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.
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.
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions:
- 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.
Step 1: Blend Al Pastor Sauce
Step 2: Sauté Mushrooms, Onion, and Chickpeas
Step 3: Add Sauce to Skillet
Step 4: Assemble Chickpea Tacos
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.
Other Tasty Vegan Taco Recipes:
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.
Al Pastor Chickpea Tacos
- Large skillet
- 1 (20-oz.) can pineapple chunks (in 100% pineapple juice)
- 1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo (1 for medium heat, 2 for hot)
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 ½ 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
- ½ 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
- 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 ½ cup of pineapple juice to a high power blender. Add chipotle pepper, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and ½ 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 ½ 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.