One of my collabs with Mitú went up on Friday! You can watch me make a refreshing watermelon cocktail inspired by the spicy watermelon paletas I grew up with here.
The last time my parents came over to visit, my dad mentioned he wanted to take a family trip to Cancún, and to be completely honest I don’t know if I’d want to go. The last time we were there, we had an okay time..there was nothing about Cancún that left us wanting to come back. It’s been two years since we’ve visited, as it was my reward for losing the 40 lbs. I had put on during my last year in college.
I decided that February that I was going to finally make a change to my lifestyle, so I booked our flights and I told myself that I was going to take my shirt off at the beach regardless of what my body looked like. I was always the kid who never took his shirt off at the pool because I was super shy about my body, but I worked hard and trained my butt off and I actually managed to reach my goal weight a week before our trip.
Cancun has beautiful blue beaches and good food, but it is a very tourist heavy location and it lacked the feeling of being in Mexico. We decided to stay en el centro to get a more authentic experience while we were there but we never found quite what we were looking for. We did however, find amazing tacos al pastor. They were completely different than the ones I was used to. The pork was sweeter, and the taqueros really played up the pineapple, cinnamon, and the achiote notes which was different than the heavier guajillo flavor bomb I was used to.
We’re going to be recreating a vegan version of those tacos al estilo Cancún today because I finally started dipping my toes in the vegan pond. I have many friends who are vegan who’ve been asking me to write recipes for some of their favorite dishes and I was excited to finally incorporate TVP (meat substitute) into a recipe. As a non-vegan I didn’t really notice that the pork was missing, TVP has the texture of meat and stays moist and flavorful, unlike pork which can become tough and dry when it is slightly overcooked. If you’re vegan, I hope these tacos deliver an authentic experience, and if you’re not vegan, don’t be afraid to try something new. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
(Billy also has a recipe up today for tacos de pollo verde , you can check it out here)
- For the filling:
- 3 (5-6″) dried guajillo chiles* stems and seeds removed
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- juice of 2 limes
- 3 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
- ½ of a white onion, roughly chopped (the rest will be for topping the tacos)
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried (Mexican) oregano
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1.75 ounces achiote paste (half of the 3.5 package)
- 4 ½ cups medium-sized (size of a quarter) chunks of TVP, rehydrated
- ⅔ cup fresh pineapple, diced
- the rest of that white onion, minced
- minced cilantro
- In a dry medium saucepan toast the guajillos on both sides for 3-5 minutes. Once they’re toasted cover them with water, bring to a boil, and then bring down to a simmer for about 15 minutes, until the peppers are soft.
- **If you haven’t already, make sure to squeeze out any excess water out of your tvp, so it can absorb the marinade.
- Once your peppers are soft, add them to the blender and mix in the pineapple juice, lime juice, cloves of garlic, ½ white onion, salt, Mexican oregano, cinnamon, and achiote paste. Blend until smooth.
- Place your TVP in a gallon size plastic bag, add in the diced pineapple and pour in the marinade. Place in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours.
- Once your TVP is done marinating, and you're ready to cook, drain the excess marinade.
- Preheat two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet and add the TVP/pineapple and fry, stirring occasionally until the TVP is hot and slightly crispy on the outside.
- Serve on a warm tortilla and garnish with your favorite taco fixings.