Vegan Remolacha al Pastor Tacos (Beetroot-Chipotle-Pineapple)
Shredded beetroot cooked in a chipotle pineapple sauce, loaded into soft tacos.
Tacos al Pastor in Mexico are typically made with a large joint of pork, marinated and slow cooked to achieve a soft, shredded texture similar to its Levantine ancestor, shawarma. Here I think the sweetness and earthiness of beets make a great stand in for the pork. Although this recipe features the essential chillies, spices and pineapple, it's definitely not authentic. It's been adapted for what's available locally to me and while it might not be the original, it's certainly delicious.
As with all tacos, the key here is plenty of fixings. I've included a whole array of suggestions for what those could be, but I ate mine with chard, refried butter beans, potatoes, raw tomato, raw pineapple, coriander/cilantro, and a sprinkling of cashew parm. I think some kind of crispy, crunchy potato product and some fresh salad element are the bare minimum here, to create a nice textural contrast to the soft taco 'meat'.
Remolacha al Pastor Tacos vegan. can be gluten free.
prep time 20 minutes
cook time 60 minutes
total time 80 minutes
For the remolacha al pastor:
¼ pineapple, cut into chunks
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons chipotle spice paste
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (could swap for red wine vinegar)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 banana shallot or 2 small shallots, trimmed and halved
½ teaspoon MSG (optional but recommended)
A large handful of coriander/cilantro, leaves and stems, torn
1 tablespoon browning sauce (optional, for a darker, less red colour)
300g beetroot (about 6 small beets), grated
Salt, to taste
For serving (all optional or riffable):
8-10 100% corn tortillas, toasted on both sides in a pan (you could use hard shell tacos if you must, but I really recommend proper white corn soft tortillas)
Mini hash browns, tater tots, or cubed roasted potatoes, cooked
Refried beans, warmed
Fresh pineapple, julienned
Any salads you enjoy
Add all of the al pastor ingredients except the beetroot to a blender and blitz until smooth.
In a bowl, thoroughly combine the sauce with the grated beetroot.
Gently simmer the mixture in a lidded pan, over a low to medium heat, until thoroughly softened. For me this took about an hour. Check it fairly regularly, adding a couple of tablespoons of water if needed to prevent sticking or burning.
Season the mix to taste.
Serve in you tacos with the desired toppings or lay out self-service style for guests to enjoy.