Slow Cooker Carnitas Taco Salad Bowls with Creamy Salsa Dressing
Slow cooker carnitas? Delicous! Slow cooker carnitas paired with your favorite taco toppings and creamy salsa dressing all loaded in the perfect bowl? Pure magic, ok?
There’s nothing better than a slow cooker meal because the whole “set it and forget it” cooking style just never gets old. It’s impossible not to feel like you’ve really got your life together when you start your slow cooker in the morning and come home to dinner after work. Trust me! Need to feel like you’ve got a better handle on life, make a slow cooker meal. You’ll suddenly feel like you may actually have a chance at this whole adulting thing. Sure fire way to build some confidence, believe me.
Not only is this recipe prime slow cooker goodness in all of it’s glory, it’s also easy, incredibly flavorful, and hits the nail on the head of all those healthy buzzwords. We’re talking dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, and Whole30 compliant while still giving punch of flavor so you don’t actually feel like you’re eating anything healthy. Because that’s what we all want isn’t it? Here’s what we’ve got going on:
crispy pork carnitas with all the right spices
loads of fresh veggies
sweet and tangy mango salsa
creamy salsa dressing to tie everything together
The base of this bowl is actually a simple recipe for shredded pork that starts out in the slow cooker. All you do is place a pork shoulder, a few fresh cloves of garlic, apple juice, salt, and red pepper flakes into your slow cooker, let it cook for a few hours, and then shred it up.
The great thing is that you can turn half the shredded pork into carnitas for this recipe and the other half you can freeze and save for later! I wasn’t kidding when I said you would feel like you really had your life together after making this. You’re basically meal prepping and making a new recipe at the same time. I’m giving you full permission to feel like the rockstar you truly are. Need some ideas for that leftover shredded pork? Of course I have some:
heat it on a sheet pan in the oven and then drizzle on your favorite barbecue sauce for easy pulled pork
crisp it in a skillet for breakfast and serve with scrambled eggs and roasted sweet potatoes
use it instead of the ground pork in this recipe for an easy breakfast hash
Ok, now that your pork is done and all shredded, all you have to do is assemble your bowls. Don’t be shy here, load them up. All the fresh veggies, cilantro, and mango salsa are what make this bowl so flavorful and delicious. Last but certainly not least, give your bowl a very generous drizzle of creamy salsa dressing and don’t skimp. The creamy dairy-free dressing just takes everything to the next level of deliciousness.
This recipe is also perfect for meal prep and to make it even more simple for you here are some of my favorite tips to make it easy on you!
Prep the pork over the weekend or a day in advance
Make the mango salsa and creamy dressing the night before
Chop your veggies over the weekend or a day in advance
Now, go and live your best life and eat these carnitas taco salad bowls!
Crockpot Carnitas Bowls
2.5 pounds pork shoulder
6 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 cup apple cider or 100% apple juice
1 tbsp pink himalayan sea salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 tbsp of coconut oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
salt + pepper to taste
fresh lime juice
mango salsa, for serving
romaine, for serving
avocado, for serving
purple cabbage, for serving
cilantro, for serving
sliced tomatoes, for serving
fresh lime wedges, for serving
Creamy Salsa Dressing
1/2 cup full fat coconut cream
1/4 cup salsa (this one is Whole30 compliant)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp lime juice
Place the pork shoulder, fresh garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes into a slow cooker. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or until the pork is tender and easily shreds with two forks. Remove the pork shoulder from the slow cooker, and shred the meat. You can use all of the meat for carnitas or freeze half for later.
To finish the carnitas, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add a 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil. Next, add the shredded pork.
Season the pork with the cumin, chili powder, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook the pork until brown and crispy, around 3-6 minutes.. Remove the pan from the heat and finish off the pork with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
To make the creamy salsa dressing add all of the ingredients to a blender or food process and blend until smooth and creamy.
Assemble your bowls with romaine, mango salsa, avocado, tomato, purple cabbage, cilantro, and any other toppings you’d like. Drizzle the creamy salsa dressing over everything and enjoy!