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There’s no denying that carnitas—the Mexican pork dish that’s braised until luxuriously tender—make a mean taco. But when you don’t eat meat, how can you get your fix? With Nadiya Hussain’s recipe for mushroom carnitas, from her new cookbook, Nadiya’s Everyday Baking. Portobello mushrooms offer a meaty texture and flavor (without any actual meat).
“This vegetarian take on Mexican carnitas is made with portobello mushrooms cooked with garlic and thyme and baked until crisp,” she explains. “Served in a toasted pita (instead of the traditional tortilla) and topped with a pickled beet mayo, these are so simple and need very little else.”
Reprinted with permission from Nadiya’s Everyday Baking: From Weeknight Dinners to Celebration Cakes, Let Your Oven Do the Work. Copyright © 2022 by Nadiya Hussain. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Chris Terry. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound 2 ounces (500g) portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced into strips
1 large sprig fresh lemon thyme or thyme
3 to 4 pita breads
1 cup (220g) shredded pickled beets, drained and excess vinegar removed
1 cup (240g) mayonnaise
1 large handful of thinly sliced fresh chives
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and add the oil to a baking sheet or large baking pan.
2. Add the minced garlic and mushrooms to the baking sheet; stir until coated. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, tossing at regular intervals so everything crisps evenly. About 15 minutes before the mushrooms are finished, add the sprig of thyme.
3. Make the Beet Mayo: Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the beet with the mayonnaise and sliced chives; mix well.
4. Just before the mushrooms are finished, pop the pitas onto the baking sheet till they are toasted and puffed up. As soon as they are, take the sheet out and remove the pitas from the top.
5. Take out the thyme stalk, remove any leaves and mix them into the mushrooms. Cut open the pitas. Fill with the mushrooms and top with the mayo before serving.