Mexican Pork Belly Tacos, with avocados and fresh watermelon salsa, are an indulgent new way to enjoy #TacoTuesday! Cook the air fryer pork belly, and make the watermelon salsa while it cooks. A couple of slices of ripe avocado, and you're in taco heaven... Yes, they're indulgent, but "all things in moderation," right?
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Why Pork Belly Tacos?
Blame this indulgent and somewhat unique taco recipe on the White Duck Taco Shop in Asheville, North Carolina. We have a vacation home in the area (Black Mountain), and it's become a must on every trip. We had the pork belly tacos, and the combination of the succulent, fatty pork with the freshness of the watermelon was irresistible.
The combination stuck in my mind, and just recently, I decided to "throw caution to the wind," and play with pork belly. I started with the air fryer pork belly that I recently posted. I still have several pieces of pork belly in my freezer, but there it will stay for awhile!
This combination of flavors and textures really "works" for me, but taco recipes are really just templates. The corn tortillas and pork belly pieces can be customized to your preference. After indulging in pork belly tacos on #TacoTuesday, you might consider this Tuscan fish (488 calories), or this cajun shrimp (364 calories) the next day. 😊
📋 Taco Ingredients
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
Watermelon Salsa Ingredients
- melon - This is a watermelon salsa, but you can substitute other melons as well. Try a lemon drop melon, or other variety of melon. I chose small seedless watermelons.
- fresh green chiles - On photo day, I used jalapeños, but Fresno chiles, Hatch green chiles, serranos, and poblanos are all good options. If you can't handle any heat, substitute bell pepper or tomatoes.
- scallions - I love the fresh taste of scallions (aka green onions), but you can use shallots, red onions, sweet onions, etc.
- fresh cilantro - Fresh cilantro is ubiquitous in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, but I have been known to "think outside the box," and substitute fresh basil or mint. Choose your favorite fresh herb, and make this watermelon salsa your own!
- fresh limes - Only fresh lime juice will do, though I have occasionally used a citrus combination of lime, orange, and lemon. Please don't use bottled lime juice on your fresh salsa! If your limes are on the dry side, use more.
Pork Belly Tacos Ingredients
- pork belly - Obviously, I would love for you to try my air fryer pork belly recipe. It's totally fine to use your favorite pork belly recipe. For 4 servings, you'll need about a pound (finished weight).
- salsa - I love the watermelon salsa shown in the photos, and the White Duck Taco Shop served their pork belly tacos with watermelon salsa. I'll provide instructions in the FAQ section below. However, there are many different types of salsas, and you may prefer another. I highly recommend a homemade fruit based salsa. I have a recipe coming soon for a spicy peach salsa that would be superb.
- avocados - I almost never make tacos without avocados. BECAUSE. AVOCADOS. Of course you can leave them out, but why? See Avocado Nutrition Facts for more information.
- cheese - My "go to" cheese for tacos is cotija. I get a good aged cotija that crumbles nicely, and like feta, its salty tang is great with tacos. However, I stick with just avocado, salsa, and pork belly for these tacos. The pork is so rich and flavorful, the tacos really don't need cheese.
- tortillas - No holds barred here... Please use corn tortillas? They're gluten free, and lower in fat and calories. See Corn vs. Flour Tortillas: What’s the Difference? for more information. Corn tortillas have more flavor, they're gluten free, and they're lower in calories. Plus, they taste better with leftover pulled pork! Of course if you prefer flour tortillas, by all means, use them!
🔪 Taco Instructions
- Prepare your pork belly first. Total time in the air fryer is about 50 minutes, giving you plenty of time to make your salsa, and prep any other toppings. Maybe even pour yourself a glass of wine? NOTE: The instructions suggest scoring the pork skin (fatty side) in taco-sized pieces.
- Make your salsa - Whether you're making my watermelon salsa, or a different salsa recipe, you'll want to get that done while the pork belly cooks. Salsa should be very moist, but not swimming in lime juice. Limes vary in amount of juice, so adjust as needed. See bottom of post for more fruit salsa ideas.
- Prepare the toppings - See Ingredients above for ideas.
- Assemble the tacos - After warming the corn tortillas by preferred method, fill the tortillas with a piece of pork belly, a scoop of watermelon salsa, and a slice of avocado as desired. NOTE: I use this tortilla warmer in my microwave if I need more than a couple of tortillas.
What is the difference between pork belly and bacon?
The most basic difference between pork belly and bacon is that the pork belly cut isn't smoked or cured, and only comes from the belly of the pig. Bacon is from the belly and is cured, and sometimes smoked. It often has additives like nitrites and sodium.
Is pork belly healthy?
No. It is high in fat and calories. It's an indulgent food at Andersen casa, and I plan sides that are low in fat and calories to moderate the meal a bit. Though pork belly is high in calories and fat, it provides B vitamins, zinc, and other nutrients, and is naturally low in sodium. See Is Pork Belly Healthy? Nutrition, Downsides, and More for more information. It is, however, healthier than bacon due to the lack of curing and additives.
These pork belly tacos are very customizable. If you hate watermelon, substitute cantalope, honey dew, etc. Peach salsa is amazing, and pairs really well with pork. You can substitute cheese for the avocado, or do some quick pickled onions.
Limes vary hugely in how much juice they produce. You want moist salsa, not soggy salsa. Use more than 2 limes as needed for moist salsa.
If you have feedback on my decision to post a recipe for pork belly tacos, please leave a comment at the bottom of the post. It is my desire to give creative healthy and healthyish recipes, but also make room for an occasional indulgence. I'd love to hear your opinion!
Mexican Pork Belly Tacos
- 2 cups seedless watermelon - diced
- 2 jalapeños - stems and seeds removed; minced
- 2 scallions - chopped
- 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves - chopped (small stems okay)
- 2 limes - juiced; if they're not juicy, use 3 or more
- sea salt
- 1 pound uncooked pork belly - with spice rub
- Prepare your pork belly first.
- Combine salsa ingredients in a bowl. Stir to combine. Season with salt as desired.
- Prepare any toppings (avocado, cheese, etc.).
- Slice the pork belly.
- Warm the corn tortillas
- Assemble the tacos.
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.
🍉 Fruit Salsa Recipes
If you aren't a fan of watermelon, here are some other options for salsas that pair well with pork belly tacos.
I'd love to hear from you!