If you don’t know jack about jackfruit, Thrive Market is here to enlighten you. This meat substitute has been taking the vegan world by storm as a hearty addition to dishes that even carnivores can’t pass up. And don’t let jackfruit’s tough and spiky exterior fool you—its flesh is ultra tender and serves as the perfect stand-in for pulled pork, fajita fillings, and other dishes you might think are off-limits when you’re embracing a plant-based lifestyle. Native to India, jackfruit is mildly sweet, and soaks up any flavors you pair with it. When it comes to sourcing the best jackfruit on the plant, there’s one company we turn to time and time again: Upton’s Naturals.
The History of Upton’s Naturals
Upton’s Naturals began in 2005 with Italian-inspired seitan that hit the shelves in Chicago (where the company is based) a year later. Jackfruit didn’t arrive until 10 years later, in 2015, but it continues to dominate the vegan and plant-based cooking scene. Early on, Upton’s made a commitment to using simple and recognizable ingredients in all its recipes, and has been known to convince many a meat eater to embrace Meatless Mondays.
Upton’s Naturals Company Mission
Providing quality meat alternatives is what Upton’s Naturals is known for. Founder Daniel Staackmann first pioneered wheat-based seitan, and then launched jackfruit in a first-to-market preparation: seasoned and ready to eat.
Benefits of Upton’s Naturals
One of the biggest benefits to incorporating Upton’s into your routine is how accommodating the products are to a range of diets. Of course, everything’s vegan, so that’s a great start for plant-based eating and Meatless Monday menus. In addition, Upton’s is PKU-friendly. Phenylketonuria is a genetically inherited condition that causes buildup of the amino acid phenylalanine in the blood because the enzyme whose job it is to convert it into another amino acid (tyrosine), is either deficient or absent from the body entirely. To support those on a PKU-friendly diet, Upton’s works with How Much Phe to provide a phenylalanine count for each Jackfruit product, so tracking is easy.
Top Upton’s Naturals Products
Whether you’re a jackfruit purist or like to spice things up, there’s a jackfruit pack with your name on it.
Upton’s Naturals Original Jackfruit
If you’re new to jackfruit, start here. This unseasoned package will bend to your flavor whims and work perfectly with anything you pair it with. Try burrito bowls, tacos, or pulled-pork inspired sandwiches—just add BBQ sauce and no one will be the wiser.
Upton’s Naturals BBQ Jackfruit
We’re not kidding about the similarities to pulled pork—texturally, jackfruit is pretty spot on. This package infuses the fruit with molasses, paprika, and garlic for Southern inspiration.
The Best Jackfruit Recipes to Try
Explore the wonderful world of jackfruit with these easy recipes.
Jackfruit Jambalaya Recipe
When you’re in the mood for Southern comfort food, jambalaya is practically the regional dish. To make it vegan, Jenné Claiborne from the popular blog Sweet Potato Soul put a plant-based spin on traditional ingredients, opting for jackfruit and chickpeas with crave-worthy results.
Vegan Meal Plan
Get ready to bookmark these 35 vegan dishes you’ll love to cook on repeat. We have ideas to cover breakfast, lunch, dinner—and even a few treats as well.
Jackfruit Hawaiian Bowl Recipe
Head to Hawaii with this colorful bowl of jackfruit set atop fragrant basmati rice. Don’t forget the tropical salsa—it’s made with sweet pineapple and mango to add just the right amount of freshness.