Buffalo Jackfruit Vegan Grilled Cheese
Cheesy, spicy, meaty, and smoky, this Buffalo Jackfruit Vegan Grilled Cheese is an indulgent yet wholesome grilled cheese sandwich that will satisfy all of your comfort food cravings!
As a child, I did not like grilled cheese. I was a picky child, I’ll admit that. But in my defense, during my childhood in the 1990s, my family's bread of choice was squishy, soft, nutrient-dense Wonder Bread and our choice of cheese was rubbery, preservative-laced Kraft Singles.
So yeah, grilled cheese sandwiches were NOT my favorite. And even as an adult, I never really understood grilled cheese sandwiches. It wasn’t a complete meal - bread and cheese are delicious, obvi, but they do not make up a real meal.
But when I made this epic Nut-Free Vegan Cheese Sauce, I knew that it was destined for grilled cheese heaven so I decided to give grilled cheese another chance.
I wanted my grilled cheese to be hearty (so it feels like a complete meal) and packed with flavor, which is how I settled on a Buffalo Jackfruit Vegan Grilled Cheese. The homemade buffalo sauce adds an addictively spicy and smoky flavor and the jackfruit brings that hearty meaty taste and texture (but of course it’s meat-free and vegan)!
The spicy, smoky jackfruit pairs nicely with the mild and mellow vegan cheese sauce, and because I wanted a little balance in this indulgent-tasting sandwich, I threw in some blanched spinach for good measure.
What I love most about this sandwich is that it tastes like decadent comfort food but it’s actually quite healthy! My cheese sauce is not only vegan, but also nut-free, soy-free, oil-free, and paleo! Plus, 1/4 cup of it has just 30 calories! And, as you might know, jackfruit is, well a fruit/vegetable (not to mention that spinach we’re adding!). And if you want to make this more wholesome, substitute the vegan butter in the buffalo sauce with coconut oil.
To ensure the outside of your toast gets nice and crispy browned, (1) drizzle a bit of oil on top of both sides of the bread and (2) press down on the top of the sandwich with a spatula while it’s cooking!
That’s about it for this easy Buffalo Jackfruit Vegan Grilled Cheese, so I hope you give it a try!
What you need to make this recipe
Buffalo Jackfruit Vegan Grilled Cheese
1 (20-ounce) can jackfruit in brine or water
2 teaspoons olive oil, or oil of choice (oil is not necessary to use if you have a good nonstick skillet)
1 1/2 tablespoons vegan butter (can substitute refined coconut oil)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
A pinch of kosher salt
4 teaspoons maple syrup or agave nectar
1/4 cup water
2-3 cups baby spinach, blanched or sautéed
8 slices multigrain bread (or bread of choice)
Olive oil or oil of choice for cooking the grilled cheese
Prepare the jackfruit: Drain the canned jackfruit and lightly rinse under water, shaking off excess water. Use your fingers to remove any thick cores and pull the pieces apart so that it resembles shredded meat.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once hot, add the shredded jackfruit and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the jackfruit begins to brown around the edges.
Make the buffalo sauce: Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, add the vegan butter (or coconut oil). Once melted, add the hot sauce, garlic powder, smoked paprika, pinch of kosher salt,, and maple syrup (or agave). Whisk together to combine and bring to a simmer.
Add the buffalo sauce to the jackfruit in the skillet, along with the 1/4 cup water. Stir to incorporate the sauce into the jackfruit, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated. Wipe out the skillet.
Assemble the grilled cheese: Drizzle the 8 slices of bread from both sides with just a tiny bit of olive oil. Top four slices with about 2 tablespoons of the Nut-Free Vegan Cheese Sauce (more if you like). Portion out ¼ of the jackfruit mixture onto each slice of bread, along with 1/4 of the spinach. Add another few tablespoons of the cheese sauce. Finally, top with the remaining slices of bread.
Heat the skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, cook each sandwich for 2 minutes, pressing down down on top with a spatula, or until golden brown on one side. Flip and cook for 1-2 more minutes, then remove from the heat.