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Slow Cooker Carnitas Burrito Bowls
with quinoa / corn salsa / avocados

Active: 30 min Total: 7 hr 30 min
We have used slow cooker carnitas in a variety of ways in past meal plans, but this is the first time we've added it to burrito bowls. These include a sweet and savory warm corn salsa and are served over quinoa as an alternative to the more traditional rice base.
Smarts: Make a double batch of carnitas tonight and save half for a soup later in the week.
Smarts: This recipe could be made in the Instant Pot. For tips, join the Cook Smarts Instant Pot Facebook Group.


Slow Cooker Carnitas (enough for 2 nights):
  • Jalapenos - 1 , chopped
  • Garlic - 6 cloves , chopped
  • Stock, any type - 1/2 cup
  • Pork, boneless shoulder roast (enough for 2 nights) - 2 1/2 lbs (sometimes labeled pork butt; if using bone-in, purchase a slightly heavier cut)
  • Oregano, dried - 3 tsp
  • Cumin, ground - 2 tsp
  • Salt - 2 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1 tsp
Slow Cooker Carnitas Burrito Bowls:
  • Quinoa, uncooked - 3/4 cup
  • Stock, any type - 1 1/2 cups
  • Avocados - 1 , sliced
  • Cilantro - 1/4 bunch , leaves torn
  • Slow-cooker carnitas (ingredients listed separately) - ~3 cups
  • Sour cream (opt) - for serving
  • Tortilla chips (opt) - for serving
Warm Corn Salsa:
  • Shallots - 1 , diced
  • Bell peppers, from a jar of roasted red peppers - 1/2 , chopped
  • Cilantro - 1 Tbsp , chopped
  • Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
  • Corn, frozen - 1 1/2 cups
  • Lime juice - 2 tsp


  1. Jalapenos / Garlic / Shallots / Bell peppers - Prep as directed. Combine jalapenos and garlic. Store shallots and bell peppers in their own separate containers. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Quinoa - Combine quinoa with stock (portion for burrito bowls) in a saucepan. Add some salt. Bring to a boil covered. Lower heat, keep covered, and cook until liquid is absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  3. Slow cook pork - (This makes enough for 2 nights.) Combine jalapenos, garlic, and stock (portion for carnitas) in the bowl of a slow cooker. Add pork. Rub pork on the top and sides with oregano, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Cook pork until tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or high for 4 to 5 hours.
  4. Avocados / Cilantro (for bowls and salsa) - Prep as directed.

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  1. When pork is finished cooking, transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop. Reserve half the pork for Wednesday.
  2. [Optional step:] If you'd like your pork crispy (like traditional carnitas), heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add some oil and then the portion of the pork for tonight's dinner. Cook without stirring until dark golden brown on the bottom. Stir and continue cooking until pork is crisp and golden brown in spots.
  3. Heat a wok or skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Add corn and shallots and saute until corn is lightly blackened, ~2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in bell peppers, cilantro (portion for salsa), and lime juice. Season with a pinch of salt.
  4. If quinoa was made ahead reheat in the microwave.
  5. Assemble by dividing quinoa between serving bowls. Top quinoa with pork, avocados, corn salsa, and cilantro leaves (portion for bowls). Serve with some sour cream and tortilla chips on the side.



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