Al Pastor Chickpea Tacos

4.99 from 57 votes
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Al Pastor Chickpea Tacos feature a bright and bold pineapple chili sauce tossed with mushrooms, chickpeas, and onion. The most flavorful vegan tacos, even the most devout carnivores will love this 30 minute recipe. Chickpea and mushroom tacos topped with queso fresco and cilantro

Why You’ll Love these Al Pastor Chickpea Tacos

Al Pastor tacos are considered one of the original fusion foods. Described as a cross between Middle Eastern shawarma and guajillo-rubbed pork (indigenous to central Mexico), it’s a popular street food that has spread to the United States. 

Classic al Pastor tacos feature marinated, spit-grilled pork piled high in a tortilla with fresh toppings. The marinade is where the real magic is at, and this vegetarian version channels the quintessential sweet, smoky spice. 

These vegan tacos are so incredibly hearty and flavorful that you won’t even miss the meat. The chickpeas add ample protein, while the mushrooms amp up the meatiness and umami. Finish them off with fresh, crunchy toppings, and you have yourself a winning weeknight meal. 

Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions:Chickpea taco ingredients in separate bowls with blue labels

  • Pineapple: You need one can of pineapple chunks for this recipe, for which you’ll use both the fruit + the juice. The pineapple lends sweetness and acidity to the marinade. If you have leftover pineapple chunks, feel free to use them as a garnish. 
  • Chipotle chiles: Chipotle chiles come canned in adobo sauce (typically found in the international aisle). They are intensely smoky with quite a bit of heat. The recipe suggests using one to two chiles–one for medium heat, and two if you like it hot. 
  • Spices: A mix of chili powder, paprika, ground cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper create the dynamic spice profile of the sauce. 
  • Vinegar: Most classic al Pastor marinades call for white vinegar, however I found it to be too bracing in this version. Alternatively, I prefer using apple cider vinegar, which has a sweeter, less harsh flavor. 
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic lends an aromatic backbone and bite to the sauce. The recipe calls for 2 cloves, however feel free to bump it up to 3 if you’re a garlic lover. 
  • Chickpeas: Canned chickpeas offer a one-two punch of plant protein and fiber. They also have a “meatier” texture than any other bean, making them a great stand-in for pork.
  • Mushrooms: Baby bella (or cremini) mushrooms amp up the umami of these tacos. Alternatively, you can use shiitake or chopped portobello caps. 
  • Onion: Sautéed red onion is part of the veggie taco filling, however you can also use chopped raw onion as a garnish. The crunch and bite are a fabulous complement to the sauce. 

As far as garnishes, I love layering on some queso fresco, fresh cilantro, chopped raw onion, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Additionally, avocado slices, pico de gallo, and shaved radish are lovely toppings. One chickpea taco showing filling and fresh garnishes

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Blend Al Pastor Sauce

Combine pineapple chunks and juice, chipotle chiles, vinegar, garlic, and spices in a blender. Blend on high speed for 30 to 45 seconds, or until the sauce is smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Al Pastor sauce being blended until smooth in a blender

Step 2: Sauté Mushrooms, Onion, and Chickpeas

Heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Next, add mushrooms and red onion; cook until the onion softens and mushrooms are golden, about 6 minutes. 
 
Next, stir in chickpeas and cook 5 minutes, stirring only occasionally, allowing the chickpeas to pick up some color and crisp. Season mixture with 1/2 tsp. salt. Mushrooms, red onion, and chickpeas being sautéed in a silver skillet

Step 3: Add Sauce to Skillet

Pour al Pastor sauce into skillet with chickpeas and vegetables. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often, allowing the sauce to slightly reduce and thicken.
Al pastor sauce being poured into a skillet with veggies

Step 4: Assemble Chickpea Tacos

Warm or toast tortillas in a cast iron skillet or over a gas flame. Next, add a scoop of the chickpea mixture to each tortilla, and top with garnishes of choice. Finish each taco with a spritz of lime juice, and serve. 

Make-Ahead, Storage, and Reheating Tips:

  • Make-Ahead: The al Pastor sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead--just keep it stored in an airtight container refrigerated. The mushrooms and red onion can also be chopped up to 1 day in advance. 
  • Storage: Store leftover taco filling in an airtight container refrigerated for up to 4 days
  • Reheat: Reheat the taco filling in a skillet over medium heat, adding a splash of broth as needed to thin it out. Alternatively, reheat gently in the microwave, stopping to stir every 30 seconds, until warm. The tortillas should be warmed fresh every time for best results. 

More Ways to Serve Chickpea Tacos

  • Ditch the tortilla and serve the taco filling over brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice–taco bowl style. 
  • Swap the tortilla for bib lettuce leaves to create lettuce cups.
  • Top with a fried egg or mix with eggs to create a veggie taco scramble.

Four vegan tacos on a gray platter topped with cilantro, cheese, and onion

Other Tasty Vegan Taco Recipes:

30 Minute Lentil and Mushroom Tacos

Chipotle-Roasted Butternut Squash Tacos

BBQ Cauliflower Tacos with Green Tahini Sauce

If you give these vegan tacos a try, I’d love for you to leave a rating and review. Also, be sure snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations.

 
4.99 from 57 votes

Al Pastor Chickpea Tacos

Al Pastor Chickpea Tacos feature a bright and bold pineapple chili sauce tossed with mushrooms, chickpeas, and onion. The most flavorful vegan tacos, even the most devout carnivores will love this 30 minute recipe. 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Blender
  • Large skillet

Ingredients  

  • 1 (20-oz.) can pineapple chunks (in 100% pineapple juice)
  • 1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo (1 for medium heat, 2 for hot)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 8 oz. cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped (use remaining half for garnish, if desired)
  • 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 8 corn tortillas, warmed/toasted
  • Fresh cilantro, queso fresco (or avocado if making vegan), and lime juice for garnish
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Instructions 

  • Place a strainer inside a medium bowl. Drain pineapple chunks into strainer, letting the juice collect in the bowl. Transfer 1 cup of pineapple chunks and 1/2 cup of pineapple juice to a high power blender. Add chipotle pepper, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and 1/2 tsp. salt; blend mixture until completely smooth. Set aside.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Once hot, add mushrooms and red onion; cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add chickpeas and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil; cook 5 to 6 more minutes, stirring only occasionally, allowing the chickpeas to pick up some color and crisp. Season mixture with remaining 1/2 tsp. salt.
  • Pour Al Pastor sauce into skillet, and toss with chickpeas and veggies. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the sauce slightly thickens. Remove from heat.
  • Divide chickpea mixture evenly into 8 warmed tortillas. If desired, finely chop remaining half of red onion to use as topping. Garnish with fresh cilantro, queso fresco (or avocado), and a spritz of fresh lime juice.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition Facts do not include garnishes.
Make-Ahead: The sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead--just keep it stored in an airtight container refrigerated. The mushrooms and red onion can also be chopped up to 1 day in advance. 
Storage: Store leftover taco filling in an airtight container refrigerated for up to 4 days. 
Reheat: Reheat the taco filling in a skillet over medium heat, adding a splash of broth or water as needed to thin it out. Alternatively, reheat gently in the microwave, stopping to stir every 30 seconds, until warm. The tortillas should be warmed fresh every time for best results. 

Nutrition

Serving: 2tacos | Calories: 350kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 848mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 20g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!
 
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63 Comments

  1. Lauren says:

    Really flavorful and not too difficult to whip up. A win in my book! My non vegan husband suggested we make again soon.