Local Author Pens New Vegan Cookbook

Local food blogger and author Jackie Akerberg (jackfruitfulkitchen.com) has released her new book, “The Clean Vegan Cookbook,” available for $22.99 online and at local bookstores. The hearty tortilla soup stars jackfruit instead of chicken.

“This fabulous fruit is a great plant-based alternative when you’re looking for the texture of shredded chicken,” Akerberg says. “In this recipe, it takes on all the spicy flavors of this creamy Southwestern soup and adds the perfect shredded-chicken texture.” Find the full recipe below.

Akerberg says you can find the book locally at Campbell’s Nutrition, Eden, Allspice Culinarium, Storyhouse Bookpub, Beaverdale Books, Des Moines Mercantile, Barnes & Noble and Target. It’s also available at the Des Moines Public Library.

Chicken Tortilla Soup, Hold the Chicken

Yields 6 servings

For the soup:

20 ounces canned young green jackfruit, drained and rinsed

Water, vegetable broth or avocado oil, as needed

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 large poblano peppers, coarsely chopped

1 1⁄2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed

1 teaspoon black pepper, plus more as needed

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juices

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk

1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce, plus more as needed

1 14-ounce can black beans, drained

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

Juice of 1 large lime, plus more as needed

1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves


For the crispy tortilla strips:

4 6- or 8-inch almond flour soft tortillas, halved and sliced crosswise into strips

Avocado oil spray (optional)


For serving:

1 large avocado, cubed

1⁄2 cup plain unsweetened vegan Greek yogurt

1⁄4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 large lime, sliced into 6 wedges



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

To make the soup, place the jackfruit in the center of a clean kitchen towel. Wrap the jackfruit in the towel and use your hands to squeeze excess moisture from the jackfruit over the sink. Unwrap the towel and use your fingers to shred the jackfruit into small, stringy pieces, placing the pieces in a medium bowl as you go.

Heat a small amount of water in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, until they are tender. Add the poblano peppers and jackfruit. Increase the heat to high and sauté the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes, until the poblano peppers are tender. Add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time to deglaze the pot if needed.

Add the chili powder, coriander, paprika, cumin, nutritional yeast, salt and black pepper. Cook the mixture for 30 seconds, stirring it frequently. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes with their juices, tomato paste, coconut milk and chili-garlic sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the crispy tortilla strips. Spread the tortilla strips on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray the tortilla strips with the avocado oil (if using). Bake the tortilla strips for 10 to 12 minutes, until they are slightly golden and crispy.

Stir the beans, corn, lime juice and cilantro into the soup. Cook the soup for 5 minutes to heat the ingredients through. Season the soup with additional salt, black pepper, lime juice or chili-garlic sauce if needed.

Serve the soup hot topped with the avocado, yogurt, cilantro and tortilla strips, with the lime wedges on the side.

Reprinted with permission from “The Clean Vegan Cookbook” by Jackie Akerberg (Page Street Publishing Co., 2023). Photographer: Jackie Akerberg.

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