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Tortas, an everyday street food in Mexico, became popular in the US during the 20th century. Tortas are sandwiches made on a crusty bread and derive from French influences on Mexican cuisine. Tortas are usually made with regional breads like bolillo or telera but can also be made on a French roll. They are usually toasted or grilled and can have a variety of fillings. Increasingly, they can be found for sale as street food and in Mexican restaurants around the US.

Recipe Servings: 4

Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 30 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free


  • 1¼ lb pork leg
  • 2 small white onions, chopped and divided
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 4 rolls (bolillos, teleras or french rolls)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1½ cups refried beans
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 3–4 small plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 can (7 oz) jalapeños in vinegar
  • 2 small avocados, deseeded, peeled, and sliced


  1. Combine pork and ¼ of the onion in a large pot, add water until it covers the food by 2 inches, and bring it to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes, until meat is fork-tender. Add water as needed.
  3. Remove the pork from the cooking liquid and, with a knife, roughly chop or pull apart into bite-size pieces.
  4. Heat oil in a frying pan set over medium heat.
  5. Add the shredded pork and salt to the hot oil and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until pork is browned. Transfer the meat to a bowl.
  6. Slice the rolls in half and generously spread mayonnaise on the inside of each slice.
  7. Return the frying pan to medium heat and place the rolls mayonnaise-side down into the hot pan, cooking until toasted.
  8. Spread refried beans on the bottom half of the rolls, then layer each with browned pork, lettuce, tomato, the remaining onion, and vinegar jalapeños.
  9. Place the avocado slices on the top halves of the rolls.
  10. Top each bottom roll with its top half and serve.

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