Vegetarian tacos al pastor is a popular Mexican street food that is loved by many. Traditionally, it is made with marinated pork meat and cooked on a spit. However, for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, there are many delicious meat-free alternatives that can be used to create a mouth-watering vegetarian version of this classic dish. In this article, we will be sharing a simple and easy-to-follow recipe for vegetarian tacos al pastor that is sure to impress your taste buds.

The History of Tacos Al Pastor

Tacos al pastor are a beloved Mexican dish with a fascinating history. The dish originated in central Mexico in the 1920s and 1930s, when Lebanese immigrants began to arrive in Mexico and brought with them the technique of cooking meat on a spit. However, instead of lamb, which was commonly used in Lebanon, the Mexicans used pork, which was more readily available. The meat was marinated in a blend of spices and chilies and then slowly roasted on a spit, much like the shawarma of the Middle East. The dish quickly became popular in Mexico City and spread throughout the country.

Traditionally, tacos al pastor are made with thin slices of pork that have been marinated for hours in a mixture of chilies, spices, and pineapple. The meat is then roasted on a spit until it is crispy and caramelized, and then sliced off in thin strips and served on a warm tortilla with cilantro, onion, and a splash of lime juice. It’s a delicious and satisfying dish that’s perfect for any time of day.

The Vegetarian Twist

As a vegetarian, you may think that you’ll miss out on the delicious flavors of tacos al pastor. But fear not! With a few simple substitutions, you can create a vegetarian version of this classic dish that’s just as flavorful and satisfying.

To make vegetarian tacos al pastor, you’ll need to replace the pork with a meat substitute such as seitan or jackfruit. Seitan is a high-protein meat substitute made from wheat gluten, while jackfruit is a fruit that has a meaty texture when cooked. Both are excellent options for creating a vegetarian version of tacos al pastor.

Key takeaway: Tacos al pastor originated in central Mexico in the 1920s and 1930s when Lebanese immigrants arrived in Mexico and introduced the technique of cooking meat on a spit. Vegetarian tacos al pastor can be made using meat substitutes such as seitan or jackfruit and a blend of spices and pineapple. The dish is easy to make and can be customized to fit individual taste preferences.

The Recipe

Key takeaway: Tacos al pastor originated in central Mexico in the 1920s and 30s and were traditionally made with pork. However, with a few simple substitutions, such as using seitan or jackfruit instead of meat, vegetarians can enjoy a flavorful and satisfying version of this beloved Mexican dish.


  • 1 lb. seitan or jackfruit
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. achiote paste
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Corn tortillas
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Diced onion
  • Lime wedges


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice, orange juice, white vinegar, achiote paste, oregano, cumin, paprika, salt, black pepper, cinnamon, and cloves until well combined.

  2. Add the seitan or jackfruit to the bowl and toss to coat well with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight if possible.

  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  4. Remove the seitan or jackfruit from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the seitan or jackfruit and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy, about 5-7 minutes.

  5. Transfer the seitan or jackfruit to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until heated through.

  6. To assemble the tacos, place a few pieces of the seitan or jackfruit on a warm tortilla. Top with chopped cilantro, diced onion, and a squeeze of lime juice.

Tips and Tricks

  • For a more authentic flavor, try grilling the seitan or jackfruit instead of baking it in the oven.

  • If you can’t find achiote paste, you can substitute it with a blend of paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and oregano.

  • If you’re short on time, you can skip the marinating step and just season the seitan or jackfruit with the spice blend before cooking.

  • To make the tacos even more delicious, serve them with a side of grilled pineapple or a spicy salsa.

FAQs – Vegetarian Tacos al Pastor Recipe

What is the origin of Tacos al Pastor?

Tacos al Pastor is a traditional Mexican dish that originated in Puebla, Mexico during the 1930s. It is a popular street food made with marinated pork meat, cooked on a spit, and served on warm tortillas with pineapple and onion.

How can I make vegetarian Tacos al Pastor?

To make vegetarian Tacos al Pastor, you can substitute the pork meat with seitan, tofu, or textured vegetable protein. Marinate the protein of your choice in a mixture of adobo sauce, pineapple juice, chipotle peppers, and spices such as cumin, garlic, and oregano. Cook the marinated protein on a grill or a pan until crispy. Serve it on warm tortillas with diced pineapple, onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

What are some ingredients that can be used to make Tacos al Pastor vegetarian?

There are several ingredients that can be used to make vegetarian Tacos al Pastor. Seitan is a popular choice as it has a meaty texture and absorbs flavours well. Tofu and tempeh are other options that can be marinated in the same way as the pork meat. Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is a soy-based protein substitute that can be used to create a similar texture as the pork meat.

Can Tacos al Pastor be made vegan?

Yes, Tacos al Pastor can be made vegan by substituting the meat with a plant-based protein and using vegan-friendly toppings such as diced pineapple, onion, cilantro, and lime juice. You can also use vegan tortillas made without lard or other animal products.

What are some tips for making the perfect Vegetarian Tacos al Pastor?

To make the perfect Vegetarian Tacos al Pastor, it is essential to marinate the protein for at least 4 hours to allow the flavours to seep in. You can also grill or pan fry the marinated protein on high heat to get a crispy texture. Make sure to serve the tacos with fresh toppings such as diced pineapple, onion, cilantro, and lime juice to balance out the richness of the marinade. Finally, warm the tortillas before serving to make them soft and pliable.


By Juan

¡Hola amigos! Welcome to "Taco Rocoslo," your ultimate destination for everything taco-related! My name is Juan Carlos, and I'm the loco behind this mouth-watering blog. So, buckle up, because we're going on a wild ride through the delicious world of tacos, exploring everything from traditional Mexican flavors to funky fusion creations. As a proud Mexican with a passion for our rich culinary heritage, I'm here to celebrate the humble taco in all its glory.