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.
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.
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 some of our other Mexican-inspired favorites:
2thick slices from a ripesweet and fresh pineapple, cubed
2large chunks Oaxaca cheese*
A few swigs of olive oil**
Spicy green chili salsafor topping
A handful of fresh chopped fresh cilantrofor garnish
Servings: Large Tacos
On a hot grill pour a few swigs of olive oil onto the grill until it becomes hot but not smoking.
Add pineapple chunks and grill until they edges start turning golden and darker than the centers.
Add cheese (and pork if non vegetarian version, pork first because you want to make sure the pork is well done).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Add green chili salsa and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.
*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.
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.