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Hunger Action Month: Dorothy's Jackfruit Ropa Vieja Recipe

Hunger Action Month: Dorothy's Jackfruit Ropa Vieja Recipe

September is Hunger Action Month

One unique way to honor Hunger Action Month is by cooking the Ropa Vieja recipe below. This was dish created to be inexpensive, easy to make, versatile, and lasting.


1 can jackfruit (or 1 package pre-cooked and shredded)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (omit to keep the recipe vegetarian)
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
½ onion, diced
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 rib of celery, sliced
16 oz jar Tomato Basil Soup for Good
2 bay leaves
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp salt
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup green olives with pimento
Cilantro for garnish

*If including, marinate chicken thighs with onion, celery, garlic, oil, salt, pepper, oregano, bay leaves, and white wine. Allow to set for 2 hours (or overnight is better).

  1. In a large pot, sear all sides of chicken thighs and cook through with marinade.
  2. Drain and rinse jackfruit. Squeeze out any excess water. Put in hot oven (350⁰F) to dry out and get crispy. Shred and add to chicken and marinade items.
  3. If not using chicken, sauté onion, celery, and garlic until they are slightly golden. Add jackfruit.
  4. Add Tomato Basil Soup for Good, white wine, oregano, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and olives. Bring to a simmer and cook for approximately 15 minutes until sauce reduces.
  5. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with rice and beans…and maybe some sweet plantains (maduros).

Didn’t catch our Facebook Live? Watch Jill make the recipe and follow along on the latest installment of In The Kitchen with Chef Jill!


The History

Ropa Vieja, known as the national dish of Cuba, is synonymous with the Cuban culture and popular in the Caribbean; however, the dish originated in Spain’s Canary Islands. Legend has it that a poor man had shredded and cooked his clothes to feed his family. Once the clothes had simmered down, he prayed, and the clothes turned into a meal of meat and vegetables to feed his hungry family. There is no way to fact check the legend, but legends are meant to be told and hold lessons for the present day. Even for a “poor man’s” dish, the richness of the flavors yields a hearty meal with its medley of ingredients.

The Story

This recipe came from a graduate of our Culinary Training Program, Dorothy. She had learned the recipe from a friend before the program and uses it on occasion because of its simplicity. She enjoys the recipe because it is easy to make and does not require an array of culinary skills to accomplish. It can also be paired with almost any side that you have in your kitchen. The incorporation of jackfruit makes the recipe versatile for anyone on a vegetarian diet or seeking a meat substitute. Pair it with some white or yellow rice, beans, or put it into a tortilla for taco Tuesday.


More About Hunger Action Month

Over 500,000 of our neighbors face hunger in Central Florida. Hunger is compounded by the continued tremors caused by the pandemic. Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is calling on all Central Floridians to take action for Hunger Action Month. For 30 days Second Harvest has 30 ways in which you can donate, volunteer, and shop to support fighting hunger in our area. Visit to get involved for Hunger Action Month.
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