat by pan-frying a couple minutes on each side over medium high heat.
- Or reheat in the oven. Place cold patties on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 425°F for about 12 minutes. The patties may be a bit delicate so use a spatula to transfer to the buns.
For brown bag lunches
- Put the cold patties in their own container, separated with paper towels or clean, lint-free cloths. This will keep them from getting squashed and overly mushy. You can sandwich the vegan cheese in the buns in a separate container. Keep the tartar sauce in it's own container and don't forget to bring a spoon or knife. If you have access to a microwave at lunch time, you can heat the patties for about 30 seconds for 2, then assemble your slider sandwiches. However, the patties won't be crispy. You can also have them cold; still very tasty.
To store in the freezer
- Let the patties cool on a cooling rack. In a large freezer bag, place a layer of paper towel. Then add the patties in a single layer. Top with another layer of paper towel. Press out as much air as possible before sealing and placing flat in the freezer. You may need more than one freezer bag.
- To reheat, for best results, place frozen patties on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 425°F for 15 to 20 minutes minutes. The patties may be a bit delicate so use a spatula to transfer to the buns.
- Alternatively, you can reheat on the stove. Place the frozen patties on to a hot pan over medium heat. Leave at least an inch between each patty. Cook for 5 minutes per side or until heated through.
- In previous recipe tests, I only needed one can of jackfruit but when I shot the video for the recipe tutorial, one can wasn't enough. The wedges were mostly core! So when you shop for this recipe, it would be wise to have a second can handy.
- *use regular-style bread crumbs for the jackfruit mixture. You may substitute with gluten-free bread crumbs. Panko is much lighter so if that's all you have, you will need a larger volume for the jackfruit mixture.
- **for a soy-free option, use chickpea miso.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 317Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 394mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 6gSugar: 29gProtein: 11g
Nutritional Information automatically calculated by a plugin and may not be correct.
[…] Jackfruit ‘Tuna’ Sliders […]
Leave a Reply to Melissa @ Insider The Kitchen Cancel reply
OMG! Are you back ??! 😀
You’re back!!!!! yay! these look delish. Just gotta find the jackfruit. Hard to find around here, but I’m gonna keep looking. Hope you are feeling better
Good luck! I find it in the ethnic foods aisle at major grocery stores and at Asian markets.
If I need your assistance because am farmer of jackfruit and producer and I need to add value. So how can you help me
You’re back- totally made my day! And this recipe looks completely delish!
Thank you! <3
Wow, I’ve never heard of jackfruit, but I used to LOVE tuna melts so I will definitely be checking this one out!!
Cool! Hope you enjoy it 🙂
If you don’t like mayonnaise (even the vegan variety), would egg replacer be a suitable substitute?
Hello! I tried yesterday the recipe and it was very good! The consistency was stellar, I think I will use the jackfruit-chickpea-miso combo as a base from now on. I was able to get enough jackfruit from one can instead of two
Yay! I’m so happy you enjoyed it <3 Thanks for letting me know 🙂
Omitted the Nori and the bread crumb coating, our new FAVORITE burger!!! Thanks!
wooot!! That’s so awesome to hear, Cindy. Thanks so much 🙂
How many patties does the recipe make? (Sorry if it’s written somewhere and I couldn’t find it)
The recipe makes 9 smallish patties.
Hi Mary! Thanks so much for the tuna slider recipe. It was soooo good!! I subbed out the chickpeas for the okara left over from your tofu recipe (homemade tofu is also so delicious), and it really worked out well. Definitely a keeper!
Mary, can these be baked in the oven instead of pan frying? I have to avoid oil. Thanks for an interesting looking recipe. I’m going to try it!