Paleo Al Pastor Tacos

Geniune al pastor tacos originated in Central Mexico and in spirit are more like Greek gyros or Lebanese shawarma than the recipe below. They’re carved from a giant slab of pork that’s been mixed with other ingredients (potentially non-paleo ingredients) and roasted over a spit.

Much as I adore the notion of adding a personal rotisserie spit to my kitchen arsenal, the only realistic way for me to eat al pastor tacos at home was to get creative. I replaced corn tortillas with sweet, fresh butter lettuce leaves and diced leftover BBQ pulled pork as a stand-in for the al pastor. The results were just what I hoped: complementary flavors that danced the Jarabe Tapatío on my tongue: sweet/salty, cool/hot, crisp/chewy.

What follows is not so much a recipe, but the ingredients you need to build paleo al pastor tacos. Pineapple required; sombrero optional.

  • leftover BBQ pulled pork or pork carnitas, approx. 4-6 oz. per person

  • avocado, diced

  • fresh pineapple, diced – or sugar-free canned pineapple chunks, packed in its own juice

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced

  • a few sprigs of cilantro, chopped

  • a fresh jalapeno, seeded and finely diced

  • 1 head Boston or butter lettuce, separated and washed


This is complicated, so pay attention. Place the diced bits into the lettuce leaves and eat. I like to pile all the ingredients in individual bowls, then let everyone build their own.

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