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Jackfruit Buffalo Dip – A Vegetarian Twist on a Game Day Classic

Jennifer Hanes MS, RDN, LD

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Jackfruit, the tropical giant from South and Southeast Asia, has gained popularity in the vegetarian and plant-based food scene.

It’s not just any fruit; it’s a culinary chameleon. What truly makes it special is its ability to transform into a remarkable meat substitute when young and unripe.

Today, we’ll use unripe jackfruit to make a game-day dip with lots of flavor.

What is Jackfruit?

Jackfruit is a tropical fruit that is native to South and Southeast Asia.

It is the largest fruit that grows on a tree and can reach an impressive size, often weighing up to 80 pounds (36 kilograms) or more. It is known for its green, spiky outer skin and sweet, fragrant flesh on the inside.

The flesh of ripe jackfruit is yellow and has a naturally sweet taste, often compared to a blend of tropical flavors like pineapple, mango, and banana.

However, what makes jackfruit particularly unique is its versatility as a meat substitute when unripe. In its unripe or young stage, jackfruit has a neutral flavor and a meaty texture, making it a popular choice for vegetarian and vegan dishes as a meat alternative.

It is often used in savory recipes like curries, stews, and sandwiches due to its ability to absorb flavors and provide a satisfying meat-like texture. It is not, however, a source of protein, so make sure to keep this in mind when meal planning.

You can buy jackfruit fresh, canned, frozen, or even freeze-dried for snacking.

What is Jackfruit Buffalo Dip?

This recipe is a vegetarian version of the popular chicken buffalo dip often seen at game-watching parties.  

You will shred the jackfruit to resemble shredded chicken, mix it with a few (cheesy and spicy) ingredients, and heat it all up together.

Finally, sprinkle with optional blue cheese crumbles, for some extra flair.  

Serve with whole grain crackers and plenty of vegetables for dipping.

The Nutritional Benefits of Jackfruit

Jackfruit has a nutrient profile that you would expect from any other fruit.   

It has carbs and fiber, but little fat and protein (there’s some other, but not much, and definitely not similar to other protein sources). Additionally, many vitamins and minerals are present, including vitamins A, C, and riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, antioxidants, and more.

Purported benefits of including jackfruit in your diet include: 

  • improved glucose control – possibly due to it’s fiber content
  • prevent some diseases (potentially cancer, diabetes, and heart disease) – from its antioxidant compounds
  • improved immune function – from vitamin C level
  • improve heart conditions – due to its fiber, potassium, and antioxidant content.

It should be noted that some people may be allergic to jackfruit, particularly those who are allergic to birch pollen.

Preparing Jackfruit Buffalo Dip

The most time-consuming, or labor-intensive, part of this recipe is shredding the jackfruit.  And even then, it’s not that bad.

This recipe comes together relatively easily, like most of the recipes I share here.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans jackfruit
    • make sure to buy young, green jackfruit in brine (not ripe jackfruit or packed in syrup).
  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
    • I’ve tested the recipe with both regular and reduced-fat cream cheese, and couldn’t tell the difference in the final recipe.
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
    • I used 2% fat because it’s the type I always have on hand.  You can sub for full-fat or non-fat versions as well.
  • 1/2 cup Buffalo sauce
    • This will make a spicy dip, but not one that will blow your head off.  If you don’t like a lot of spice, start with 1/4 cup and adjust up. You can’t take Buffalo sauce back out if it’s too spicy!
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 bundle of green onions, sliced
    • save some to sprinkle on top if desired
  • seasonings and spices
    • I used garlic powder, dried chives, salt, and pepper
  • Blue cheese crumbles
    • this is totally optional, and many people really don’t like blue cheese. I only use it to sprinkle on top. It has such a potent taste that I find it overpowering when mixed in with the rest of the ingredients.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Start by preheating your oven to 375°F.

Open your cans of jackfruit and rinse in a colander.  This next step is the most labor-intensive but is still quite easy.

Your jackfruit will be in triangular sections with a thick “base” at the point and a softer top.  You’ll be using 2 forks to shred the jackfruit on your cutting board, to resemble shredded chicken.

Start by holding the base with one fork and using the other to scrape the softer top with the tines of the fork, this will be very easy.  After that is removed, go for the base. It will be tougher, but you should still be able to get through most of it with the fork.

Some bases might be easier to use the side of the fork, similar to how you would use a fork to cut a roasted potato.  If you come across a particularly stubborn piece, you can pull out a knife.

But honestly, there will be so few of these, that you can probably just discard it instead of dirtying another utensil.

You’ll also notice that some pieces have seeds. These are totally edible and are not noticeable in the dip. There’s no sense taking the time to pick them out.

After all your jackfruit is shredded, take your baking dish and add the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and buffalo sauce. Mix together until smooth. This will go MUCH better if the cream cheese is not cold.

Finally, add the shredded jackfruit, cheddar cheese, green onions, salt, and garlic powder, mix together, and place in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Optionally, you can switch your oven to broil for 2-3 minutes to brown the top.

