3 Ingredient Pressure Cooker Vegan Barbacoa Recipe made with veggies is a hearty jackfruit barbacoa recipe that vegans will love. Serve it with rice, as lettuce cups or in an enchilada recipe.

This is my first attempt at making a vegan barbacoa recipe and I have to say that it turned out to be so delicious!

I always thought that it would be a very involved process to make a barbacoa recipe, but, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

First, the barbacoa sauce is so very easy to make because I only used 3 simple ingredients.

The rest of the recipe includes fresh veggies that are available all year round and cook quickly in the pressure cooker.

Overhead view of vegan barbacoa sauce in a white bowl

What is barbacoa?

Barbacoa is a cooking method that has its roots in Caribbean cooking.  Specifically, it comes from the Tainos Indians who cooked meat using the earth as a cooking pan.

They would create a hole in the ground referred to as “barabicu” which loosely translates as “sacred fire pit”.  They line the hole with fire-resistant fig leaves which also helped preserve food.

There are some instances where the meat was cooked in a hole dug in the ground.  The heat was applied from above and using the earth to conduct the heat to the meat.

“Barbacoa” evolved to modern day “Barbecue” and we have earth cooking to thank for that.

Cooking in earth is a very common way of cooking in the Caribbean and India.  In fact, one of my favorite Indian recipes is a an intricate meal that uses an upside down pot over a pit in the ground.

Earth cooking is one of my biggest wishes to try someday.  Not sure how I am going to go about creating a pit in the ground and start cooking, but, it has been on my bucket list for the longest time.

If anyone has legit ideas, please feel free to contact me…..

Source: Wikipedia, Aqui Es Texcoco, and some of my personal experiences.

Closeup view of vegan barbacoa sauce in a white bowl

Ingredients for vegan barbacoa

– Portobello Mushrooms

– Mini Sweet Peppers

– Jackfruit

– Red Onions

– Garlic

– Barbacao sauce

This recipe was also a chance for me to use jackfruit again.  Its one of those popular vegan ingredients that I haven’t fully embraced.  Check out my jackfruit corn chowder recipe where I use it for the first time on my blog.  Its was really a hearty soup and gave me an appreciation for its potential.

You can add more jackfruit to this vegan barbacoa, if you are have developed a taste for it.  I will also not blame you if you want to skip it all together.

Portobello mushrooms add a nice “meaty” texture to this barbacoa recipe.  They have a dense texture which makes them perfect substitute for meat.  Whenever I have any left over portobellow mushrooms, I like to stuff them or even grill them

Related: 4 Amazing Mushroom Recipes For Dinner

Tips for making this recipe

– Make this vegan barbacoa in the instant pot or pressure cooker for those nights when you are going to be too busy.  Adjust the cooking time according to the device you are using.  My recipe is made using this Bestek pressure cooker and the cook times work perfectly for it.

– You can also dump all the ingredients into a slow cooker and let it cook for about 6 hours

– Use jackfruit from a can because it has been put in a brine solution, making it easier to cook.  I used (affiliate link) Arroy-D’s Jackfruit in a brine can.  Its very easy to work with and cooks perfectly. Leftover jackfruit can be turned into easy jackfruit curry bowls.

– In the barbacoa sauce recipe, I make liberal use of chipotle in adobo sauce.  They are spicy and tangy which may not be for everyone.  Adjust it to your taste.

– This vegan barbacoa recipe is more on the saucy side because I loved it over rice.  If you want to use it in taco or burrito recipes, use less coconut water in the barbacoa sauce.

– My favorite ingredient in this recipe has to be the mini sweet peppers.  So, don’t even think of omitting them when you make my recipe!  P/S: If you have left over mini sweet peppers, stuff them with rice.

– Put the barbacoa in (affiliate link) glass meal prep containers and use it up within 2 weeks.

🌶 Substitution tip: Don’t have Chipotle Adobo sauce? Sub with tomato paste and cayenne pepper (or jalapeno) mixture. 

