Slow Cooker Carnitas Lettuce Cupswith salsa / avocados / roasted cauliflower
We have used slow cooker carnitas in a variety of ways in past meal plans, but its natural richness offers a nice contrast to crisp lettuce cups.
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.
- 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, ground - 3 tsp
- Cumin - 2 tsp
- Salt - 2 tsp
- Black pepper - 1 tsp
- Avocados - 1, sliced
- Lettuce, iceberg or romaine - 12 leaves
- Cilantro - 1/4 bunch, leaves torn
- Slow-cooker carnitas (ingredients listed separately) - ~3 cups
- Salsa, store-bought - for serving
- Cauliflower florets - 16 oz
- Foil - for cooking
- Oil, olive - 2 Tbsp
- Paprika, smoked - 2 tsp
- Hot sauce (opt) - 2 tsp
- Pepitas / pumpkin seeds - 1/4 cup
- Cauliflower / Jalapenos / Garlic - Prep as directed. Store cauliflower in one container. Combine jalapenos and garlic. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Slow cook pork - (This makes enough for 2 nights.) Combine jalapenos, garlic, and stock 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.
- Avocados / Lettuce / Cilantro - Prep as directed.
- Heat oven to 500F / 260C.
- Spread cauliflower out onto a sheet pan and cover tightly with foil. "Steam" in oven for 10 minutes.
- When cauliflower has finished steaming, remove foil. Toss cauliflower with olive oil, paprika, hot sauce, and some salt and pepper. Return cauliflower to oven and continue roasting for 15 to 20 minutes.
- When pork is finished cooking, transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop. Reserve half the pork for Wednesday.
- [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.
- When cauliflower is finished roasting, transfer to a serving bowl and top with pepitas.
- Assemble lettuce cups by filling lettuce leaves with carnitas, avocados, salsa, and cilantro leaves (or set it all out on the table and let everyone assemble their own). Enjoy cauliflower on the side.
This meal has 64 reviews
Really loved subbed rice for Quinoa.
This was great! I really liked the corn salsa. Next time I think I'd either make more salsa or add another vegetable - maybe some sautéed onions/peppers - and I'd prefer rice instead of quinoa.
I made this in the instant pot and it turned out great!
Delicious! I cooked it for 7 hours on low and it was perfect. They also delicious the second day.
Did the meat in the instant pot, subbed rice and jar salsa (our peppers got soft and we happened to have jar salsa on hand).
Carnitas were a little dry this time, maybe it was the wrong cut of meat or maybe that I cooked on high. Still always a hit with my family and nice to have some of dinner done early. Liked the corn salsa even though we didn’t have red peppers to add. And loved adding roasted cauliflower. Served on corn tortillas for family.