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.
My pals over at AdapTable Meals sponsored this post. All opinions are 100% my own!
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!
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.
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!
- Pickled Onions: Use my sugar-free Whole30 pickled onion recipe, or for extra oomph make pickled pineapple!
- 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
- 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.
Once cooked, store the carnitas in an air tight container or bag for 3-4 days in the refrigerator and up to 4 months in the freezer.
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.
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.
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Carnitas Salad Bowls
- 2 lbs pork butt or shoulder, cut into four pieces or use pre-seasoned AdapTable Carnitas Pork Roast
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
Salad Toppings (all optional)
- 8 cups romaine lettuce about 2 small heads
- 4 cups cauliflower rice I use frozen
- 2 bell peppers
- 1 Tablespoon 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 Tablespoon cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste
- ranch dressing optional
Cook the Carnitas
- If using AdapTable Carnitas Pork: Skip to #2. If you don't have an AdapTable pork, mix all the seasoning ingredients (listed below) together in a small dish, and rub well into each piece of the roast.
- Add the roast and stock to your Instant Pot. Turn pressure to High and cook for 40 minutes.
- 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
- Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the toppings.
- Make the Corn Salsa and Pickled Onions.
- Slice the bell peppers. Heat oil in a large skillet and saute the peppers over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Prepare your cauliflower rice by steaming, microwaving, or sauteeing.
- Wash and chop the romaine. Slice the jalapeno, lime, and cilantro. Wait until just before serving to slice the avocado.
Assemble and Serve
- Divide the lettuce in bowls, and top with carnitas and any desired toppings. Garnish with extra cilantro and slices of lime.
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. To store leftovers: Store the carnitas in an air tight container or bag for 3-4 days in the refrigerator and up to 4 months in the freezer.