Vegetarian al Pastor Style Tacos (Carnivore Version Also Included)

The original recipe for this classic Mexican dish was named al pastor because of the marinated pork that serves as a main ingredient, which is cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The marinade ingredients usually include achiote, various spices, and ground red chilies, along with of course the classic pork and sometimes with a seasonal fruit salsa.

Vegetarian al Pastor Style Tacos (Carnivore Version Also Included) |

This dish is very similar to shawarma, and was probably first brought to the region by Lebanese immigrants and adapted somewhat, according to regional cooking customs and flavor profiles.

Once I passed by t=a taco stand that sells these and I noticed that they were using pineapple grilled in with the meat. I thought, “Wow, that looks delicious,” and sure enough, it was! 

Be sure to put fresh chopped cilantro on top, minced onions (if you like them), and some sort of green spicy Mexican salsa or hot sauce (this mango salsa wouldn’t be half bad!).

You can also replace the cilantro with thinly sliced lettuce if you do not like the flavor.

Vegetarian al Pastor Style Tacos - Carnivore Version Also Included |

Like most traditional tacos, these use two tortillas on each to transfer all of that tasty filling from plate to mouth. You can use corn, flour, whole wheat, or whatever kind of tortilla you prefer, preferably the small taco-sized variety.

This makes them a little more hearty and sturdy if you are eating them on the run, which is very common to see in Mexico, with people purchasing food at various food stands and then walking around and eating it.

If you want another great vegetarian recipe, try our hearty and flavorful vegetarian burrito bowl for a meal with tons of flavor, and no meat! 

Buen provecho!

Al Pastor Style Tacos Recipe - includes both a pork and vegetarian version |
Vegetarian or Pork al Pastor-Style Tacos
Votes: 1
Rating: 4
Rate this recipe!
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2 Large Tacos
2 Large Tacos
Al Pastor Style Tacos Recipe - includes both a pork and vegetarian version |
Vegetarian or Pork al Pastor-Style Tacos
Votes: 1
Rating: 4
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
2 Large Tacos
2 Large Tacos
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 2 thick slices from a ripe sweet and fresh pineapple, cubed
  • 2 large chunks Oaxaca cheese*
  • A few swigs of olive oil**
  • Spicy green chili salsa for topping
  • A handful of fresh chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
Servings: Large Tacos
  1. On a hot grill pour a few swigs of olive oil onto the grill until it becomes hot but not smoking.
  2. Add pineapple chunks and grill until they edges start turning golden and darker than the centers.
  3. Add cheese (and pork if non vegetarian version, pork first because you want to make sure the pork is well done).
  4. Grill until the pork is well cooked and then add the cheese or just add the cheese to the pineapple if using vegetarian version until the cheese is melted and a little brown in places, this adds to the flavor.
  5. Place cooked mixture into a bowl and then heat your tortillas on the grill. Put the bowl in a warm place if you can so the mixture does not cool down. If it does you can always place it quickly on the grill after heating up the tortillas before placing the mixture into the warmed tortillas.
  6. Scrape any excess off your grill with a wooden or rubber spatula and then heat up the tortillas, flipping them over when you see a few bubbles and place them together onto a small plate to keep them warm.
  7. On a larger plate for serving place two tortillas together for each taco and fill them on one side so you can fold the tortillas over with the filling.
  8. Add green chili salsa and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.
Recipe Notes

*depending on how much cheese you like and if you are mixing pork into the cheese. This is a Mexican cheese so you may not be able to find it but these are great alternatives; use either Italian style Mozzarella or Armenian String Cheese.
**Enough for grilling the pineapple and cheese and then warming up the tortillas on afterwards.
***this again depends on your personal taste, choose the hotness you prefer and if you sharing with somebody supply a milder one and a hotter one.

Al Pastor Style Tacos Recipe - includes both a pork and vegetarian version |


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About Lori Jo Hendrix

Lori was born in southern California and currently resides in Mexico. She is an actress and model who also writes in the fields of nutrition, wellness, and cuisine. Her passions include working as a volunteer with various groups in the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned and injured animals.

