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Slow Cooker Carnitas Bowl
with quinoa / corn salsa / avocados

Active: 40 Total: 460

Slow Cooker Carnitas are super versatile, and this burrito bowl-inspired variation got great reviews when first 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.
Cooking methods: This recipe includes instructions for using the slow cooker or Instant Pot to cook the pork. Select your preferred method.

Tags

Ingredients

Metric
Servings:
4
Quinoa:
  • Quinoa, uncooked - 3/4 cup
  • Stock, any type - 1 1/2 cups
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
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
Slow Cooker Carnitas Burrito Bowls:
  • Avocados - 1, sliced
  • Cilantro - 1/2 cup, leaves torn
  • Slow-cooker carnitas (ingredients listed separately) - ~3 cups
  • Sour cream (opt) - for serving
  • Tortilla chips (opt) - for serving

Nutrition Facts

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Choose Cooking Method

Prep

  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 - (Double if making Tuesday's meal.) 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)

  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. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)

  4. Avocados / Cilantro (for bowls and salsa) - Prep as directed.

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Make

  1. When pork is finished cooking, use a slotted spoon to transfer to a cutting board and shred or roughly chop. Reserve half the pork for Wednesday.

  2. [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.

  3. 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.

  4. If quinoa was made ahead reheat in the microwave. (Reserve half if doubled.)

  5. 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.

Prep

  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 - (Double if making Tuesday's meal.) 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)

  3. Slice and season pork - Slice pork into 3" / 8 cm pieces (this will help it to cook more evenly). Tenderize with a fork and season with oregano, cumin, salt, and black pepper. (Can be done up to 1 day ahead)

  4. Avocados / Cilantro (for bowls and salsa) - Prep as directed.

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Make

  1. In the bowl of an Instant Pot combine jalapenos, garlic, and stock (portion for carnitas). Add pork on top.

  2. Close and lock the lid. Set the pressure valve to 'Sealing'. Cook on manual / high pressure for 35 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then manually release any remaining pressure.

  3. When pork is finished cooking, use a slotted spoon to transfer to a cutting board and shred or roughly chop. Reserve half the pork for Wednesday.

  4. [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.

  5. 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.

  6. If quinoa was made ahead reheat in the microwave. (Reserve half if doubled.)

  7. 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.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving
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% Daily Value
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Increase your nutrition smarts


Reviews

Ratings

Original (57)
Gluten-free (2)
Paleo (3)
Vegetarian (14)

Most Helpful

This was so good but I did feel like it needed a sauce. We used a little taco sauce and it was perfect. Also served over brown rice instead of quinoa. Will definitely make it again.

By: Beth
Posted: Dec 10, 2021
Diet: Original
1 Helpful

39 reviews

Made IP version, browned meat chunks first. All else according to directions. Fairly tasty. Enjoyed and may make again.

By: Jane
Posted: Jan 20, 2022
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

Delicious and the whole family enjoyed this meal!

By: Trina
Posted: Jan 18, 2022
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

Made the pork for the kids and did everything the same but with jackfruit for my husband and I. So freaking good

By: Heather
Posted: Jan 12, 2022
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

My meat didn't come out that flavorfully, but it was nice and tender!

By: Jenna
Posted: Jan 07, 2022
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

Used a leaner pork loin that was on sale. Delicious! the spices stuck with the pork, not very fatty, and went well with the corn salsa. Yum.

By: Nancy
Posted: Dec 24, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

I used brown rice and crisped the pork in the air fryer. I also added halved cherry tomatoes and cooked them with the corn, onion, and chopped fresh bell peppers. Also added some chipotle seasoning.

By: Barbie
Posted: Dec 15, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful