Slow Cooker Carnitas Bowl
with quinoa / corn salsa / avocados
Slow Cooker Carnitas are super versatile, and this burrito bowl-inspired variation got great reviews when featured back in 2019. These include a sweet and savory warm corn salsa and are served over quinoa as an alternative to the more traditional rice base.
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, ground - 2 tsp
- Salt - 2 tsp
- Black pepper - 1 tsp
- 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
- 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
- Quinoa, uncooked - 1 1/2 cups
- Stock, any type - 3 cups
- 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)
- Quinoa - (This makes enough for 2 nights.) Combine quinoa with stock (portion for quinoa) 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)
- 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. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
- Avocados / Cilantro (for bowls and salsa) - Prep as directed.
- 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 the pork for tonight’s meal 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.
- Heat a wok or skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Add corn and shallots and saute until corn is lightly blackened, ~4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in bell peppers, cilantro (portion for salsa), and lime juice. Season with a pinch of salt.
- If quinoa was made ahead reheat in the microwave. (Reserve half for Thursday.)
- Assemble by dividing quinoa between serving bowls. Top quinoa with pork, avocados, corn salsa, and cilantro leaves (portion for bowls). Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips on the side.
So surprised with how amazing this was. Wasn’t jazzed about using quinoa because I thought it was a weird combo (because I’m so used to rice...) but it was great!! Bravo!0 Helpful
The salsa is the best!! I use fresh bell peppers0 Helpful
I just made the meat and served it with some other options like corn salsa and guac to make tacos at a party, but it was a bit hit0 Helpful
The spices were perfect and the salsa was amazing. We added a little cheese and sub'd the sour cream with plain greek yogurt. This was so easy and fantastic- a new family favorite!0 Helpful
Yum! Loved everything about it.0 Helpful
Strikingly filling.0 Helpful