A non-traditional take on the classic butter chicken dish. In the modern world, many of us have food allergies and can’t enjoy all the foods we used to. This recipe has the same creamy, flavorful taste and texture of butter chicken, but without the meat or dairy.


It’s the first day of 2018 and I thought I’d start it off with a healthy, savory recipe. I was recently thumbing through an old notebook of half developed recipes I had begun working on and abandoned in the past, and thought this one was worth spending more time on. It was definitely a good decision.

If you’re a fan of butter chicken, or used to be before a dietary change, this just might be up your alley. There may not be any butter or chicken in this recipe, but the same flavor profile is there thanks to the magic of seasoning. Our ancestors sure have spoiled us by discovering a plethora of spices all around the world. Would food have the same level of enjoyment if it hadn’t been for them? We are certainly lucky for everything we have.


I had originally intended for this to be a tofu based dish, but not being the biggest fan of that tofu taste, it required a bit of work. I had tried pressing the tofu, marinating it, cutting it in small bites, crumbling and then marinating it, but it seemed that no matter what method I went through with, I could still taste tofu. Suddenly I remember why I had abandoned this recipe for a year.

Since my goal is to make this dish as similar to the real thing as possible, so everyone in the family can enjoy it, the tofu taste wasn’t going to fly. That’s where my new pal, jackfruit came in to save the day. Jackfruit doesn’t have an overpowering taste to it, so it works well in this recipe. Not only that, but the texture is a nice substitute for chicken. I even used two forks to pull each piece slightly apart to give it more of a meaty texture. Not a necessary step, but I liked the end result better when I did it that way.


This recipe makes 2-4 servings – probably more like two if you’re hungry. If you serve it with a hefty portion of rice and some bread on the side, you can maybe stretch it to 4 servings.

Vegan "Butter Chicken" with Jackfruit
Serves 2
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. 1 Tbsp Sunflower Oil (or other light tasting oil)
  2. 1 Large Onion, sliced (about 2 cups)
  3. 3 cloves of Garlic (1 Tbsp minced)
  4. 1 Tbsp Ginger, minced
  5. 1 Tbsp Garam Masala
  6. 1 ½ tsp Coriander
  7. 1 tsp Cumin
  8. 1 tsp Sea Salt*
  9. ½ tsp Chili Flakes
  10. ¼ tsp Cinnamon
  11. 1 can (400ml) Coconut Milk
  12. 2 cups Crushed Tomatoes
  13. ¼ cup Coconut Sugar
  14. 1 can (565g) Young Green Jackfruit
  1. Heat oil in a medium sized pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for 8-10 minutes until they start to brown. Stir often.
  2. Peel and mince garlic and ginger and add to the pan. Stir in spices and salt. Cook for a minute, then pour in the coconut milk and crushed tomatoes and stir.
  3. Chop your jackfruit into smaller pieces, then add to the pan, along with the coconut sugar. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Serve over rice.
  1. *The amount of salt may have to be adjusted depending on your choice of crushed tomatoes. I've been using a can of crushed tomatoes containing salt every time I made this and found 1 tsp to work perfectly. If you use unsalted, keep that in mind and add more to taste.
  2. **You can flake the jackfruit apart using two forks, pulling it in opposite directions to give it more of a meaty texture. An optional, but recommended step.
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Vegan 'Butter Chicken' with Jackfruit #vegan #glutenfree #recipe

49 thoughts on “Vegan “Butter Chicken” with Jackfruit”

    1. Thank you, Julie! I get my jackfruit at Superstore. It’s usually cozied up by the coconut milk. You might even have luck finding fresh jackfruit where you are.

  1. I’ve yet to try jackfruit, but this recipe looks devine!! All those wonderful flavors. I discover butter chicken AFTER I stopped eating meat and have always wanted to try it. I’m going to have to look for jackfruit now. Do you ever see it fresh? I’m not even sure what one looks like! 😉

    1. Thank you! I very rarely find it fresh around at my local grocery stores. It has a pale green prickly exterior, kind of watermelon sized. It’s such a strange looking food! Whoever discovered it at thought it would be a good idea to crack it open and eat it must have been pretty adventurous.

  2. Yum! Indian food is one of my favorites. I’ve always been curious about jackfruit. It wasn’t a “thing” many years ago when I was a vegetarian. I’ll have to try it! Especially since I can’t eat most tofu these days.

    1. Jackfruit just kinda came out of nowhere, didn’t it? I’m glad it appeared in my life. It’s fun to play around with. Hopefully you get to try it soon.

  3. Yes omg yes this looks amazing! Recently found a store that stocks young green jackfruit in Dublin so I’m definitely making this soon! Thanks for sharing I’m glad you didn’t abandon it!

  4. I have to try this! I am eating mostly vegan food so I would love to try it. I have never seen jsackfruit where I live but maybe i can find it in the china town

  5. Totally love butter chicken. Have never tried jackfruit. Not sure if I can even get it here. I am going to have a look next time I go shopping…it has gotten me very curious indeed.

    1. It can be a hard food to track down in some locations, but worth it when you get your hands on it. Hope you can find some!

  6. I love that your butter chicken has no butter and no chicken hahaha! Right up my alley. I could seriously go for a bowl of these right now. It’s 62F degrees and that’s wayyy too cold for this Miami girl. LOL

    1. Haha, I’m wondering if I should still call it butter chicken at this point. I envy your 62° F weather right now. Lol. Although it is warm here today (2°C) so I’m happy 🙂

  7. These photos are AMAZING!! Making me so hungry! I’ve only ever enjoyed jack fruit sweet and I’ve been wanting to try it savory. Can’t wait to try this recipe!!

  8. I’m also not the biggest fan of that tofu flavour so this is such an intriguing way to have butter chicken without the chicken. I’ve not yet had jackfruit as a meat substitute but you’ve really encouraged me to try it out soon.

  9. I love the texture of jackfruit and can definitely see how it would work as a meat substitute. I mean, it even looks like meat in the pictures!! Love it. 🙂

  10. such a great idea to replace it with jackfruit! Right now I can’t stand the thought of eating meat, so it’s a good swap for me!

  11. Jackfruit curry is definitely amazing. I’ve had some really amazing ones in Sri Lanka and Indonesia and looove eating it raw or dried. I can see it working really well with this recipe, such a cool idea to use jackfruit instead of chicken or tofu. If you’re still interested in trying it with some kind of tofu, I suggest using “tofu skin” instead of tofu. it’s the film that dries up on the top of soy milk when heated. Sometimes you can find it dried or deep fried in Asian stores, or just make your own. It doen’st have so much of the tofu taste, but rather a sweetness from the beans when raw. It’s amazing at soaking up flavors and the texture isn’t soft and mushy like tofu. You might like it.

    1. That is such a brilliant idea to use tofu skin! I would have never thought of that. Thank you so much for sharing your tofu knowledge. I really appreciate your comment and will be trying that out.

  12. This recipe sounds very interesting. It’s perfect for people on diets and vegans. Jack fruit is delicious. I always wondered what it would taste like in recipes similar to yours.

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