Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Salad (Grain & Dairy Free)

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Easy, delicious Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Salad, served over lettuce with cauliflower rice, pickled onions, bell peppers, corn salsa, coconut yogurt and sliced avocado. All served together, they make an easy and completely drool-worthy Carnitas Salad that’s grain free and dairy free with simple Keto, Low Carb, Whole30 and Paleo adaptations.

Serve this for dinner on a regular weeknight or when entertaining friends – either way, it’ll be a fiesta! I’m sharing some time saving tips for making this recipe with plenty of hands-off time, that way you can focus on actually enjoying dinnertime!

The finished salad served on a small gray dish with a fork and knife.

My pals over at AdapTable Meals sponsored this post. All opinions are 100% my own!

Easy Entertaining

Since our place is so friggin’ tiny cozy, and we’re all stuck at home these days, I’m looking for sources of comfort wherever I can find them. Family dinnertime is my favorite thing these days. We sit and eat and talk, and it feels almost normal, even if just for a moment. 

I’ve learned that I really want to be totally present during dinner. I don’t want to end up missing out on that time with them, so I look for recipes that can be made quickly or with plenty of hands-off time.

Using my Instant Pot and AdapTable Meals Carnitas Pork Roast, it only took about 20 minutes of hands on-time (40 minutes of cook time) to make perfectly cooked, tender carnitas and an absolutely gorgeous spread! And if you ever forget to plan ahead (like I do… um, a lot), then you could cook it from frozen, you just need to add 35 minutes to the cook time. 

While the pork roast was cooking, I spent a little time making quick pickled onions and corn salsa, chopping some lettuce, and sautéing the bell peppers, and I was DONE. 

A collage showing the AdapTable Carnitas roast in the packaging, and the cooked and pulled carnitas inside the Instant Pot.

Recipe Ingredients

This was easily one of the most deceivingly impressive grain and dairy free dinners I’ve ever put together. Here’s what you’ll need to make it at home:

  • Carnitas Pork Roast: The AdapTable Meals Carnitas Pork Roast was pre-seasoned and super flavorful with Salt, Black Pepper, Thyme, Cumin, Oregano, Bay Leaves, Dried Onion, Chili Pepper, Dried Garlic, Natural Flavors, Lime Juice Concentrate, and Chipotle Pepper. There are ZERO artificial ingredients.
  • Vegetable Stock, Chicken Stock or Water: The Instant Pot requires liquid to create steam and get up to pressure, so be sure to use at least 1 cup of liquid if you’re using a 6 qt pressure cooker, and 1.5-2 cups if you’re using an 8 qt size.
  • Romaine Lettuce: Or substitute whatever lettuce you like. I think romaine holds up well to all the toppings and has good flavor.
  • Cauliflower Rice: I like to keep things extra simple by buying frozen cauliflower rice. You can make it ultra fast in the microwave or sauté it in a touch of oil, whatever you prefer!
  • Bell Peppers: I chose one red and one green, but any combination of colors will work great!

Toppings

  • Pickled Onions: Use my sugar-free Whole30 Pickled Onion recipe!
  • Corn Salsa: Use my Chipotle copycat Corn Salsa recipe, and OMIT if you’re making these Carnitas Keto, Low Carb, Whole30, or Paleo.
  • Coconut Yogurt: Or substitute sour cream if your diet permits it.
  • Avocado or Guacamole
  • Cilantro
  • Lime: For garnish
  • Ranch Dressing (optional): I felt this salad didn’t even need a dressing, but my husband loved it with a little drizzle of ranch on top! That’s the beauty of this dish – you can make it your own!

For a Whole30, Paleo, Keto, and Low Carb Option: Omit the corn salsa. That’s it! Now keep in mind, I decided to make my carnitas salad dairy free and grain free.

If you prefer other ingredients like cheese or quinoa, by all means, go ahead! Just remember that Whole30 doesn’t allow either, and grains are typically too high in carbs for Keto and Low Carb plans.

All of the ingredients for the salad served in glass bowls on a large white table.

FAQ

What to serve with Pork Carnitas?

  • Some of my favorite things to serve are what you see here, but I also think fried plantains, pico de gallo, or grain free tortillas would work beautifully!

How long does it keep?

  • Once cooked, the carnitas can be stored in an air tight container or bag for 3-4 days in the refrigerator and up to 4 months in the freezer.

Can I cook it from frozen?

  • I’m so glad you asked! Cooking carnitas from frozen has never been easier, thanks to the Instant Pot. Go ahead and add your frozen roast and liquid to the Instant Pot, then cook on High Pressure for 75 minutes.
  • Just remember to use the Natural Pressure Release (NPR) so the meat doesn’t seize up. Allowing the pressure to dissipate naturally will keep the meat tender. I usually plan on NPR taking 20-25 minutes, so be sure to account for that time when you plan your schedule.

Can I make it in my Slow Cooker?

  • Like I tell my kids, abso-fruit-ly! Add the roast and liquid to your slow cooker or Crock Pot, then cook on low for 3.5 hours.
Two hands holding the finished Carnitas Salad, plated in a large gray dish.

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Hands holding the finished dish
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Carnitas Salad Bowls

Made in the Instant Pot, these carnitas are as easy as they are delicious – great for feeding a crowd!

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Instant Pot Dinner
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Natural Pressure Release 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 7 people
Calories 451 kcal

Ingredients

Carnitas

  • 1 Carnitas Pork Roast by AdapTable, or see below to make your own
  • 1 cup beef stock

Salad Toppings

  • 8 cups romaine lettuce about 2 small heads
  • 4 cups cauliflower rice I use frozen
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups Corn Salsa Omit if following Keto, Low Carb, Whole30, or Paleo
  • 1/2 cup Pickled Onions
  • 1 jalapeno sliced
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 lime sliced
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ranch dressing optional

Instructions

Cook the Carnitas

  1. Add the roast and liquid to your Instant Pot. Turn pressure to High and cook for 40 minutes.

  2. Allow the pressure to naturally release, then open the Instant Pot. Use two forks to shred the pork into bite-sized pieces.

Prep the Toppings

  1. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the dish.

  2. Make the Corn Salsa and Pickled Onions.

  3. Slice the bell peppers. Heat oil in a large skillet and saute the peppers over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Prepare your cauliflower rice by steaming, microwaving, or sauteeing.

  5. Wash and chop the romaine. Slice the jalapeno, lime, and cilantro. Wait until just before serving to slice the avocado.

Assemble and Serve

  1. Divide the lettuce in bowls, and top with carnitas and any desired toppings. Garnish with extra cilantro and slices of lime.

Recipe Notes

To Season your Own Pork Roast:
Cut into 4 pieces and rub with the following mixture:
1/4 tsp each: Salt, Black Pepper, Thyme, Cumin, Oregano
1/8 tsp each: Bay Leaves, Dried Onion, Chipotle Pepper, Garlic Powder
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp Lime Juice
2 tbsp Orange Juice

For a Whole30, Paleo, Keto, and Low Carb Option: Omit the corn salsa.  

Nutrition Facts
Carnitas Salad Bowls
Amount Per Serving
Calories 451 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Fat 24g37%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 109mg36%
Sodium 232mg10%
Potassium 1481mg42%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Fiber 9g38%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 37g74%
Vitamin A 6016IU120%
Vitamin C 102mg124%
Calcium 82mg8%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.