How to eat it

Serve it with rice

Top view of a bowl with vegan barbacoa sauce over rice

I have to admit that this was my favorite way of eating barbacoa.  I know I am not supposed to pick favorites because all 3 serving methods are delicious!

But, I have a love for basmati rice and it was the perfect compliment to vegan barbacoa. Rice

So, serve it with basmati, any long grain rice or even brown rice recipe.

🥫 Handy Tip: Make your barbacoa with more sauce, if you are serving it with rice. This will make the meal so moist and delicious.

Serve it in lettuce cups

Overhead view of vegan barbacoa sauce in romaine lettuce cups

If you are looking for a light lunch idea which is also healthy, you will love eating it in lettuce cups.

I served it with romaine lettuce and it was so delicious.  The romaine does a great job of evening out some of the spice from the barbacoa’s flavors.

🥬 Substitution tip: You can use any green leafy vegetable, not just romaine. Try lola rosa or butterhead lettuces.

Put it into vegan enchiladas

Overhead view of enchilada vegan barbacoa sauce

This image really doesn’t do the recipe any justice.  After taking this photo, I have come to realize that I need to practice taking more casserole dish recipes because I am not very good at it.

But, ignore my not-so-good image and make these beyond delicious vegan barbacoa enchilada.

P/s: I have a very old recipe for vegetarian enchiladas that is quick, easy and hearty.

So, how are you going to eat this vegan barbacoa?

Sharing is caring

Don’t be shy, chime in below in the comments. Let me hear your opinion on this recipe. If you enjoyed this, please give it 5 stars and share it on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.

Overhead view of vegan barbacoa sauce in a white bowl

Vegan Barbacoa Recipe with Easy Barbacoa Sauce

A hearty, spicy and versatile vegan barbacoa recipe
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Caribbean
Servings 4 people
Calories 445 kcal


For the Barbacao Sauce

For the Barbacoa


For the Barbacoa Sauce

  • In a blender, add all 3 ingredients
  • On low speed, blend the ingredients until it has a sauce consistency
  • Set aside

For the barbacoa

  • De-gill and julienne cut the mushrooms
  • Julienne cut the mini sweet peppers
  • Set the pressure cooker to 15 minutes on manual
  • Add the oil, garlic and red onions
  • Cook for about 3 minutes or until the onions start to brown
  • Add the mushrooms, mini sweet peppers and coconut water (if using)
  • Cook for about 8 minutes or until the mushrooms start to crisp
  • Add the jackfruit, seasonings and barbacoa sauce. Mix well
  • Close the lid and set pressure gauge to “sealed”
  • Cook for about 40 minutes. See Notes
  • Set pressure gauge to release and let the steam release
  • Open it and mix well before serving



– If you don’t want to use the chipotle in adobo sauce, sub it with 1/2 cup tomato paste, 1 tsp cayenne pepper or 1 jalapeno.  Add it to the blender with fire roasted tomatoes and coconut water
– Depending on the device and brand of pressure cooker you are using, your cook times will vary.  Test it with your instant pot / pressure cooker.  I used bestek’s pressure cooker. 


Calories: 445kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 8gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 10098mgPotassium: 1484mgFiber: 8gSugar: 38gVitamin A: 3355IUVitamin C: 135.6mgCalcium: 202mgIron: 5mg
Keyword barbacoa sauce recipe, what is barbacoa
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I was first introduced to jackfruit last year when I had a friend who was vegan over for dinner…. I couldn’t believe how much I as a meat eater really enjoyed it in a spaghetti meat sauce. I am definitely going to hit up your sauce for the barbacoa and try the whole recipe1. I already know Im going to love it!

  2. This looks delicious & I just got an Instant Pot, so I can make this. I’ll have to look for jackfruit in a can. I didn’t know they sold it that way. We saw a fresh jackfruit the other day – omg, they are huge!!! Looking forward to this recipe.

    1. I love fresh jackfruit, but, its a huge pain to work with. Its hard to cut and it takes forever to cook. I find the canned version to be life savers and time savers.