Jackfruit Mushroom Ragu

Savory and full of umami flavours, this jackfruit mushroom ragu is the perfect plant-based winter meal. In this recipe, I combined brown cremini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms. If you make it, you can add any mix of mushrooms that you prefer.

The mushrooms

Mushrooms are excellent for you. I used to dislike them, but now I respect them. They are high in potassium, protein and fibre, and can lower your risk of stroke and heart disease. They’re also a good source of B vitamins, selenium and other minerals that help boost your immunity.

What is most interesting about mushrooms is that scientists have discovered that they contain two powerful disease-fighting compounds. These compounds are the antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione. They play a vital role in fighting ageing and diseases, such as cancer, coronary heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

What is even more interesting about mushrooms is that you can increase their vitamin D content by placing them in direct sunlight for about 20-30 minutes. So go ahead and slice them up, place them on a tray and put them in the sunlight when the sun is at its strongest (between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm).

If you have never heard of jackfruit, it is a tropical fruit that grows in Asian regions. It is native to South India and is often used in curries. However, I decided to add jackfruit to this winter ragu to offset the predominant mushroom flavour.

The jackfruit

Jackfruit is a great replacement for meat. When sliced and cooked in a stew or a ragu, it resembles pulled pork or shredded chicken. It tastes mildly sweet or neutral, and it soaks up the flavours from sauces and spices. It is also very nutritious. Jackfruit is packed with fibre, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. But what makes jackfruit special compared to other fruit is its protein content. It provides more than 3 grams of protein per cup, compared to 0–1 grams in other fruits such as apples and mangoes.

Packaged jackfruit is available in most supermarkets. Fresh jackfruit, either whole or sliced, is available in some supermarkets and Asian food stores. However, if you purchase a whole one, beware … the process of extracting the edible bulbs can be time-consuming.

For this recipe, I opted for the easy-way-out: jackfruit in a can. I love fresh produce and I am not a fan of canned foods, but I couldn’t imagine myself coming home from work and perform surgery on a big prickly melon!

I still have to find out where freshly extracted and packaged jackfruit bulbs are available. I also need to know where it can be found in other types of containers, such as glass jars. Below is the jackfruit that I used. It was a matter of draining, rinsing and slicing.

The recipe is below.

Jackfruit Mushroom Ragu


Seves 6

  • Pasta of choice, cooked according to package
  • 500 grams fresh brown mushrooms of choice (e.g. a mix of cremini, shiitake, porcini or oyster)
  • Spicy sauce (for roasting mushrooms): 11/2 tablespoons (tbsp) olive oil, 11/2 tbsp soya or tamari sauce, 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) garlic powder, 1 tsp paprika, ground pepper
  • Olive oil for sautéing, about 2 tbsps
  • 2 big shallots or one medium-size cooking onion
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, grated
  • Dry herbs & spices (see note)*
  • 2 tbsps tomato paste + 2 tbsps water
  • 1X 300-400 gram can of jackfruit, drained, rinsed & roughly sliced
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups vegetable broth/stock (start with 1 and add more gradually) (see note) *
  • 1 mushroom bouillon cube (important for flavour)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast or grated Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Note:  For the dry herbs & spices: I added, 1 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp powdered cumin, a small pinch of cayenne pepper (cayenne is hot, so just a pinch! For the veggie broth/stock: I use the one that I make and store in my freezer but a good quality store-bought low sodium kind is also good.


Step 1


Fan oven: 200°C/  400°F 

Standard oven: 220°C / 424°F

  1. Wash & brush mushrooms and cut off dry stems.

2. Slice mushrooms into two or three parts and transfer them into a large bowl. (Note that the mushrooms will shrink when cooked.) Add the spicy sauce, and toss with your hands until evenly coated. You can cover the bowl and let them marinate or proceed immediately to roasting them in the oven.

3. For roasting, spread mushrooms on a large baking tray lined with parchment. Bake on middle rack in pre-heated oven for twenty minutes until brown and caramelised.

4. Remove from oven and set aside when done.

Step 2

Ragu sauce:

1. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large deep pan or dutch oven. Sauté the shallots (or onion) and carrot for 4-5 minutes on medium heat until softened.

2. Add the garlic and the dried herbs & spices. Mix and cook for an extra minute until fragrant.

3. Stir in the tomato paste and water. Mix and cook for another minute.

4. Add the sliced jackfruit, mix and sauté for 3 minutes.

5. Add the cooked mushrooms and mix to combine. Add the red wine to deglaze the pan and combine, keep tossing.

6. In microwave or stove top, heat 1 cup of the veggie broth with the mushroom bouillon cube in it to dissolve the cube. Whisk with a fork and add this to the sauce. Add 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and stir.  You can add the remaining veggie broth later on, and as needed.

7. Add salt, pepper and 1 tbsp nutritional yeast or grated Parmesan and mix. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes to thicken and cook, mixing occasionally. After, add more veggie broth and as needed (the sauce will have thickened). 

8. Meanwhile, cook your pasta separately and according to package instructions. 

9. Combine or toss the cooked pasta with the sauce (either directly into the sauce pan or in separate serving bowls or dishes).

10. Serve immediately and season with grated Parmesan. Store leftover ragu in a sealed container in fridge. Add a bit more broth if it has thickened.


Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

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