Finally, sprinkle with the blue cheese crumbles and reserved green onions.  If you want to boost the Buffalo flavor, you could drizzle a bit of that on top, too!

Tips for selecting, preparing, and cooking jackfruit

As mentioned before, you can buy jackfruit fresh, canned, or frozen. You could even buy freeze-dried jackfruit to snack on, though that won’t work for this recipe.

I strongly recommend buying canned or frozen young jackfruit.  Fresh jackfruit is huge, quite expensive, and is a lot to break down. Ripe jackfruit is sweet, and won’t work for this recipe.

Many grocery stores will carry canned jackfruit, especially if they have a decent Asian section.  But if you can’t find it, you can find it on Amazon. Since we moved last spring, we don’t have quite the variety available in the local grocery stores. So, I actually did buy my jackfruit online.

Flavor Variations and Customization

The Buffalo sauce is such a strong flavor, that it’ll be hard to customize this recipe too much. You could leave out the blue cheese if you want. The dip is pretty stinkin’ good without it.

You could also consider using a different “meat” option. Mashed chickpeas or white beans could work. 

I think the best way to customize this recipe is to look at what you’re going to do with it.  I intend for this to be a party food dip. 

Special Dietary Considerations

This Buffalo Jackfruit Dip is vegetarian, egg-free, and gluten-free as it is written. It is also free of all of the major allergens, except for dairy.

I haven’t tested it with vegan cheeses, but I think it would work pretty well. You should be able to find vegan cream cheese, vegan shredded cheddar cheese, and vegan yogurt to replace all of the dairy versions in this recipe.

Alternative Cooking Method

For an easier alternative cooking method, simply dump everything (except the toppings) into your slow cooker and mix well.

Cook on high for 1-2 hours, then sprinkle on the toppings and serve.

What to serve with Jackfruit Buffalo Dip

Going with the Buffalo theme, carrot and celery sticks would be really good. I would also consider other veggies, such as bell pepper strips, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower. This will help add a fresh, light element to this rich dip.

Other options include corn chips, pita, or whole-grain crackers.

jackfruit buffalo dip garnished with green onions, blue cheese crumbles, and drizzled buffalo sauce in a grey square baking dish next to chopped veggies for dipping

Jackfruit Buffalo Dip

This dip is reminiscent of buffalo chicken wings. However, it is vegetarian and totally shareable!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, dip, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American, Comfort, Easy
Diet: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 146kcal
Author: Jenn

Ingredients

  • 2 cans Young Jackfruit in brine or water Don't buy jackfruit in syrup for this recipe!
  • 8 oz Reduced Fat Cream Cheese at room temperature
  • ½ cup Buffalo sauce
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt 2% fat
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese Shredded
  • 1 bundle Green onions whites and greens sliced, reserve some for garnish
  • 1 tsp Dried Parsley
  • 3 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Blue cheese crumbles for garnish

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350° F

Prepare the Jackfruit

  • Rinse and drain canned jackfruit.
  • Shred the jackfruit by hand. Some pieces will have tougher "bases" that may require a knife. If you come across any seeds, that's okay! They are completely edible and can stay. However, if you're worried about the texture you can remove them to snack on later.

Assemble the Dip and Bake

  • Place the cream cheese, buffalo sauce, and Greek yogurt in an oven safe dish and mix until smooth. No need to dirty a separate bowl.
  • Add the remaining ingredients except the reserved green onions and the blue cheese crumbles and mix well.
  • Smooth the top and bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the mixture is bubbly and the cheddar cheese has started to brown.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining green onions and blue cheese crumbles

Nutrition

Calories: 146kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 530mg | Potassium: 115mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 233IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 153mg | Iron: 0.2mg

*Nutrition Facts are an estimate only. Differences are expected when making substitutions for any ingredient or when different brands are used.

*We may earn commissions from qualifying purchases made through links on our site. These commissions help support our work in providing valuable content to our readers. Thank you for your support!

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How to store Jackfruit Buffalo Dip

If you have leftovers or want to make it ahead, simply transfer the dip into an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.

I didn’t experience any reduction in the quality of the dip in that period. You could also freeze this for up to 6 months.

Transfer to the fridge to thaw, then warm in the oven before serving.

What to do with Leftovers

Manage to hold back some leftovers after your get-together?  Think outside the box to enjoy this dip for a little bit longer!

  • Quesadilla filling – heat in microwave for 30 minutes. then put on 1/2 half a tortilla, fold over, and heat on both sides.
  • Breakfast toast – spread heated dip on toast, then top with an egg cooked to your preference.
  • Use as the condiment for sandwiches and wraps
  • Spice up a baked potato

Final Thoughts

Jackfruit has found its place in vegetarian and plant-based diets.

Jackfruit isn’t just a fruit; it’s culinarily versatile, offering sustainable and nutritious options for reducing meat consumption.

Whether you’re a seasoned vegetarian, a food enthusiast, or simply looking for a culinary adventure, embrace jackfruit for your next get-together.

Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it went!

Have leftover Greek yogurt? Make an easy, yummy fruit dip!

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