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Slow Cooker Carnitas Lettuce Cups
with roasted cauliflower / avocados

Active: 40 Total: 460

Slow Cooker Carnitas are super versatile, and these fresh lettuce cups got great reviews when first featured back in 2019. The natural richness of the pork is a nice contrast to the fresh, crisp flavor of the lettuce.
Cooking methods: This recipe includes instructions for using the slow cooker or Instant Pot to cook the pork. Select your preferred method.

Tags
Proteins
Cuisines

Ingredients

Metric
Servings:
4
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
Roasted Southwestern Cauliflower:
  • Cauliflower florets - 1 lb
  • Oil, olive - 2 Tbsp
  • Paprika, smoked - 2 tsp
  • Hot sauce (opt) - 2 tsp
  • Pepitas / pumpkin seeds - 1/4 cup
Slow Cooker Carnitas Lettuce Cups:
  • Avocados - 1 , sliced
  • Lettuce, iceberg or romaine - 12 leaves
  • Cilantro - 1/2 cup , leaves torn
  • Slow-cooker carnitas (ingredients listed separately) - ~3 cups
  • Salsa, store-bought - for serving

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving
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Choose Cooking Method

Prep

  1. Cauliflower / Jalapenos / Garlic - Prep as directed. Store cauliflower in one container. Combine jalapenos and garlic. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  2. 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. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)

  3. Avocados / Lettuce / Cilantro - Prep as directed.

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Make

  1. Heat oven to 425F / 218C.

  2. Spread cauliflower out onto a sheet pan. Toss cauliflower with olive oil, paprika, hot sauce, and some salt and pepper. Roast, shaking the pan halfway through cooking, until tender, ~25 minutes. 

  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. When cauliflower is finished roasting, transfer to a serving bowl and top with pepitas.

  6. 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.

Prep

  1. Cauliflower / Jalapenos / Garlic - Prep as directed. Store cauliflower in one container. Combine jalapenos and garlic. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  2. 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)

  3. Avocados / Lettuce / Cilantro - Prep as directed.

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Make

  1. Heat oven to 425F / 218C.

  2. In the bowl of an Instant Pot combine jalapenos, garlic, and stock. Add pork on top.

  3. 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.

  4. When pork is nearly finished cooking, spread cauliflower out onto a sheet pan. Toss cauliflower with olive oil, paprika, hot sauce, and some salt and pepper. Roast, shaking the pan halfway through cooking, until tender, ~25 minutes. 

  5. 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.

  6. [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.

  7. When cauliflower is finished roasting, transfer to a serving bowl and top with pepitas.

  8. 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.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving
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% Daily Value
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Increase your nutrition smarts


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