20 thoughts on “Vegetarian al Pastor Style Tacos (Carnivore Version Also Included)

  1. Pineapple is one of my favorite fruits to cook with, so tasty. Plus I love green salsa, so the vegetarian version of this taco looks to be right up my alley. Will definitely have to recommend this recipe next time my friends and I feel like firing up the grill!

    • Hi LeopardJones,

      Mine too! I love how sweet pineapple gets when you cook it and sweet mixed with spicy, yummmmm!


      Lori Jo

  2. Personally, I don’t mind vegetarian options in situations where the flavours are strong & intense. There are times when I prefer the vegetarian option. This would absolutely be one of them. I like that this recipe doesn’t rely on the meat as the flavour component.

    • Got to agree with you here, I’m actively trying to reduce my meat consumption so any meat free recipe which is full of flavor is a winner in my book!

    • Hi missbishi,

      You bring up an excellent point. Vegetarian dishes indeed are better with strong and prominent flavors, I think that is the secret to making them delicious. I am very happy you like this recipe!


      Lori Jo

  3. I am currently trying to find foods that I can eat that do not contain meat. This actually looks and sounds very delicious but I am not sure if I am comfortable with pineapples on my food but honestly at this point of searching for meatless but tasty foods, I guess I will have to just try it. But I am wondering can there possibly be a substitute for the pineapples?

    • Hi unique,

      I definitely recommend that you try the pineapple, at least on one and use very little of it and chop it up in tiny chunks. The sweetness is so delicious with the salty cheese and salsa. You can try just adding a little bit of fresh chilies instead or perhaps some chipotle in adobe sauce.


      Lori Jo

  4. Oh that looks amazing. I have been making a switch to a vegetarian diet and I love Mexican food for savoury recipes — tacos with beans or lentils were my go-to, but honestly, now that I see pineapple in there, I cannot help but be happy to think of different ways I could incorporate not only beans and legumes (and tofu) as my core food, but always cooking fruits for an explosion of flavours!

    One thing I wonder though, why 2 tortillas? The only time I had two tortillas to keep filling instead of just the one was for quesadillas — and the melted cheese it holds is sort of self-explanatory!

    • Hi crayonelle,

      The fruit is a great way to switch things up! You know, I am not sure why two tortillas, I have only seen this since living in Mexico but I found it very delicious. You an use corn or flour tortillas and of course you do not have to use two. Try both and see which you like best.


      Lori Jo

  5. That does sound like a tasty alternative. I’ve never heard of replacing meat with pineapple, but why not? It certainly won’t be boring or bland this way!

    It looks very tasty and definitely worth trying. I love creative recipes. I’ll be sharing this one.

  6. Whenever I’m making something basic and simple for dinner, but really want to spice it up a bit I always come straight to your blog. I haven’t been disappointed so much as once! Tonight being taco night, you have saved me once again! Thank you!!

    • Hi harpazo22,

      Thank you! Yes, we mustn’t forget the lime juice, here in Mexico we squeeze it on top of everything. I love it, even in my fruit juices and mineral water. Not only does it have a great flavor but it is a nice detox and they say it cuts the fat or oil which is supposed to be a good thing.

  7. I’m a carnivore through and through, but I am most definitely giving the veggie version a try. Pineapples are one of my favorite fruits and have never seen them displayed in this way. Pork is my favorite meat so I might try the 3 versions at once (pineapple, pineapple/pork, and pork). Once I’ve tried them all I will let you know how it went. Fingers crossed!!

    • Hi MichelleVL,

      I give you a lot of credit for being open minded and wanting to try both. Yes let us know and even if you do prefer the pork version you can always continue to mix them as a way of eating less meat! I am sure you enjoy both. Cooking with pineapple is so much fun.


  8. Well I cannot say that I have ever had pineapple on a taco but I think that I am having the same reaction that you did…those look delicious. Sometimes those combinations that you would never really think of turn out to be the best ones. Also, you can never have too much fresh cilantro and that really creates a fresh taste, which I love. I might go with the meat version, but either way, thanks for sharing and these look like a definite winner.

  9. Hi rz3300,

    Oh please try the non meat version first! The mix of flavors is so satisfying you may not miss the meat.

    The reason the pineapple works so well is because cheese is salty and savory and the mix between the two is divine. Also, remember, the pineapple is cooked, not raw, so it will be sweeter and not as strong.


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