As promised, I’m sharing my one of absolute favorite Whole30 recipes! These carnitas are everything that’s great about Whole30: rich in flavor, versatile to use for many meals, and uncomplicated. Savory and fatty without being greasy, and the spices give just a hint of aromatics while still letting you control the heat factor on the plate with salsa, jalapeños or chili powder. The bonus is that it easily converts to a slow cooker recipe for a SUPER simple weeknight meal.
Aside from the obvious taco usage (Whole30 approved is more of a taco bowl situation), these are fantastic topping a sweet potato or over scrambled eggs with avocado and salsa. No kidding, our leftovers most often get served over one of those two. If you’re not doing the paleo thing, there’s even more options: burritos, rice bowls, or just about anything!
One of my favorite things about Mexican food is that it’s ridiculously easy to personalize to your taste: if you’re doing Whole30 but hosting dinner, this is the perfect meal. Customize your plate, with or without tortillas, and everyone can make a plate they love without cooking two dinners!
As promised, here’s a Whole30-approved pork carnitas! This is from the official Whole30 cookbook. It’s such a simple recipe that I didn’t change a thing. I usually try to update recipes I feature to make them my own, but this one with is so easy that there wasn’t much to change! Actually, I did change one thing: I double it. It’s SO GOOD. With one simple adjustment, this is slow cooker friendly too so it’s simple to make on a work day!
Start by browning the pork butt on the stove.
Bake for 2 1/2 hours, rotating pieces every hour.
After baking, shred! That’s all you have to do for fantastic pork carnitas that will top ANYTHING and be delicious.
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 lbs pork butt, cut into 4 inch cubes (you can often buy it this way)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- juice of 1/2 lime juice
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Season the pork butt with 1 tbsp salt and all of the pepper.
- In a cast iron skillet or pot, heat to medium heat. Add the olive oil and heat until hot. Add the pork and brown, 3-4 minutes on each side. Once all sides get some color, take out the pork.
- Add the onion to the pan, cooking until clear (4-5 minutes). Add garlic to this and cook another minute.
- Add 1 cup of water, chili powder and cinnamon to the pan. Put the pork back in the pan and increase the heat. Bring to a boil and cover.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 2 1/2 hours, taking it out to turn the meat after each hour.
- When it’s done, transfer to to a big bowl and shred it with forks. Add back any cooking liquid to the bowl, then add the green onions, lime juice and remaining salt.
- To make this in a slow cooker: do steps 1-4, then transfer to the crock pot. Set on low for 8 hours, and shred when you get home!
- If you’re feeling lazy, skip step 3. You can sauté some onions to go with dinner OR just skip them entirely. They’re tasty but don’t make the dish.
This recipe made it into our monthly rotation, and we always double it to feed friends or for packed lunches all week! If the food is this good, I could definitely get behind eating more Whole30 meals! For more on my Whole30 adventure, click here.
all images copyright Teaspoon of Nose