In this vegetarian-friendly riff on al pastor tacos, Chef Claudette Zepeda swaps in tangy-sweet pineapple and ripe plantains, but keeps the punchy marinade that's traditional to the dish (made with guajillo chiles, achiote paste, chipotles in adobo, and white vinegar). —Food52
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe is shared in partnership with Don Julio. —The Editors
For the marinade:
chipotles in adobo (canned)
Salt, to taste
For the tacos:
plantains, ripe (dark yellow with black spots)
neutral oil (like canola oil or vegetable oil)
Remove the seeds from the guajillo chiles and cook on a dry cast-iron pan set over medium heat for 10 to 15 seconds to soften; you’ll see the color change to bright red. (You can also use a grill to do this.)
Dissolve the achiote paste in the white vinegar.
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If the marinade is a bit thick, add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar at a time to thin out slightly. Season to taste with salt and set aside.
For the tacos:
Clean and peel the pineapple. Cut the pineapple into 4 quarters and remove the core on the bias. Then cut the quarters into large spears or chunks and set aside.
Peel the plantains and slice them on the bias into 1/2-inch thick medallions. Reserve with the pineapple.
Add the oil to a grill or cast iron pan set over medium-high heat. Moving in batches if you have to, sear the pineapple and plantains on all sides. Once seared, brush the marinade to coat all sides of the fruit and cook for about 5 minutes—or until charred on the edges and soft on the inside. If using a cast iron pan, you can also transfer to an oven and bake at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes.
Pick the cilantro leaves from their stems, discarding the stems. Cut the limes into quarters. Set aside.
Assemble the tacos using the corn tortillas: Garnish with the cilantro, a squeeze of lime, red onions, drizzle of crema, and a handful of crumbled queso fresco. Cry/smile because they are so tasty.